Senator Jack Reed, a close ally of President Barack Obama, gave it a shot - urging patience as the president prepared to offer new detail on his plans to close the Guantanamo Bay Prison that has proved such a PR disaster for the United States.
But with Republicans stoking fears of terrorists transferred to American prisons, the Democratic caucus caved. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced yesterday that his party would not put up the cash for a closure without a "comprehensive, responsible plan from the president." And he suggested, quite strongly, that Senate Democrats would never accept detainees on the mainland - whatever the president puts forth.
"We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States," he said.
There is, of course, something absurd about the notion that detainees will escape will-nilly from Super Max prisons and immediately go about blowing up Wal-Marts in the hinterlands of Indiana and Nebraska. But even in the exalted halls of the United States Senate, it seems, not-in-my-backyard politics is a potent force.
Nice try, Jack.