Saturday, June 18, 2005


It must be that just about every boy fantasizes about having a tree-house where he and his mates can hang out. You know, a place where they can get together out of the reach of annoying adults to look at girly magazines, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol they've stolen from their parents and maybe talk about girls.

Rep. John Conyers Jr.(D-Mich.) recetly lived out the adult version of that fantasy. Dana Milbank reports in the Washington Post:
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.

"At the next hearing," he told his colleagues, "we could use a little subpoena power." That brought the house down.

As Conyers and his hearty band of playmates know, subpoena power and other perks of a real committee are but a fantasy unless Democrats can regain the majority in the House. But that's only one of the obstacles they're up against as they try to convince America that the "Downing Street Memo" is important.
Funny, in a pathetic sort of way. But, for the left this is serious stuff. reports as if Conyers's play "hearing" was actually a hearing:
On Thursday, we made history.

All of our determination and hard work paid off as John Conyers and thirty-five House Democrats heard unbelievably powerful testimony about the Downing Street Minutes from Joseph Wilson, Cindy Sheehan, Ray McGovern, and John Bonifaz. (You can read full coverage at our coalition site,

Throughout the riveting three-hour hearing, one question hung over the room: Could it be true, as the Minutes state so plainly, that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy"?

The evidence led to one inescapable conclusion: Yes. has a link to an associated site featuring a response from Ray McGovern - one of the "hearing's" witnesses - to Milbank's article:
Were I not to have admired your past record, I might even think you are campaigning for a Gold Star from your editors, since your inaccurate, tendentious report dovetails so well with their torturous effort to play down the implications of the Downing Street Minutes. Those minutes are, indeed, a smoking gun. You'll see.
Democratic Underground has now posted on its front page the headline Congressman Conyers hammers the Washington Post's Dana Milbank with an excerpt from a letter from Conyers to Milbank:
I write to express my profound disappointment with Dana Milbank's June 17 report, "Democrats Play House to Rally Against the War," which purports to describe a Democratic hearing I chaired in the Capitol yesterday. In sum, the piece cherry-picks some facts, manufactures others out of whole cloth, and does a disservice to some 30 members of Congress who persevered under difficult circumstances, not of our own making, to examine a very serious subject: whether the American people were deliberately misled in the lead up to war. The fact that this was the Post's only coverage of this event makes the journalistic shortcomings in this piece even more egregious.
If Democrats want to be taken seriously they have to do more than demand to be taken seriously, they have to stop acting like children.

Update: In an exclusive, here's a photo of "Spanky" Conyers and his mates at the recent "hearing":


Anonymous Jack Walker said...

Using the term Spanky is Hitlerian and you will hurt feelings.

9:48 AM  

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