Pulling a Murtha. I think I’ve just coined a political neologism. Actually, it wouldn’t be a neologism since I didn’t coin a word, but you get my drift.
Congressional Democrats have long been known for their courageous willingness to take on Republican presidents bent on mischief. So I waited with baited breath to see how the fearless Dems would react to Russ Feingold’s proposed censure resolution against George Bush for NSA spying. Imagine my surprise to read Dana Millbank in the Washington Post saying:
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.
In a sense, they were. The cause of so much evasion was S. Res. 398, the resolution proposed Monday by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) calling for the censure of President Bush for his warrantless wiretapping program. At a time when Democrats had Bush on the ropes over Iraq, the budget and port security, Feingold single-handedly turned the debate back to an issue where Bush has the advantage — and drove another wedge through his party.
Needless to say, I entirely disagree with Millbank’s last sentence. She sounds more like Chris Matthews and I never take my cues from the likes of him when it comes to analyzing Democratic party politics. Millbank should remember the wonderfully receptive reaction John Murtha received when he proposed bringing our boys (and girls) home from Iraq. Dead silence. No Democrat would come to his defense. Now, who looks at Murtha as a dithering fool or pariah? Murtha was right and so is Feingold.
But Millbank isn’t done pontificating:
they also know Feingold’s maneuver could cost them seats in GOP states.
I really detest journalists who opine as if they were the Delphic oracle and never provide any proof or substantiation for their opinion. How in God’s name will the censure motion cost the Dems seats? It’s a preposterous notion left hanging in the air.
One passage in Millbank’s article I enjoyed was this one:
one Democrat happy to talk was Feingold, who, in a pre-lunch chat with reporters, seemed to enjoy his colleagues’ squirms. “I’m concerned about the approach Democrats are taking, which is too often cowering,” he said.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.