June 20, 2005


A Better Idea Than Censure?: Shouldn't Democrats be asked to remove Dick Durbin from their Senate leadership? (William Kristol, 06/20/2005, Weekly Standard)

Newt Gingrich, my friend Hugh Hewitt, and others have suggested that Sen. Durbin should be censured by the Senate. His comments are, to be sure, deserving of censure. But is this the best action to push for? For one thing, Democrats can explain that resolutions of censure have typically been reserved for ethics violations, not for meretricious statements--thereby perhaps succeeding in confusing the debate and wriggling off the hook. And asking for passage of such a resolution puts the burden on the Republican majority to act--which raises the possibility, maybe a probability, that the attempt will seem partisan if pursued, and if Republicans at some point back off, will then make them look weak as well.

Why not put the burden on the Democrats? When Sen. Trent Lott made a far less damaging, but still deplorable, statement two and a half years ago, his fellow Republicans insisted

he step down as their leader. Shouldn't Democrats insist that Sen. Durbin step down as their whip, the number two man in their leadership? Shouldn't conservatives (and liberals) legitimately ask Democrats to hold their leader to account, especially given the precedent of Lott?

Why would the GOP want any of the Democratic "leaders" to step down?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 20, 2005 10:39 AM

It forces Dean and Reid to take a public stand, which will be either

(1) "Dick Durbin was way out of line; our party supports the troops, there's no room for that . . . " or

(2) "We stand by Dick Durbin, Bush = Hitler, neocons, Mossad operations, black helicopters, flouride in the water . . . Enron!"

Either way, they're hosed.

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 20, 2005 10:44 AM

Mr. Morley;

Why? A more likely public stand is "Republicans are being divisive and partisan, obstructing the nation's business with trivialities". And if that the Democratic Party line, you can be sure that's how it will be reported in Old Media.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at June 20, 2005 11:36 AM

It is more helpful to keep comparing Durbin to past members of the Senate, like Eastland, Bilbo, Byrd, McCarthy, Packwood, and others - except that Dick slandered the entire US military. Forget Reid's scripted responses, just ask him if he believes the US military is comprised of mass murderers, like his subordinate Dick Durbin.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 20, 2005 12:11 PM

Jim: my point exactly. If the question is being framed that way, "Republicans are just being partisan . . ." comes off as "Yeah, American troops are the new stormtroopers, I'm just too chicken to say it out loud."

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 20, 2005 12:38 PM

Far better that these wild accusations are ignored and die a natural death. The media can't keep them on the front pages if Republicans don't rise to the bait.

Posted by: erp at June 20, 2005 1:22 PM

When your enemy is hurting himself, leave him alone.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 20, 2005 4:35 PM