His comments are, to be sure, deserving of censure. But is this the best action to push for? For one thing, Democrats can explain that resolutions of censure have typically been reserved for ethics violations, not for meretricious statements--thereby perhaps succeeding in confusing the debate and wriggling off the hook. And asking for passage of such a resolution puts the burden on the Republican majority to act--which raises the possibility, maybe a probability, that the attempt will seem partisan if pursued, and if Republicans at some point back off, will then make them look weak as well.Damn right they should. But they won't--mostly because the press downplays Democrat disasters while foretelling the end of the republic with any Republican gaffe.
Why not put the burden on the Democrats? When Sen. Trent Lott made a far less damaging, but still deplorable, statement two and a half years ago, his fellow Republicans insisted he step down as their leader. Shouldn't Democrats insist that Sen. Durbin step down as their whip, the number two man in their leadership? Shouldn't conservatives (and liberals) legitimately ask Democrats to hold their leader to account, especially given the precedent of Lott?
Monday, June 20, 2005
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol agrees censuring Dick Durbin isn't sufficient: