Tuesday, November 01, 2005

 

Closed Session

(Author's note: Obviously, today's move by Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats deserves documenting on this blog, which documents Democratic fight and strength. Cross-posted at SRWU)

Rule 21 of the Senate says:

... on a motion made and seconded, to close the doors of the Senate to discuss any business which may, in the opinion of a Senator, require secrecy, the presiding officer shall direct the galleys to be cleared and, during the discussion of such motion, the doors shall remain closed.  When the Senate meets in a closed session, any applicable provisions of these rules, including the confidentiality of information, shall apply to any information and to the conduct of any debate transacted.

CNN's Bill Schneider just said this:

The way [the Democrats in the Senate] are doing it is what's particularly controversial, and why it provoked such an angry reaction on the part of the majority leader.  This was used early in the days of the Republic, but is rarely used, this closed session, in modern times, primarily to discuss national security.  Well, that's exactly why, Senator Reid said, a closed session is appropriate because he wants discuss the national security implications of the Libby indictment.

This is a spectacular move by Reid and the Senate Democrats.  It's behind closed doors so, while it is certainly grandstanding, it's shrouded nature protects the Democrats against charges of trying to attack the White House publicly, and yet it achieves exactly that.  So, when questions like, "Senator Reid, what do you say to the Republicans who charge that this is a publicity stunt meant to capitalize on the indictment of Scooter Libby?", Reid can simply answer, "I requested a closed door session in the Senate to avoid trivializing the very serious matters that our country is currently facing by making them fodder for PR spin.  But, since you've brought up the indictment of Scooter Libby..."



The Libby indictment's initial news cycle lasted through the weekend and, Monday, President Bush changed the subject to the nomination of Judge Alito.  Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats just held the news cycle on Alito to barely 24 hours, and changed the subject back to Libby, and it presents an opportunity to broaden the narrative.  As Reid said, today:

This past weekend, we witnessed the indictment of the I. Lewis Libby,
the Vice President’s Chief of Staff and a senior Advisor to President
Bush. Libby is the first sitting White House staffer to be indicted in
135 years. This indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this
Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national
security and are morally repugnant.

Perhaps more important than all of this, in the short term, is that Reid has just signaled to a Democratic base which is concerned that its leaders are afraid to use the filibuster to oppose Judge Alito's nomination that they are ready to fight on all fronts of their agenda.



This was a bold and powerful move.


Comments:
She looked impressive on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Strong, intelligent, articulate, and a little flirty...

The flip hairdo was a bit scary...

I think the interview was helpful for her...she needs more exposure outside the political junkies...
 
The logical response to Harry's tantrum would be to immediately vote the rule change, and make it applicaable to all votes.
 
Let me get this straight. You think it's a good political move because Reid can PRETEND it's not political, even though it is?

That's just shameful. No wonder you suspect the conservatives of insincere manipulations.
 
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