Saturday, July 23, 2005

Working Late,

or how things get done.

The LA Times reported early Friday evening on a Friday hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The subject of the hearing was the appointment of Karen Hughes to the State Department as the chief Public Relations Official. What is so unusual about that?

A scaled-back Senate Foreign Relations Committee showered praise Friday on Karen Hughes and put the former political adviser to President Bush on a fast track to confirmation as the State Department's top public relations official.

Only two senators attended the hearing. In the absence of votes in Congress on Fridays, most lawmakers leave early for the weekend.
[Emphasis added]

The two Senators in attendance were the Committee Chair, Richard Lugar and George Voinovich, both Republicans. You would expect them to favor the confirmation of Ms. Hughes, and you would be right.

Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said "virulent anti-American hatred in the Islamic world" is a security concern.

"In an era when allied cooperation is essential in the war against terrorism, negative public opinion overseas has enormous consequences," he said.

And Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio, identified the enemy as Muslim extremists.

"Somehow we have got to change people's heads and their minds," he said.

Was this a case of the Republicans holding super double secret hearings behind the Democrats' backs? Not exactly:

Lugar read a statement of support from the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Joseph R. Biden of Delaware.

That Karen Hughes will in fact have an easy confirmation is clear, but I don't understand why the Democrats are so willing to roll over on the issue that they won't even appear at a committee hearing, even if it is held on a Friday, a day most people consider part of the work week.

Here is a list of the committee members.


ChairmanRichard G. Lugar Indiana
Chuck Hagel Nebraska
Lincoln Chafee Rhode Island
George Allen Virginia
Norm Coleman Minnesota
George V. Voinovich Ohio
Lamar Alexander Tennessee
John E. Sununu New Hampshire


Ranking Member Joseph R. Biden Delaware
Paul S. Sarbanes Maryland
Christopher J. Dodd Connecticut
John F. Kerry Massachusetts
Russell D. Feingold Wisconsin
Barbara Boxer California
Bill Nelson Florida
Barack Obama Illinois

Perhaps we ought to let them all know that we expect a full work week from them when important matters are to be decided.


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