Richard Sambrook compares the ways in which the major newspapers are covering Robert Gates’ nomination to the coverage in blogs:
Both constituencies are using the tools and processes they have – access to politicians and opinion formers in the case of the press, internet research and networked knowledge in the case of the blogs. What’s interesting is the gap in the image that emerges – a gap that hopefully the Senate hearings will close.
Josh Marshall’s newest team member David Kurtz has been looking into the question of when the Gates hearings should occur. He doesn’t understand why Senate Dems “are not demanding full hearings on the Gates nomination after the first of the year. No one is eager for Rumsfeld to hold the post for a minute longer than necessary, but what better way for Democrats to begin to exert control over Iraq policy. You want to do oversight on Iraq? Start there.”
Later, Kirk juxtaposes the positions of two readers:
From TPM Reader JW:
I don’t see the logic of waiting two months to confirm Gates just to use the hearings as a platform to talk about Iraq. The Democrats …don’t have anything on Gates that would prevent him from becoming Defense Secretary. It’s pretty clear they’re going to have to work with Gates; why make him the whipping boy from the outset?
Then again, TPM Reader EC:
It really is important to maintain that the problems with Iraq don’t simply go away with Rumsfeld’s departure. The administration OWNS this one, and whether Rumsfeld leaves immediately or lingers until a successor is confirmed should not matter… If there’s a mandate in any of this, it’s that the American people don’t trust a Republican Congress to run things…and that should certainly include the relatively important decision of who replaces Rumsfeld. Democrats should support an extensive, reasonable examination of any nominee for any position; that can’t and won’t happen if they appear too timid to challenge the administration on the timing.