Saturday, October 29, 2005

Republican Senators Dead Quiet on Libby Indictment

When you look at what political party tries to position itself as the guardian of America's national security, you would think that the press offices of Republican Senators would have been abuzz with activity in the wake of Lewis "Scooter" Libby's indictment in the CIA leak case.

After all, Libby has been indicted on five very serious charges in an investigation into a treasonous act on the part of White House staff and a probe that will continue and likely turn up even more deeds that undermine our national security.

Certainly, Democratic Senators found this to be alarming, with most of their offices churning out press releases commending Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and making clear their support for finding out just how far this security breach went.

But, 36 hours after the indictment was announced—a lifetime in the Washington, D.C. news cycle – 53 of 55 GOP Senators had no mention whatsoever of the Libby indictment or the CIA leak case on their public web sites.

Were the press sections of their web sites down? Hardly. Many of them have been updated in the last 72 hours with other issues:

  • Wayne Allard (R-CO) had an important release called "Allard legislation to upgrade access to Rocky Mountain National park signed into law by President Bush."
  • George Allen (R-VA) and many others had statements on the Harriet Miers' nomination withdrawal.
  • Conrad Burns (R-MT) made his position on beef exports clear in "Burns Demands an End to Japanese Beef Embargo." John Cornyn (R-TX) had "Cornyn Co-sponsors Bill To End Japanese Ban On U.S. Beef" as the top story on his web site today.
  • Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) took the time to wax poetic about the vote to ratify the Iraqi constitution and his colleague, Mike Crapo (R-ID), had a press release called "Iraqi Constitution is Beacon for Democracy in the Middle East."
  • Larry Craig (R-ID) very rapidly made his views clear on the "flawed" and "outrageous" countervailing duties placed on Canadian softwood lumber entering the United States.
  • Mike Enzi (R-WY) wants to be sure that people know that he's concerned about how "the agony of the confirmation process could discourage future nominees for [Supreme] court."
  • Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) had as his only press release yesterday that he "Applauds Growth In 3rd Quarter GDP" -- because, clearly, that was the biggest story in Washington yesterday.
  • George Voinovich (R-OH) wanted to make sure that we all knew he had met with the Macedonian Prime Minister.
But I did say that two out of 55 Republican senators thought that the biggest story of White House wrongdoing since Watergate was important enough to comment on, didn't I?

Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) issued a brief statement that, while calling the whole affair a "very serious matter" made the main issue a call to "...allow the process to continue to work and suspend final judgment until Mr. Libby has had the opportunity to exercise his rights under the law.”

Likewise, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) rushed to point out that "Mr. Libby has served his country for a long time and deserves his day in court. The burden lies on Mr. Fitzgerald to prove his case, not on Mr. Libby to prove his innocence.”

So it's not like the GOP totally avoided the subject.

And lest I leave you with the impression that Republican Senators were not hard at work this week on the issues that matter most to the American people, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has as his most recent press release today, "DeMint Wins One for Shoeless Joe," in which he announces “the sense of the Senate that Joseph Jefferson ‘Shoeless Joe’ Jackson should be appropriately honored for his outstanding baseball accomplishments.”

Thank you for being there for us, Senator DeMint. Now what about White House officials who give up the identities of America's intelligence agents?