Where are the other Democrats?

After two weeks of trying, John Kerry can persuade only nine of his colleagues to sign off on a letter calling for a Downing Street investigation.

By Tim Grieve
Published June 24, 2005 9:32PM (EDT)

For those who have been itching for someone -- the national media, the White House, Congress, anybody -- to take the Downing Street memo seriously, the news today is mostly good: Even if the Republicans will never let it happen, John Kerry and nine other Senate Democrats have actually asked for an investigation that will include the revelations set forth in the Downing Street memo.

And yet -- where are the rest of the Senate Democrats? There are 44 Democrats in the Senate, and Kerry circulated a draft of his letter to the whole lot of them two weeks ago. In the end, he was able to persuade just nine of his colleagues to sign on: Jon Corzine, Tim Johnson, Frank Lautenberg, Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, Jack Reed, Jeff Bingaman and Dick Durbin.

Where are you, Harry Reid? Any reason you didn't sign, Sen. Clinton? And while we wouldn't expect to see a signature from someone like Joe Lieberman on this letter, why don't we see your name there, Sen. Obama?

It would be one thing, we suppose, if Kerry's letter were outrageous somehow -- say, if it impugned the patriotism of millions of Americans or suggested their real "motives" were to put U.S. troops in mortal danger. But Kerry's letter isn't like that. It simply quotes passages from the Downing Street memo and highlights the "troubling questions" that they raise.

Is it that you don't think those questions are worth answers, Joe Biden? Or does the experience of Dick Durbin -- who did, after all, sign the Kerry letter -- have you too scared to raise them?

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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