October 12, 2004

When the Going Gets Tough

The tough run away:

Sen. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he is closing his Washington office because of a classified intelligence report that made him fear for the safety of his staff.

Dayton, D-Minn., said the office will be closed while Congress is in recess through Election Day, with his staff working out of his Minnesota office and in Senate space off Capitol Hill.

"I take this step out of extreme, but necessary, precaution to protect the lives and safety of my Senate staff and my Minnesota constituents, who might otherwise be visiting my Senate office in the next three weeks," he said on a call with reporters.

"I feel compelled to do so because I will not be here in Washington to share what I consider to be an unacceptably greater risk to their safety," he said.

Of course, this is all predicated on the going getting tough:

CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr reports that federal officials said they knew of no new, specific intelligence information that would have prompted Dayton to close his office.

Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland Security Department spokesman, said the department had no intelligence indicating al-Qaida intends to target any specific U.S. locations.

Added Capitol police spokesman Michael Lauer: "There's been no specific threats against the Capitol complex. We continue to be on guard now, all the way up to the election and all the way through
the inauguration."

Rather than leadership, this strikes me as cheap grandstanding bordering on cowardice. You asked for the tough job of being senator for the good people of Minnesota, Mr. Dayton. Even if your concern was legitimate, which doesn't seem to be the opinion of anyone else in Washington, if you want to take a position of leadership you must lead and demonstrate bravery and wisdom.

Maybe this is a DNC trial balloon to see how it plays out. If it goes over well, I expect the Democrats to leave Washington en masse to try and make Bush look bad. Of course, maybe some of them should clean out their offices now and save themselves the trip back to do it after the election.

Posted by Charles Austin at October 12, 2004 04:58 PM