The Senate has just taken up debate on a resolution expressing its lack of confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip Trent Lott are leading the charge against the resolution -- not because they have faith in Gonzales (they won't say that they do) but because they want to avoid making their Republican colleagues choose between the president and the people.
Lott nearly admitted as much on the Senate floor a few minutes ago, saying that the purpose of the Democrats' resolution was "to put some people on the hot spot." He called introduction of the resolution "a very disappointing spectacle."
"We ought to summarily punt this out to the backfield where it belongs," Lott said. "This is beneath the dignity of the Senate. How low will the Senate go? If we get into this, for hours or days, pity how much it will debase this Senate even further."
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.