After preening itself for its unwonted decorum and earnestness in debating the Iraq war resolutions, Congress has reverted to form. Pettiness and partisanship prevail once again on Capitol Hill.
On the first day after fighting erupted this week the Senate retired to its backrooms, there to squabble whether, in expressing support for American troops in action, they should or should not toss a few words in the direction of the commander-in-chief. Republicans were in favor of doing so; Democrats were against. In the end, they produced a fudge that was approved unanimously. The president was "commended," though not by name. The troops were commended "unequivocally," an adverb not bestowed on George Bush.
"Mealy-mouthed," was the judgment of House GOP leader Bob Michel. "It's like they're rubbing our nose in it," complained Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa -- the "it" in this instance being "hortatory language" from Republicans about "how great the president is." Perhaps the most pertinent remark came from Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who said "Congress has a proclivity for looking silly."