Senate: See You on Thursday

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WASHINGTON: Impeachment is going away for a little while. After a pair of votes -- and a good bit of parliamentary bickering in between -- the Senate closed its doors Tuesday and will hold its final deliberations in private. Those senators who were looking for some more face time on CNN but couldn't muster the 67 votes needed to change the Senate rules got a consolation prize: They'll be able to enter whatever profundities they utter into the congressional record. TIME congressional correspondent Jay Carney says the 41 senators who killed the motion had motives both procedural (reluctance to mess with Senate traditions) and chronological. "There was a fear, especially, that with the cameras rolling, you'd have everyone using every last second of their time -- and that would have taken forever," he said. "Lott wants more than anything to finish on time, on Thursday."

Special Report After the defeat came the moaning and groaning -- outside the doors, in front of those precious cameras -- from senators such as Minnesota's Paul Wellstone, who complained that "this was a vote against representative democracy." Iowa leftie Tom Harkin said that "people have every right to see how we deliberate, how we reach the decisions that we do." What they neglected to mention, of course, was that those 100 minds have already been made up, and that "people," as defined by every poll known to man, have already seen much more of the Senate on this issue that they ever cared to. At 15 minutes per, that's still 25 hours to go before the final votes on the articles; hopefully the absence of cameras will mean a shorter wait and a lot less pontificating. And so it was that the same Senate minority that has been flouting the polls all this time -- the hard-core Republicans -- finally gave America what it wanted: a few days of peace and quiet.

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