Reid, Rule 21 – Ravenous for a Sacrifice?

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Interesting perspective on motivation for invoking Rule 21, especially at this stage in the political game .

The purpose of the closed-door session was to berate the Republicans for failure to come up with evidence that Bush lied to get us into Iraq. I’m making them sound like spoiled children, but we must be honest about this. If the Democrats had real evidence that had to be discussed in secrecy, they could have done that in a closed meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee, a group that routinely operates with the cameras off.

Closing the whole Senate without prior warning is a publicity stunt. Perhaps they are hoping that the public will be outraged and will demand a more thorough investigation. On the other hand, Dick Durbin says they are going to do this every day until tRepublicans “face the reality”. That seems to imply this is a way to keep the Senate inoperative until the Republicans send Karl Rove to jail.

I know how you think, and you’re thinking that this is a trumped-up publicity stunt and the whole Bush-lied routine is a mass of falsehoods and distortions the Democrats are using to cover up the fact they have no meaningful proposals for defeating terrorism or improving the economy. This may be true, but it really doesn’t matter. You have to look at the problem not in terms of right and wrong, but in terms of what the Democrats are trying to accomplish.

Like the Filibuster, the Closed Session is a technique Democrats can use to force the Republicans into a corner without a majority vote. There is nothing wrong with this normally, but right now we have a judge to confirm. Therefore, we need a plan for getting Judge Alito an up-or-down vote.

This maneuver by Reid certainly did blow the Alito nomination discussion off the table and promises to significantly delay the process, as well as any other issues that will need the Senate’s attention.

Here’s my proposal: the Justice Department offers to indict Karl Rove for obstruction of justice in exchange for an up-or-down vote on Alito. After the indictment is thrown out for lack of evidence, the Democrats can go back to disrupting the Senate.

Sure does appear as if there won’t be much progress made in getting both sides focused on providing leadership and effective resource management until the Democrats see a sacrificial offering being made.

Timing is everything and this move, at this time, screams of political opportunism and grandstanding.

  • Edison

    LOL! Look at how GOP Senators are all given the same instructions as to what to say and how they are all running around obediently parroting the same collective script when talking about Reid`s brilliant tactic!


  • http://www.northwoodsnovels.com ford4x4

    Come on… say it with me:
    “Bush Lied — People Died!”

    I guess Harry didn’t agree with the findings of the 9/11 commision,
    and decided to start the whole process over again.

  • john

    the 9/11 commision had nothing to do with this really. They were not looking into the reasons we went to war with Iraq.

    PLEASE!!!! get a life. This could at the minimum be a stunt to take the glamour out of the spotlight of Alito and your conservative ball, but then wait, just before Alito was nominated wasn’t there something going on that you wanted to bury. Scooter… something or other… lying to the CIA or FBI or something about outing a CIA agent or something? For all the complaining that the Righties do that the Dems are whiney bitches, Y’all do a fair amount of bitching, and you kids are in charge of all three branches of our government

  • Blue Neponset

    There are no time outs in politics. The Dems got what they wanted yesterday in the only way available to them. If you back anyone into a corner don’t be surprised when they come out fighting.

  • BrianOfAtlanta

    The danger in Reid’s game comes from the public, not the Republicans. He’s demonstrated he can play Frist like a fiddle. However, he needs to be careful not to follow Newt Gingrich’s example and overreach. Then again, Reid has shown better judgement than Gingrich and is undoubtedly fully mindful of the lessons of the government shutdown in 1995. This should be interesting.

  • hiram

    First Reid plays the Vacationer-and-Chief like a cheap fiddle with the Meiers debacle, then he positively owns Frist on parlimentarily procedure. Leaves Frist crying like the vain little shit that he is. Brilliant. The run up to ’06 promises to be very entertaining. The neocons are a train wreck that you just can’t stop watching.

