By MARC MCDONALD
A funny thing happened on the way to the GOP completely consolidating its stranglehold on power in Washington: the Democrats finally re-discovered their backbone.
And if you want a Democrat who's not afraid of being intimidated by the powers that be, John Conyers is your man.
After all, Conyers has been standing up for truth, justice and the American way since he entered the House in 1964.
Like all crusaders for the truth, Conyers has long rankled the powerful and corrupt in America. For example, in 1971, Conyers was one of the 20 original names included on the Nixon's Enemies List, an infamous compilation of Nixon foes, put together by presidential chief counsel Charles Colson.
Ironically, the Washington Post was also included in the full version of the "Nixon's Enemies List." How times have changed.
These days, the Post has been cowed into silence in its refusal to cover the Watergate of our era: the Downing Street memo bombshell.
And, worse, the Post has the gall to belittle Conyers as he wages a lonely fight against long odds to investigate the Downing Street memo and bring the truth to the American people. So we get the likes of political correspondent Dana Milbank serving up a insult-filled, sarcastic critique of the recent Conyers-chaired hearing by Democrats into whether the American people were deliberately misled in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
I don't think we can expect the likes of the Washington Post to ever take the Downing Street memo seriously. After all, to do so would mean that the Post has been on the wrong side of history dating back to the early part of 2003, when the likes of the Post and the New York Times simply acted as cheerleaders for the war, instead of examining Bush's case for invading Iraq.
No doubt, the Post would rather see Conyers just fade away and once again become a below-the-radar, obscure member of Congress.
But something tells me that isn't going to happen. Whether other not the U.S. mainstream media gets on board, the Downing Street memo train has clearly left the station and is snowballing into the major news event of our era. The American people want to know the truth and if they can't get it from the mainstream media, they won't hesitate to get it from independent sites and bloggers on the Web.
Conyers and other brave voices in Congress are going to continue to pursue the truth on the Downing Street memo. And this effort has widespread public support: 560,000 Americans have thus far signed Conyer's petition that requests an official inquiry into questions that the memo raises.