Democrats Unveil Their "Contract of Wimpiness"

And You Said It Couldn't Be Done

EMOCRATIC LEADERS held a brief but energetic news conference yesterday to formally announce a policy that has been in effect in all but name since Democrats took slim control of the U.S. Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began. "As you know, Democrats have been saying a lot of important-sounding things since I became Speaker. Not only that, but we've been saying them with great intensity and fervor!" cried Pelosi, her eyes darting meaningfully from reporter to reporter.

"The time has come for Democrats in Congress to come together and demonstrate to the American people that we are united in word AND not-deed!!"

"NOT-deed?" queried veteran reporter Helen Thomas.

"Indeed!" replied Pelosi, adding, "Democrats have stood on the sidelines long enough. We're now fully in the game, ready to do nothing at a moment's notice!"

As if to demonstrate, Senator Leahy of Vermont stepped manfully into the glare of television lights. "What did I say the other day about Gonzales and the fired U.S. attorneys? — 'I intend to get answers to these questions no matter how long it takes.' And I wasn't kidding!!"

"But, Senator, what will you DO with those answers once you get them?" asked Helen Thomas.

"Squat!" insisted Leahy. "I'm not chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee by accident! I earned my seat, and I intend to sit in it!!"

Not to be outdone, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York jostled his colleagues out of position at the podium. "As you know, I possess a deep and intimidating, New York-inflected voice—"

"Yeah, maybe so," Leahy interrupted, "but my presence has heft based on my seniority!"

"As I was saying," drawled Sen. Schumer, "I am the one everyone listens to at the end of the day. So listen to this: we'd better get an Attorney General we can fully endorse, or else."

"'Or else' what?" yawned Ms. Thomas.

"Or else we'll be forced to spend another day or two grilling the candidate before we fold. It won't be pretty, and you'll wish we'd just stop already. But we'll do whatever is required, make no mistake."