UPDATE: Stevens unmasks himself!
Looks like there will be no surprises in the search for the "secret hold" Senator. A consensus is forming that the chief suspect, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), is blocking the "Google for government contracts" bill out of revenge for Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) successful campaign to defeat the "Bridge to Nowhere". The guys at TPM Muckraker, and a helpful reader, have pulled up a Fort Smith (Ark.) Times Record article from Aug. 18th which labels Stevens as the holder. Coburn also accuses Stevens of being the holder. Over at Redstate diarist Erick writes, "Last week, I called every senator’s office," except for the five chief cosponsors, and "only one would not give me a definitive "no."" That office was Sen. Stevens’ office.
Think Progress runs with the headline "Caught Red-Handed" and lists some of Stevens more egregious activities in securing funds that he might not want popping up in a government contracts database. My favorite: "Stevens earmarked $450,000 to research baby food made from salmon". A recommended diary at Daily Kos also pins the blame on the septugenarian Senator from Alaska, "Steven’s is putting personal revenge before the publics right to know where their money goes. Well that and a public record of Steven’s pork projects would probably be rather embarassing for him. Hell even the GOP’ers are tired of him."
So far, the Porkbusters site and TPM Muckraker have not definitively stated that Stevens is the "secret hold" Senator, he still remains in competition with three others, but for all intents and purposes it looks like this case is solved. Certainly calling up those remaining Senators to make sure that they aren’t the offender couldn’t hurt either. Check out the Porkbusters logo on the right-hand side to go and finalize this.
The left-right blogosphere partnership gets an analysis by William Beutler (of the Hotline’s Blogometer) at his blog, Blog P.I. Beutler calls it a "curious bipartisanship":
For one thing, this is the sort of thing TPM Muckraker and site overseer Josh Marshall do all the time — the right-blogosphere doesn’t pursue investigations quite so often (the most successful have been one-shots like the exposure of fraudulent Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj). … Indeed, the campaign is not especially partisan in nature, but fundamentally anti-insider in nature. If the PorkBusters bloggers can keep its momentum going in the next several months, with conservative blogs challenging Republicans and liberal blogs going after Democrats, it will reinforce the presumed anti-incumbent tenor of the midterm elections.
That sounds about right to me. It’s not just both sides of the political spectrum, but most Americans, who are sick of the tinted windows and closed doors that not only keeps them from seeing what their government is up to, but keeps them from fully participating in the political process. How can the sovereign rule if they can’t know what’s going on? Sen. Stevens, out of petty revenge, is standing in the way of that very principle.