The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank covers Rep. John Conyers’s Downing Street Memo PR stunt yesterday in, Democrats Play House To Rally Against the War:
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.Predictably it degenerated into a forum for moonbattery.
The hearing was only nominally about the Downing Street Memo and its assertion that in the summer of 2002 Bush was already determined to go to war and was making the intelligence fit his case. Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador whose wife was outed as a CIA operative, barely mentioned the memo in his opening statement. Cindy Sheehan, who lost a son in Iraq, said the memo “only confirms what I already suspected.”
…The session took an awkward turn when witness Ray McGovern, a former intelligence analyst, declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration “neocons” so “the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world.” He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.At which point America’s worst Congressman (Rep. Jim Moran) and others probably cheered. A handful of hardcore lefties braved the conspiratorial media blackout to watch the show.
At Democratic headquarters, where an overflow crowd watched the hearing on television, activists handed out documents repeating two accusations — that an Israeli company had warning of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that there was an “insider trading scam” on 9/11 — that previously has been used to suggest Israel was behind the attacks.
The event organizer, Democrats.com, distributed stickers saying “Bush lied/100,000 people died.” One man’s T-shirt proclaimed, “Whether you like Bush or not, he’s still an incompetent liar,” while a large poster of Uncle Sam announced: “Got kids? I want yours for cannon fodder.”
Conyers’s firm hand on the gavel could not prevent something of a free-for-all; at one point, a former State Department worker rose from the audience to propose criminal charges against Bush officials. Early in the hearing, somebody accidentally turned off the lights; later, a witness knocked down a flag. Matters were even worse at Democratic headquarters, where the C-SPAN feed ended after just an hour, causing the activists to groan and one to shout “Conspiracy!”Why they didn’t invite former Department of Labor chief economist, Morgan Reynolds P.H.D, to explain what really happened on 9/11 is mystifying. The true believers (or more accurately “non-believers”) were already in attendance. Think of the fun they could have had…
In their moment in the spotlight the liberal blogosphere’s Congressional water carriers managed to act like complete buffoons, which should surprise no one.
Previous Wizbang Downing Street Memo coverage.