Perhaps the best explanation for the Democrats’ decision to virtually shut down the Senate today can be found in one passage from CIA leak prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s news conference last Friday:
This indictment is not about the war. This indictment’s not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel….The indictment will not seek to prove that the war was justified or unjustified. This is stripped of that debate, and this is focused on a narrow transaction. And I think anyone who’s concerned about the war and has feelings for or against shouldn’t look to this criminal process for any answers or resolution of that.
Fitzgerald’s statement, and his decision to confine the indictment of Lewis Libby to charges of lying and obstruction, threatened to dash the Democrats’ hope of using the CIA leak case as an opportunity to re-debate the reasons for going to war in Iraq. So the party, or at least its leaders in the Senate, has decided to use another route, the shutdown of the Senate, as a way to achieve that goal.