Yesterday, Senator Russ Feingold introduced a Senate resolution to censure President Bush for the NSA's 'illegal' international terrorist surveillance program. Bill Frist proposed to put Feingold's resolution on for an immediate vote, but the Democrats blocked a vote, preferring to let the measure draw headlines in committee for a while longer.Feingold wantspresidentor presidnet, and somehow has to get to the left of Hillary. This is just his latest stunt.
Those with a sense of deja vu may recall the similar episode of Congressman Jack Murtha's resolution calling for immediate termination of the Iraq mission. The Democrats hailed Murtha's courage and welcomed the headlines that followed--did you know that Murtha is an ex-Marine?--but considered it dirty pool when the Republicans actually wanted to vote on Murtha's proposal. The vote was something like 402-3, but no matter--the Democrats got anti-administration headlines, which is what they were looking for.
Feingold's absurd resolution will meet a similar fate when it is finally voted on, but by then the Democrats will have moved on to something else--something equally frivolous, in which the news media will cooperate gladly. All of which may cause some voters to wonder how serious the Democrats are about the issues that concern the American people.
UPDATE: Not too many saluting Russ' flag:
The referral averted a debate and a vote that Democrats privately worried would alienate voters who could decide close elections. Throughout the day, Feingold's fellow Democrats said they understood his frustration but they held back overt support for the resolution. Several said they wanted first to see the Senate Intelligence Committee finish an investigation of the warrantless wiretapping program that Bush authorized as part of his war on terrorism.