Sham procedures pretend importance

Dana Milbank describes how Democrats Play House To Rally Against the War (WaPo 05jn17 reg?). This was also on C-SPAN where a ‘witness’ cited “willfully and knowingly” – a phrase repeated with solemnity several times to castigate the President as deceiving Congress.

In the Capitol basement yesterday, long-suffering House Democrats took a trip to the land of make-believe.

They pretended a small conference room was the Judiciary Committee hearing room, draping white linens over folding tables to make them look like witness tables and bringing in cardboard name tags and extra flags to make the whole thing look official.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) banged a large wooden gavel and got the other lawmakers to call him “Mr. Chairman.” He liked that so much that he started calling himself “the chairman” and spouted other chairmanly phrases, such as “unanimous consent” and “without objection so ordered.” The dress-up game looked realistic enough on C-SPAN, so two dozen more Democrats came downstairs to play along.

The session was a mock impeachment inquiry over the Iraq war. As luck would have it, all four of the witnesses agreed that President Bush lied to the nation and was guilty of high crimes — and that a British memo on “fixed” intelligence that surfaced last month was the smoking gun equivalent to the Watergate tapes. Conyers was having so much fun that he ignored aides’ entreaties to end the session.

It was a display of the extreme fringe. The danger is that it was held under the wing of the Democrat Party. There is a proper manner to voice one’s concerns and opinions. But this particular method heads towards the pit of sedition instead.

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