RUSH: Steve in Savannah, Georgia, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you doing?
RUSH: Fine, sir.
CALLER: You know, I get bothered any time I hear anybody on Capitol Hill point the finger at the president and say he didn’t train the military, when the Pentagon was begging for bases to be closed under the Bratt Commission, but you had self-serving senators and congresspeople up there saying, ‘Oh, don’t close these bases. Don’t save millions and millions of dollars and put that towards training.’
RUSH: Well, the idea here that Congress exempts itself from any responsibility for things is not new. Look, what do you think Feingold’s real purpose here is?
CALLER: To stay in office. Any time you can blame someone else and say, ‘Well, hey, don’t make us work more than we absolutely have to and let’s let somebody else take a look at this,’ taking away from himself by keeping himself in office. Professional politician.
RUSH: Well, beyond that. There’s a political purpose here beyond his own reelection which of course is the first thing these guys are concerned with. What they’re trying to do here is secure defeat in Iraq any which way they can. They’re trying to force the Republicans into fading away from their support for the president. They’re trying to make it untenable for Republicans to support the president on this, and they’re trying to get Republican votes for future resolutions to pull out of Iraq so they can saddle Republicans and Bush with the eventual defeat and bloodbath that would happen. They haven’t the guts to do it on their own. They do not have the guts to actually de-fund the war with a majority of Democrat votes. They can’t get it done without Republican votes, and this is what they’re trying to do. It’s isolate the president. Make him a pariah that no Republican can support. It hasn’t been working so far. In fact, each time they try these resolutions, they lose support for them. So Dingy Harry has pulled the whole defense authorization bill. Speaking of that, Robert Novak’s piece, his column today, for those of you who voted in 2006 to get rid of Republicans because you thought they had become corrupt and because of earmarks and so forth, wait ’til you hear what Novak has uncovered.
This is something you will never see in the rest of the Drive-By Media. He writes this: ‘When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid … went home following his staged all-night session last week, he saved from possible embarrassment one of the least regular members of his Democratic caucus: Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Reform Republican Sen. Tom Coburn had ready a defense authorization bill amendment to remove Nelson’s earmark funding a Nebraska-based company whose officials include Nelson’s son. Such an effort became impossible when Reid pulled down the bill. That Reid’s action would have this effect was mere coincidence. He knew that Sen. Carl Levin’s amendment to the defense bill mandating a troop withdrawal from Iraq would fall short of the 60 senators needed to cut off debate, and planned from the start to pull the bill after the all-night debate, designed to satisfy anti-war zealots… But Reid also is working behind the scenes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to undermine transparency of earmarks and prevent open debate on spending proposals such as Nelson’s. These antics fit the continuing decline of the Senate, including an unwritten rules change requiring 60 votes (out of 100) to pass any meaningful bill.’
This is interesting. Novak says, ‘When I arrived on Capitol Hill 50 years ago, Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (like Reid today) confronted a slim Democratic Senate majority and a Republican president but was not burdened with the 60-vote rule. While Johnson used chicanery, Reid resorts to brute force that shatters the Senate’s facade of civilized discourse. Reid is plotting to strip anti-earmark transparency from the final version of ethics legislation passed by the Senate and House, with tacit support from Republican senators and the GOP leadership.’ What this means is, when they talk about anti-earmark transparency… You know, everybody was upset about earmarks, and there have been a bunch of proposals that would make all these earmarks debated and publicly known before they were voted on. Reid and Pelosi are trying to strip that. They want to go back to ‘the culture of corruption,’ and the example here is Ben Nelson had an earmark that was going to fund a Nebraska company whose officials include Nelson’s son. ‘In requesting [this] earmark, Nelson did not disclose his son’s employment there. ‘There’s no requirement that he disclose that,’ a Nelson spokesman said. ‘But frankly, in this case, we didn’t disclose it because it’s so public.’ An April 24 letter from Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin, giving all senators instructions on how to request earmarks, makes no mention of the ‘Reid Amendment’ passed by the Senate three months earlier but requires only certification that no senator’s spouse will benefit from an earmark.
‘Inclusion of Nelson’s son, however, would be required if and when the ethics bill provision passes.’ They’re trying to kill the ethics bill provision, exactly what they said they were going to fix when they ran against the so-called Republican culture of corruption last November. Novak talks about he has never seen the Senate behave the way it’s behaving in his 50 years in Washington. ‘[I]n his tumultuous 6½ months as majority leader, [Harry Reid] has tended to suppress free expression in the [Senate]. Last week, he cut off an attempt to respond to him by Sen. Arlen Specter… in an abrupt way that I had not witnessed in a half century of Senate-watching. Neither had Specter. When Specter finally got the Senate floor, he declared: ‘Nothing is done here until the majority leader decides to exercise his power to keep the Senate in all night on a meaningless, insulting session. … Last night’s performance made us the laughingstock of the world.” That’s Specter, after Reid wouldn’t let him respond to something Reid was saying. Novak concludes by saying: ‘It may get worse if plans to eviscerate ethics legislation are pursued.’ They are being pursued. This is why I say I think the Democrats are putting a noose around their necks. Now, admittedly, the Drive-By Media is not interested in the details of this column by Novak. They will not report what is happening on the ethics side, but people will find out about it.