Ted's Lipstick Test


Uncle Ted's campaign promo - no kidding

According to a list released yesterday, Sen. Maria Cantwell won't be among the character witnesses for Sen. Ted Stevens next week. Hard to believe. Just because she loathes him? As we've reported, Washington's second and "third" senators don't see eye-to-eye on much (starting with the generational divide of the Internet: to Stevens, a "series of tubes," to Cantwell and her former employer RealNetworks, pure manna).

But ex-Sect. of State Colin Powell and both Ted Kennedy and Daniel Inouye along with other senators may be on the stand at the Alaskan Republican's D.C. corruption trial for accepting home-remodeling favors from an oilman, the AP reports today.

It's unclear from the witness lists what Powell and the lawmakers might testify about. But Stevens had described Powell as one of his closest friends. And Inouye is one of Stevens' closest allies in Congress.

A cynic might conclude that, with all these pols on the stand, the oath to compel nothing but the truth will be under great stress. But will any of them really show up? What self-respecting office-holder wants to risk being asked, with hand on the Bible, if he, too, might have accepted quid for a little pro quo?

Of course it's a different time. The late, loveable Washington Sen. Warren Magnuson, one of Cantwell's predecessors who worked closely with Stevens, would likely have happily taken the stand and piped some untruths about his old ally, then laughed about it afterwards over drinks and cigars.

As trials go, however, Stevens' hearing will be the spectacle that only politics can muster: A Magoo-like figure who once was but a few heartbeats from the White House effectively using his speeded-up criminal trial to gain re-election. As that other Alaskan seeking a heartbeat role might say, it's like putting lipstick on the oldest Republican in the Senate. Thanks but no thanks!

comments powered by Disqus