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Fanning faux outrage over Senate private session

Reported by Chrish - November 1, 2005

The Big Story today 11/1/05 was all about the Democrats "shutting down the Senate"; oh the outrage, the indignation was palpable. Democrats were accused of being in lockstep, shooting the wounded, hijacking the Senate, an absurd political stunt (multiple times), sucker punch, histrionics, affront, delivering a slap in the face, a procedural ambush, casting aspersions, skullduggery and more.

After Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid used proper allowable procedures to remove all spectators and extraneous staff from the Senate floor, the Senators met for two hours reportedly "to demand that the Republican majority further investigate the Bush administration's handling of intelligence related to the war in Iraq. " (MercuryNews.com)

The charges and hyperbolic depictions were delivered by SIX Republican Senators (former Senator Al D'Amato, and Kit Bond, Trent Lott, George Allen, Bill Frist and Pat Roberts, a veritable who's who of hard-right inner-circle jerks) and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. Defending the move by Senator Harry Reid were two Democrats, one of whom was paired with a Republican for his segment(moderate Ben Nelson) , and one of whom was cut off for a convenient "hard break" (John Rockefeller).

Fox did its part to fan the flames with John Gibson saying "am I supposed to believe this is all some backstage rigamarole about how soon a 'pile of paper' is released to the public?" He diminishes the importance of the Senate's work and findings and casts suspicion on the Democrats' reasons for calling for a closed session today. After Senator Allen's dismissive comment that this is not what the American people care about, it's inside the Beltway, Gibson overtalked him saying that we shall see, we're gonna dig down to the bottom to make sure we stay on top of this (?!)

Comment: Of course they will try to keep the spotlight on this supposed "outrage" to demonize Democrats, portray Harry Reid in a poor light, and keep attention off the indictment of Lewis Libby. As Faye Dunaway said in Network, "The American people want someone to articulate their rage for them."

Even Judge Andrew Napolitano, who first exonerated Reid for a legal use of procedures, made statements to, well, cast aspersions on Democrats. Gibson and Napolitano insinuated that the Democrats were hiding something by clearing and sweeping the chamber before their private session, and then Napolitano said "They want to make a big deal out of the fact that Scooter Libby was indicted, and they make a big deal of it by clothing it in the mystery of 'we can't tell you what we know.'"

Comment: A. It IS a big deal that Scooter Libby was indicted. Furthermore, it's the White House which is not forthcoming, giving the by-now stock answer to reporters that they can't comment during an ongoing investigation (which by all accounts could go on for YEARS). B. I would not be surprised if Reid didn't clear the chambers to give Frist and company hell. His normal softspokennes was replaced with visible anger and uncustomary snappishness.

(Live at the top of the hour), Reid said "This Republican Senate does no oversight. None. None. It's all part of a plan. They obstruct. They take orders from the White House. They do nothing without getting orders from the White House. The seperation of powers doctrine is something that does not exist in this town." Shortly after, when a reporter asked "Mr. Leader, why not go consult with the leader...?" Reid cut him off, snapping "Consult with the leader, so he stops me from going and moving on this? What do you mean, consult with him? What are you talking about?" The reporter answered "Well that's what he had suggested you should have done." and Reid said "He can suggest anything he wants. Consult with him? All he would have done is quorum call and we couldn't have done this. You gotta understand a little bit about procedures around here."

Reid has promised to continue to keep the heat on the Senate committees until they do their jobs.

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