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The self-proclaimed world's greatest deliberative body and the chamber supposedly intended on being a "cooling saucer" for the passions of the day descended into the political equivalent of a playground slapfight yesterday. The pushing and shoving arose from the rapidly disintegrating effort to pin blame on Karl Rove for outing Valerie Plame as Senate Democrats attempted to strip him of his security clearances:
The partisan fight over Karl Rove exploded onto the Senate floor yesterday, with Democrats trying to strip him of his security clearance and Republicans retaliating by trying to strip the chamber's two top Democrats of theirs.
The moves, which came as amendments to a spending bill, both failed, but not before each side blamed the other for "juvenile" behavior and for poisoning a well of good feelings they said had existed in the past few weeks. ...
Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, along with Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and three other top Democrats, called for the end of security clearance for anyone "who discloses, or has disclosed, classified information, including the identity of a covert agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, to a person not authorized to receive such information." ...
Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, called Democrats' amendment "purely a political amendment" and then submitted his own.
It would have stripped clearance from federal officeholders who make "reference to a classified Federal Bureau of Investigation report on the floor of the United States Senate, or any federal officeholder that makes a statement based on a FBI agent's comments which is used as propaganda by terrorist organizations thereby putting our servicemen and women at risk."
The former is a reference to Mr. Reid, who mentioned the FBI file of one of Mr. Bush's judicial nominees, and the latter is a reference to Mr. Durbin, whose comparison of U.S. interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay to Nazi and Soviet regimes was cited in Middle Eastern press, including Al Jazeera.
At least 20 Republicans had the good sense to oppose the latter measure. The Democrats' amendment failed on a strictly partisan vote. The competing measures not only make the entire chamber look like a gaggle of childish and petulant fools, but it belies the entire idea that "comity" will return to this body under current leadership, especially that of the Democrats.
None of Reid's caucus can apparently wait for the results of an independent investigation, one on which they themselves insisted, to determine whether a crime had been committed at all, and if so who did it. This is yet another example of Harry Reid going off half-cocked. He allowed Barbara Boxer to file a challenge to Ohio's electors, the first time Congress has debated a state's Electoral College status in over a hundred years, and eventually his own party's study proved that no fraud ever occurred there. As facts come out, as quickly as just hours after this little exercise, showing that Rove didn't conduct the smear campaign of which Democrats accuse him, he again winds up looking like the Napoleon of partisan sniping -- a strutting little tyrant who inevitably gets torpedoed by his outsize ego.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Thursday afternoon the first step was taken. The partisan fight over Karl Rove exploded onto the Senate floor yesterday, with Democrats trying to strip him of his security clearance and Republicans retaliating by trying to strip the chamber's two ... [Read More]
Tracked on July 17, 2005 11:34 AM
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