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Dana Milbank, of all people, notes the folly of a handful of Congressional Democrats yesterday in pretending to hold a committee hearing on articles of impeachment for George Bush. Just like little girls having a tea party, the Democrats brought in realistic-looking props and played their parts just as if the meeting was real. It was so cute:
In the Capitol basement yesterday, long-suffering House Democrats took a trip to the land of make-believe.
They pretended a small conference room was the Judiciary Committee hearing room, draping white linens over folding tables to make them look like witness tables and bringing in cardboard name tags and extra flags to make the whole thing look official.
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) banged a large wooden gavel and got the other lawmakers to call him "Mr. Chairman." He liked that so much that he started calling himself "the chairman" and spouted other chairmanly phrases, such as "unanimous consent" and "without objection so ordered." The dress-up game looked realistic enough on C-SPAN, so two dozen more Democrats came downstairs to play along.
The session was a mock impeachment inquiry over the Iraq war. As luck would have it, all four of the witnesses agreed that President Bush lied to the nation and was guilty of high crimes -- and that a British memo on "fixed" intelligence that surfaced last month was the smoking gun equivalent to the Watergate tapes. Conyers was having so much fun that he ignored aides' entreaties to end the session.
As Dana Milbank wryly points out, it's easy to be lucky with witnesses and to reach the conclusions you like when you play make-believe. John Conyers almost sounds like he's completely disconnected from reality in his insistence on formalities, but as little girls will tell you, you have to really play the role if you want to enjoy these tea parties.
Unfortunately, when you invite other children to play along, sometimes they want to change the tea into mud and start flinging it around. Conyers and the other little ladies had to clean up after their pal Ray McGovern, who spoiled the mood (and the crumpets) when he changed the game to Pin The Blame On The Jews:
The session took an awkward turn when witness Ray McGovern, a former intelligence analyst, declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration "neocons" so "the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world." He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation," McGovern said. "The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic."
This delighted the other little girls in the neighborhood, who clapped with glee and told fairy tales of Secret Jewish Conspiracies:
At Democratic headquarters, where an overflow crowd watched the hearing on television, activists handed out documents repeating two accusations -- that an Israeli company had warning of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that there was an "insider trading scam" on 9/11 -- that previously has been used to suggest Israel was behind the attacks.
Well, you know how little girls play these games. At first, they just want to feel grown up and important, but as they get more enthusiastic about their make-believe party, they'll do almost anything to keep the other children interested. It's cute because it's mostly harmless; it keeps the children occupied and out from underfoot so that the adults can get some work done.
We should just be grateful that the adults remain in charge in Washington these days. It also helps when the American electorate can see clearly which party deals with reality, and which party consists of make-believe and fairy tales.
UPDATE: While Milbank and the Washington Post had the sense not to fall for this foolishness, Scott Shane and the New York Times apparently didn't have a clue as to the nature of this "hearing". Notice that Shane never bothered to report the anti-Israeli comments of McGovern or the paranoid conspiracy theories of the activists involved in it.Sphere It View blog reactions
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