Lots of the wise men on the editorial pages are jumping up and down in support of Senator Russ Feingold's proposal to introduce a formal censure measure against President Bush. E.J. Dionne critisizes the Democrats for not snapping at the jugular:
Russ Feingold tossed a political grenade at President Bush this week, but it fell into the middle of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Many Democratic senators ran away.
The grenade was the Wisconsin senator's proposal to censure the president for violating the law by ordering electronic surveillance on Americans without explicit congressional or court authorization.
Consider the disparity between the response to Feingold's initiative among Democratic senators and the reaction among Democratic activists.
Senators mostly scampered away from the cameras earlier this week, because they didn't want to say publicly what many of them said privately. Most were livid that Feingold sprang his censure idea on a Sunday talk show without giving them any notice. Many see Feingold as more concerned with rallying support from the Democratic base for his 2008 presidential candidacy than with helping his party regain control of Congress this fall.
But at the grass roots and Web roots, Feingold has become a hero -- again. They already loved him for his courage in opposing the USA Patriot Act and his call for a timetable for troop withdrawals from Iraq....
The difference between the two party's grassroots loyalists is that one group spends the weekends in church; the other out protesting, usually against America. Makes one group a little easier to swallow than the other, wouldn't you say? And America still hasn't forgotten what happens when these liberals elect their own - runaway crime, retreat overseas, and apologies to all whom apply are usually what follows. Dionne shouldnt forget, while lionizing his left-wing activists, that 16 out of 16 candidates supported by The Daily Kos in the 2004 elections lost. Is that the kind of cohesiveness you are looking for?
Dionne admires these people; but he fails to see that mainstream America does not. Bringing this type of "censure" lunacy to the forefront is what usually helps Mr. Bush survive his periodic downswings. The Senate Democrats are smart enough to know this; Dionne hasn't grasped the lesson yet.
Has the Times? From their editorial today:
We understand the frustration that led Senator Russell Feingold to introduce a measure that would censure President Bush for authorizing warrantless spying on Americans. It's galling to watch from the outside as the Republicans and most Democrats refuse time and again to hold Mr. Bush accountable for the lawlessness and incompetence of his administration. Actually sitting among that cowardly crew must be maddening.
Still, the censure proposal is a bad idea. Members of Congress don't need to take extraordinary measures like that now. They need to fulfill their sworn duty to investigate the executive branch's misdeeds and failings. Talk about censure will only distract the public from the failure of their elected representatives to earn their paychecks.
So don't censure the President - just launch a full-out series of investigations, committees, and op-ed essays to constantly barrage the public with the evil that George Bush does. Er, note to the Times - your newspaper has been doing that for years already; see how well it has worked so far? The Republicans hold the Presidency, Congress, the Senate, a majority of governerships, and a majority of the statehouses in the Union. Keep it up; maybe you will match Kos' perfect record...