The 2008 presidential primary season started a few days ago. And aspirants in both parties quickly played the George W. Bush card -- to meager effect. In the Democratic primary, Sen. Russ Feingold launched his campaign on the floor of the Senate calling for President Bush's censure.
"I don't introduce a censure resolution lightly," Mr. Feingold said, as he floated out of the Senate chamber. It was hard to tell which party was more put off by Mr. Feingold's action, the Democrats or the Republicans. Sen. Frist, "outraged," called the motion a political stunt during time of war and called for a quick vote.
In chess, this move is called a fork: attacking two of the opposing pieces simultaneously. His attack threatens those Democratic senators who would vote for the Feingold motion -- as that would mis-position the Democrats with the public. He also threatens those Democratic senators who would vote against the motion -- as that would show a divided Democratic Party (as well as force many Democrats to vote in support of the president they hate so much.)
The ever more put upon Democratic leader Sen. Reid both declined to permit such a vote, while he also declined to endorse the motion because he "hadn't read it" -- which was his veiled way of expressing his displeasure at not having been informed in advance of Sen. Feingold's plans.
Russ Feingold is notoriously not a party man. This may play well in his conscience and in the countryside, but it is a non-starter in this two-team town. The Senate Democrats may well agree in principle that the president should be censured or keelhauled, or de-trousered or short-sheeted, or inflicted with some other indignity.
But there is a long line of more senior Democrats who have been waiting patiently to get their licks in. Sen. Feingold jumped the question, if not the shark. The more seasoned, team-playing Democrats want to use the old Chinese water torture on the president -- dragging out the agony for months and months. Or, as they call it in Washington, the issue "would spark a worthwhile debate."
It is odd that the same senators who believe in water torture for the president of the United States vigorously oppose similar water-related interrogation techniques when used on captured enemy terrorists. But then I suppose the president is not covered by what Michael Savage calls the Democratic Party's "Terrorist Bill of Rights."
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.