October 18, 2004

Ballad of the Yellow Beret

Mark Dayton (via Powerline), explains last week's bugout in yesterday's Strib.

Dayton says:

I acted, based upon a top-secret Intelligence Report, dated Sept. 15, 2004, from the Counterterrorism Center in the Directorate of Central Intelligence. One officer of the Senate described the report as "the most declarative statement" from the national intelligence community that he had seen during his 30 years in intelligence and law enforcement.
As well it may have been - but only one of several statements, according to this piece in last Thursday's WaPo:
It was an extreme possibility on a menu of unknowns that had less-threatening options. All 535 members of Congress continued to work as usual until this week, when Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) shut his offices, sent his staff home and cautioned people against visiting Capitol Hill.
One possibility among many.

Dayton continues:

For now, however, the Senate itself is closed. I considered it irresponsible and immoral for me to return to the relative safety of Minnesota and leave my Washington staff exposed to unacceptable risks, of which I was aware and they were not.
And yet the "risks" of being in Washington DC are pretty well-known, according to DC's police chief, Charles Ramsey:
"It's not based on any credible information that's come in. Nobody knows why he is doing what he is doing," Ramsey said. "It doesn't take a brain surgeon to think that the White House and the Capitol are targets. But there is no credible information about planned attacks -- nothing to set off the reaction we saw."
Dayton continues, with emphasis added by me:
Some have said, from their own safety far away from Washington, that my action sends the wrong "message." My staff are not "messages." They are real people, named Jack, Chris, Laura, Demian and Delta. Most of them are young, and many are the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of Minnesotans. Their lives are precious, and they are my responsibility.
"From our own safety?"

You were elected to the job, Senator Dayton! You're in DC because you wanted to be! Because your pals in the media pulled an epic slime-job on Rod Grams!

Do not sneer at me for being here in Minnesota. We're your "constituents". Remember us?

And while Jack, Chris, Laura, Demian and Delta are precious, so are the couple of million other people in the District of Columbia; if the news you got is so terrible, why don't you break ranks and share it?

Leaders lead by their examples, and they lead from the front lines during times of danger, not from the rear.
Put another way:
Brave Sir Robin ran away
Bravely, ran away...away...
When danger reared its ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out
Bravely talking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin
Dayton continues:
If senators had wanted to send a message to the nation or the world, the Senate should have remained open through the election. There is plenty of unfinished work, which is scheduled for completion in a postelection session. Instead, at the decision of the majority leader, the Senate closed the earliest in my four years there, and members left town, leaving their staffs behind.
So while the Senate is out of session, the lives of Jack, Chris, Laura, Demian and Delta are precious to force you to close down your office - but if you were going to be in town debating dairy subsidies, Jack, Chris, Laura, Demian and Delta would be out of luck?

Oh, yeah - and speaking of "leading from the front", your leadership hasn't gone un-noticed:

"It's kind of scary to me that he might know something others don't," said Thomas Jordan, 45, a general laborer who has worked on the Senate side for a year after 10 years on the House side. "We just had a general meeting today -- we're supposed to have one every other Wednesday. . . . One of the staffers happened to bring it up -- that one of the senators had gotten a little paranoid."
Dayton continues:
No one can predict the future with certainty, and the intelligence report I read did not purport to do so. It did, however, identify a more likely period of time for a terrorist attack. Additionally, early this month CNN reported that Al-Qaida's No. 2 operative issued a statement on an Islamic Web site urging attacks on U.S. and British interests. His similar statement preceded the bombing in Madrid, just before Spain's election.
Their statements also preceded the Afghan war, the '02 elections, the UN deliberations on Iraq, the invasion of Iraq, the Olympics, the 2003 Cub Scout Jamboree, Arbor Day and the Daytime Emmies. It's what Al Quaeda does these days.

Scuttlebut has it, Senator Dayton, that you're not going to run for re-election; that your erratic performance of the last four years has rendered you a liability to your party.

Please, Senator Dayton - run for re-election. I relish the thought of being able to play a part, any part, in defeating you in open electoral combat.

Posted by Mitch at October 18, 2004 05:41 AM | TrackBack


"[Mark] Dayton suggested the U.S. should redirect military spending to more sharply focus on the United States. 'I think we need a much stronger patrolling of our border by our armed forces,' he said. 'The greatest threat to our national security today is the flood of drugs coming into our country.' " (Source: Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio on-line Oct 2, 2000)

Posted by: RBMN at October 18, 2004 06:47 PM