Censure Makes a Cameo

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WASHINGTON: In case you blinked and missed it, censure just made its first -- and doubtless fleeting -- appearance on Henry Hyde's radar screen. "I think it's fair to have a vote on a resolution for censure," Hyde said during a break in Wednesday's bone-dry wrangling over perjury, Ken Starr and other affairs d'affaire. The proposition, favored by Democrats, a few Republicans and most of the public (but when did they ever figure into this?) should have a very short life.

Special Report "Hyde will allow a vote in committee just to appear to be fair to the Democrats, even though it obviously has no chance of passing," says TIME congressional correspondent John Dickerson. "But for those who will decide whether to allow the full House to vote -- Speaker-elect Livingston and Majority Whip Tom DeLay -- the appetite for it just isn't there." Meanwhile, Hyde says that Judiciary's specialty, the inevitable article(s) of impeachment, is a dish that's nearly ready to be served. Foot-stomping about censure -- and there'll be plenty of that on the House floor come Friday -- may be great politics for the Democrats. But when those 435 diners sit down to eat, there'll be only one selection on the menu.