Gatefold: Doormats of the World, Unite!

This is your new-style, reinvigorated, hard-charging, tough-talking, speaking-truth-to-power, practicing-vigorous-oversight gaggle of Senate Democrats in action one month after their historic triumph at the polls:

Senate approves Gates as defense secretary (CNN)
By a vote of 95-2, the Senate approved President Bush's defense secretary nominee Wednesday, a day after the nomination sailed through the Armed Services Committee. Robert Gates was confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee 24-0 on Tuesday. No significant opposition to Gates' nomination surfaced during the confirmation process.

I know, I know: the Democrats haven't yet taken the reins of power in Congress. Obviousl
y, the vote would have been much different if they had waited until January. It would have been 96-1, because Rick Santorum (one of the two Republican Rummy-worshippers who opposed Gates) wouldn't be there.

I'll be writing more about this soon. But for now, I think we should let this vote (and the
confirmation hearing love-in that preceded it, described as "a day of compliments and warm chuckles" by the NYT) on one of the most severely compromised candidates ever nominated for a major Cabinet post serve as a sign of what's to come when the Democrats are once more ensconced in the cozier Congressional offices: more rolling over and playing dead, more simpering gratitude for noises of merely rhetorical "moderation" from the Bush Gang, more relief that they won't actually have to do anything to respond to the tide of anti-war, anti-corruption, anti-tyranny, anti-Bush Faction sentiment that returned them to the majority.

It's just a scientific fact: invertebrae cannot grow spines by spontaneous generation. They were jellyfish before the elections, they are jellyfish now, and they will be wriggling, wimpering jellyfish in January -- and beyond, as they sit around with Gates and Bush "for the next year or two" (in Gates' repeated formulation) and "consider options" for "achieving success" in Iraq.

As with so much else with the rubberstamp Republicans and the rubberboned Democrats, the absurdity of the Gates hearing (and the Baker Group brouhaha) would be funny -- if only so many, many people were not going to die horrible, needless deaths because of it. The whole rotten, stupid farce is like some demented production of "Gomer Pyle Meets the Texas Chainsaw Massacre."