IF A TREE FALLS IN A FOREST…If the Democrats held a hearing and nobody came, did it really take place? Dana Milbank writes about the first investigative hearing held by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) this year and notes that while they picked a good topic (Iraq contracting abuses) and received good press coverage, it might help the cause a bit if Democratic senators themselves could be bothered to show up.

Still, the Democrats might get others to take their events/hearings more seriously if they did so themselves. Only two senators bothered to attend the nearly two-hour event — Dorgan and Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), who told those assembled that “I have a number of questions, but I have other things to do.”

I have some questions about the ability of any minority party-sponsored hearing to really make waves (particularly the DPC, which some Senate staffers derisively refer to as, “Democrats Preaching to the Choir”). But as Henry Waxman has shown in the House, being in the minority doesn’t mean you can’t hold people’s feet to the flames and make the news while you’re doing it.

Lord Almighty, Democrats, this is shameful. Particularly because what I heard before the hearing took place was that the leadership put out the call to all Senate Dems to avoid scheduling anything else the same time so that the hearing would command full attention. Apparently, nearly every Democratic senator interpreted this as a sign that they should extend their weekend an extra day and hang out in the state. Milbank is absolutely right–no one is ever going to take Democrats seriously if they don’t do so themselves.

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Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan is a Chicago-based journalist who has written about religion, politics, and culture as a senior editor for Time, National Journal, and Yahoo. She was an editor at the Washington Monthly from 2004 to 2006.