Rare signs of seriousness

Newsmax.com reports that Senate Majority Leader Frist has temporarily disbanded the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Committee will not meet again, according to Frist, until committee Democrats reveal the identity of the author of a memo outlining a plan to use its processes to undermine President Bush’s re-election. This seems like a rare sign of seriousness on the part of Senate Republicans.
Another possible, but more ambiguous, sign is the decision to devote 30 consecutive hours of debate next week to Republican attempts to obtain a vote on judicial nominees being blocked by Democrats. My first reaction was to view this as mere grandstanding designed to placate conservatives like me. But the fact that this is also the take of a characteristically condescending story in the Washington Post makes me think that there may be something more in the tactic. I hope it is only the beginning of a concerted effort to hammer this issue home to voters, particularly in the south where there will be at least four open Democratic Senate seats in play next year.


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