- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Seizing control of the Senate on Tuesday was the Democrats’ attempt to seize control of the news cycle from President Bush. That we’re even mentioning it means they were partially successful, even if their primary strategy of refocusing the national debate on prewar intelligence probably won’t be. This should please Majority Leader Bill Frist, who looked about ready to invoke the so-called nuclear option just for spite.

Sen. Harry Reid claims his party’s stunt was a way to pressure the Intelligence Committee to finish the second part of its investigation into prewar intelligence. Committee Chairman Pat Roberts put it plainly afterward, when he told reporters that all Republicans agreed to was what they had already agreed to. It is also ironic that Democrats would be clamoring for the second part of the report, when the first part raised questions about the truthfulness of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson — who’s currently enjoying his second incarnation as the Democrats’ favorite martyr.

But the intelligence report was just a red herring, as Mr. Reid himself made clear: “The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq.”

In fact, the Libby indictment does no such thing. Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald said as much in his press conference last week: “This indictment is not about the war. This indictment’s not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.”

Still, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the Democrats. They believed that Mr. Fitzgerald’s investigation into the CIA leak case would result in the indictments of several top administration officials, including Karl Rove. Instead, it led to one, “Scooter” Libby. The golden indictment Democrats had anticipated never materialized.

To make matters worse for the Democrats, the president seems to be on the rebound after a particularly rough couple weeks. His nomination of the superbly qualified Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, the announcement of his plan to combat avian flu and the recently released report on tax reform promise to capture headlines well into the holiday season, as well they should.

So, with no good news to go on, the Democrats tried to make some of their own. It was an absurd stunt and certainly unbecoming of the “world’s greatest deliberative body.”

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