There was a time when, if you had to testify before a United States Senate committee, you could be sure of at least one thing: you'd testify in a setting free of harassment from visitors seated behind you.
That was true even when the majority party members controlling hearings were hostile to you and were them to skewer you rather than seek information.
Even when the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy was abusing witnesses, he made sure the audience didn't pile on.
During Judge Robert Bork's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and as recently as Justice Samual Alito's hearings, liberals and leftists in the audiences knew that when Sen. Teddy Kennedy engaged in gross witness abuse, they couldn't shout and cheer him on or they'd be ejected from the hearing room.
When Clinton's Housing Secretary, Henry Cisneros, testified before a Senate committee about a hush money scheme to silence his mistress, the Republican's controlling the hearings made sure the audience remained silent despite the outrageous criminal behavior Cisneros was testifying about. (He was later indicted and convicted, after which Clinton gave him a presidential pardon which drew no criticism from Democratic Party office holders and journalists)
Now, with the Democrats in charge of Senate hearings we read in the Raleigh N&O :
"Liar! Liar!" screamed onlookers as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.Let the Senators grill Gonzales. If some of them think he's committed perjury, let them follow the law and do what's right.
"I don't trust you," Sen. Patrick Leahy D-Vt., the committee chairman, told the nation's top law enforcement official.
"Mr. Attorney General, do you expect us to believe that?" an incredulous Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the senior member of his party on the committee, shot back after a Gonzales explanation.
In a tense political drama -- punctuated by boos and hisses from an audience filled with members of the liberal protest group Code Pink -- the credibility and competence of the head of the Justice Department was challenged by senators who hinted at possible perjury charges as they pointedly warned Gonzales to carefully review his testimony and submit corrections if warranted. [...]
But they shouldn't let Code Pink and other Democratic Party interest groups engage in witness abuse. That stuff is part of how a police state works. It doesn't belong in America.
Is it too much to ask one of the Democratic Party newspapers such as the NY or LA Times to remind their political allies of that?