Harry Reid has effectively shut down the Senate, using a procedure known as Rule 21, which requires only a seconding motion to summon all the Senators to a behind-close-doors session, to call Republicans to task over the Plame outing, the Scooter Libby indictment, and the war fiasco. In particular, Reid is calling the Republican leadership and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts to task for not following through on their stated commitment to conduct a phase 2 investigation of the lead-up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
And he's blistering the administration on just about everything, from the war to Katrina and the prison abuse scandal.
Republicans were just starting to bask in the idea, and the media's acceptance of their spin, that the Libby indictment meant the end of the CIA-leak investigation ("there was no crime...only one indictment...Libby just one bad apple...nothing to see hear, please disperse and move along") and that with the withdrawal of Harriet Miers and the subsequent nomination of radical conservative Sam Alito, the conservatives were back in charge again. Well, they may be in charge, but Harry Reid is turning up the heat.
Republican leaders, conditioned by past Democratic acquiescence, are shocked, SHOCKED by the sudden spine growth:
Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said Reid was making "some sort of stink about Scooter Libby and the CIA leak."
In addition, Lott said, Reid's move violated the Senate's tradition of courtesy and consent. But there was nothing in Senate rules enabling Republicans to thwart Reid's effort.
As Reid spoke, Frist met in the back of the chamber with a half-dozen senior GOP senators, including Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas, who bore the brunt of Reid's criticism. Reid said Roberts reneged on a promise to fully investigate whether the administration exaggerated and manipulated intelligence leading up to the war.
The Republicans are upset. What happened to "courtesy and consent"? Boo hoo hoo. And the Media was caught without its Republican talking points.
"I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell."
---Harry S. Truman (Reid)