Harry Reid's Cry of Desperation
It's payback time. Because nobody was indicted for the alleged outing of Valerie Plame, because a successful vote on the Iraq constitution was just held, because the Iraqi Parliament is being voted into office next month, and because Bush is beginning to flex his presidential muscle again and just nominated a very attractive (and conservative) candidate to the Supreme Court, it's time try and stop the momentum.
To wit, Harry Reid orders the Senate into closed session to claim that the intelligence upon which we relied, from British, French, Russian and other reliable sources, including our own, all seemed to indicate that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and had working programs to develop more, was false. Bush lied, people died.
But the Cindy Sheehan approach aside, the fact that Harry Reid chose this time to pull a political stunt like this, at the end of the Plame news cycle which concluded in a dissatisfying manner for him, at the beginning of one for Judge Alito who is receiving very positive reviews (and on the heels of the announcement by the somewhat squishy Mike DeWine that he is firmly behind Alito and that he would vote to trigger the nuclear option if the Dems tried a filibuster), and at the birth of an Iraqi political process that seems to be taking root, is a pregnant admission on his part that he sees the very real possibility that his party is losing traction.
The big problem for him now is Sam Alito, who now threatens to bring the Dems to 0 for 2 on Supreme Court nominees in a three month span. He needs something to take the wind out of the Bush Administration's sails and to stop the so far positive press Alito is receiving.
But this has got to work quickly for him. The effort by Democrats to smear him (thanks to Red State), with what I think is just a little emphasis on his Italian heritage by noting that he failed to convict a mobster in 1988, is not a great start. If this is all they can throw at him, the usual gripes about affirmative action, gender issues, abortion and the like, it's a losing effort. The public has largely come to price this stuff in when hearing the Democrats' criticisms of Republican judicial nominees. And if they can't make anything stick short of their own disfavored political objectives, Alito looks good for confirmation, and the Dems have much to worry about if they try to mount a filibuster.
So all in all a decent week for the Administration so far, and a frankly pitiful cry for attention and relevance by the Senate Minority Leader.