  • sleipner

    The Republicans are such hypocrites regarding judicial appointments it sickens me…

    63 of Clinton’s moderate nominees were blocked by the Republicans in the judicial committee and never allowed to come to a vote.

    Only 7 of Bush’s have been blocked, and that only after extreme threats and chest-beating from the Right. The only reason the filibuster threat method was used is because the Republicans hold a 10-8 majority in the judicial committee.

    In addition, Clinton’s judicial picks showed a range of philosophical ideologies, and 30% were women, 25% minorities, whereas most of Bush’s are conservative and beyond, and only 21% were women and 19% minorities.

    So Republicans – stop trying to put your spin on every single issue, some of us out here actually read.

  • Denise Best

    Reid’s timing and manner in which he chose to pursue the issue does speak to agenda and motivation.

    If the parties in question with this action were reversed, Republican versus Democrat, I would point out the same concern.

    Folks we’re paying these guys to effectively lead and manage our government and resources. Instead we’re seeing a possible shutdown, stalemate that will add cost to the equation based upon the manner in which Reid has chosen to pursue what has become akin to an obsession – get W and any of his staff.

  • sleipner

    They deserve to be gotten with all the crap they’ve flung all over this country and the world. I’d be ecstatic if Bush’s brain, err, I mean, Cheney was impeached.

  • John


    I did not hear you say a peep when they anounced the Alito nomination immediately after the Scooter Libby indictment. In fact you said we should ignore the whole indictment and move on. Same timing issue, just Dems. When would it have been a good time for them to bring up how poorly this investigation was handled by Reps? They are supposed to be wrapping up this investigation in two weeks, and it has been neglected from its beginning. So if the Republicans are going to allow this to happen, they are in charge, then maybe a “stunt” like this is necessary to get the publics attention at their ineptitude.

  • Chris

    1) The administration announced their Supreme Court nominee at 8 a.m. on the Monday after the Friday that one of their top guys was indicted. So enough talk about stunts, please.

    2) The Senate went into closed session for 3 1/2 hours, which is hardly bringing the country to a grinding halt. As a result, they got a truly bipartisan effort to get Phase 2 completedted, something that obviously was never going to happen without the Rule 21 action.

    Pat Roberts got Jay Rockefeller to sign off on the Intelligence Committee report with a promise that Phase 2 would be initiated after the election. Roberts then comes out and says Phase 2 isn’t necessary, all the while the Republicans use the “bipartisan” report against the Dems like a cudgel. The Democrats had two choices: take a significant action, or take it like chumps. They took action, and it worked perfectly. The Republicans can keep talking about how the people will see the Dems as obstructionist, but the Dems got what they were after while the increasingly ineffectual Frist looked pathetic on television. The Dems won this round.

  • Denise Best


    When would it have been a good time for them to bring up how poorly this investigation was handled by Reps?

    Hearings were already scheduled to begin on November 14th, so what was the rush in invoking Rule 21?

  • Denise Best


    The only bipartisianship that’s been duly demonstrated is that of the Gang of 14 – not the actions taken by Senator Reid & Company.

    Since this is just the opening volley in what’s looking to be a long, drawn out war among the two parties, it’s a bit premature to say that there’s not been any damage inflicted that will ultimately end up being paid by the taxpayers.

  • Chris

    My point about bipartisanship is that the Senate agreed to a committee of three Dems and three Republicans to oversee Phase 2. I never said what Reid and company did was bipartisan.

    I also said that the actual act of shutting down the Senate wasn’t particularly disruptive to doing the people’s business. This was in response to a lot of Right wingers whining aboput how irresponsible it was to disrupt the Senate when there’s so much work to do. And I disagree that this was any kind of opening volley. The opening volley was fired by the Republicans when they blatantly misled the Democrats on Phase 2. This was the Democrats firing back.

    You might even say the opening volley was fired when Sen. Frist departed from his beloved Senate etiquette and decorum to campaign against Tom Daschle. Is only one side allowed to take the gloves off?