Just One More Step Away From Accountability

Daily Kos flags a Washington Post article on a new Bush administration tactic to avoid pesky questions from Congressional Democrats — simply announce that you will no longer answer them. Henceforth, the White House wll only aswer questions approved by (Republican) committee chairs. This ensures that nothing troubling will be asked, solving the problem of both volume and content in a single stroke.

Abstractly, you can imagine a world in which the flood of informational requests from the Congress begins to overwhelm the White House, although there is no evidence that we had reached that point. If the White House's response had been some sort of quota system, eg. N questions per representative per month get priority attention, the rest go to the bottom of the pile, I might understand that. In fact, however, the policy seems to be a response to questions about the provenance of the shipboard “Mission Accomplished” banner that Bush has been trying so hard to disown recently.

This is just dirty. And so is this White House statement, “It was not the intent to suggest minority members should not ask questions without the consent of the majority.” Right. In which case Director of the White House Office of Administration, Timothy A. Campen, should be fired quick, since he sent an email with a policy which can only be understood to do exactly that.

Given the unending stream of humiliations and provocations being visted on them, it would take saintly virtue for Congressional Democrats to refuse to retaliate in kind when, in due course, they become the majority party again. And while I tend to support Democrats more than other parties, I would not generally call them saintly.

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