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March 15, 2006
The Vanishing Democrat

Dana Milbank manages to eschew the orange stocking cap today in order to bring us a delightful look at the rarest of species -- Democratic politicians with nothing to say:

Democratic senators, filing in for their weekly caucus lunch yesterday, looked as if they'd seen a ghost.

"I haven't read it," demurred Barack Obama (Ill.).

"I just don't have enough information," protested Ben Nelson (Neb.). "I really can't right now," John Kerry (Mass.) said as he hurried past a knot of reporters -- an excuse that fell apart when Kerry was forced into an awkward wait as Capitol Police stopped an aide at the magnetometer.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) brushed past the press pack, shaking her head and waving her hand over her shoulder. When an errant food cart blocked her entrance to the meeting room, she tried to hide from reporters behind the 4-foot-11 Barbara Mikulski (Md.).

"Ask her after lunch," offered Clinton's spokesman, Philippe Reines. But Clinton, with most of her colleagues, fled the lunch out a back door as if escaping a fire.

What caused this sudden outbreak of shyness among a caucus known for its hysterical shrieking and ill-advised broadsides? The press wants to know their position on SR 398, otherwise known as the Russ Feingold Motion For Perpetual GOP Majorities. None would go on record, not even the reliably voluble Chuck Schumer, who protested that he had nothing to say now and could not say when he'd have something to say. He even stopped a press conference when CNN's Ed Henry asked about the censure motion. When was the last time we saw Chuck Schumer deliberately stop talking when the cameras were rolling? (Perhaps Michael Steele can answer that.)

To describe the Democrats as "in retreat" underestimates the backtracking going on in DC. This is The Full Murtha, another ridiculous notion that Democrats were forced to abandon as soon as the GOP forced them to cast a vote on it. Even Harry Reid, who's supposed to be leading these people, couldn't come up with an answer. Only Tom Harkin would go on record in support of Feingold's measure, bringing the number of supporters to a grand total of ... two.

In case anyone wondered what motivated the Wisconsin senator, Feingold made it clear:

Feingold, seeking liberals' support for the 2008 presidential nomination, said he wasn't motivated by politics. But then he slipped. "If there's any Democrat out there who can't say . . . the president has no right to make up his own laws, I don't know if that Democrat really is the right candidate," he said of his likely primary opponents.

So. Any Democrat ready to endorse Feingold's nakedly political ploy to undermine Democratic candidates for the 2008 nomination? Hillary, could you quit cowering behind Mikulski and answer the question?

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 15, 2006 6:53 AM

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