It Has Come to This

Thirty three Republican Senators decided just past midnight on Friday to play politics instead of voting for cloture on the annual Pentagon budget, a measure that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and provides for the welfare of men and women in uniform who are serving their country. They chose this path not because they took issue with the defense bill, though Senator McCain of Arizona complained the bill was pork-laden, but because as Senator Brownback of Kansas put it "I don't want health care." Had we pulled a stunt like that, we would this morning have been accused of the most villainous and vile treason. I won't stoop to such rhetoric but I will call them petty. It was a shameful ploy. I will note that three Republicans did vote for cloture: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine and Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

Senator Robert Byrd Getting Wheeled In to Vote

The story in the Washington Post:

On a 63 to 33 vote, Democrats cleared a key hurdle that should allow them to approve the must-pass military spending bill Saturday and return to the health-care debate. After years of criticizing Democrats for not supporting the troops, just three Republicans supported the military funding.

The maneuvering came as Democrats were still trying to secure a crucial vote on the health-care legislation. Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), the last holdout in the Democratic caucus and the focus of an intense lobbying campaign by White House officials, rejected an abortion compromise aimed at bringing him on board. Nelson has said he would not support the package unless it explicitly bars use of federal money for abortion services.

If Nelson's support can be locked up by Saturday, Democrats are hopeful that they will be able to begin clearing the parliamentary hurdles that would allow final passage of their version of the legislation by Christmas Eve. That would meet their self-imposed deadline to begin negotiating with House Democrats to craft a final version of the bill to send to the president early next year.

Republicans have said their goal is to delay the bill and force Senate Democrats to go home and face their constituents, hoping for some supporters of the measure to return after New Year's too fearful to back the legislation.

If the filibuster on the $626 billion defense bill had succeeded, Democrats would have had to scramble to find a way to fund the military operations, because a stopgap funding measure for the Pentagon will expire at midnight Friday. Such an effort to come up with another stopgap defense bill might have disrupted the very tight timeline on health care.

Unsure of any GOP votes, the Democrats were required to deliver all 60 members of the caucus to forestall the GOP's delaying tactics. Even Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a vocal opponent of the war, voted for cloture and Senator Byrd was wheeled in for the vote.

Tags: Afghanistan, Filibuster, GOP, Iraq, Pentagon Spending Bill, US Senate (all tags)

Comments

54 Comments

Re: This would be

an ideal moment and just the place for those who think Obama is a failure to remind us of how he could (if he wanted) bend the Senate Bill to our idealistic perfection. (All evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.)

by QTG 2009-12-18 07:39AM | 0 recs
Re: This would be

You are purposely making people's arguments look silly by accusing them of saying things they are not "he could bend the Senate Bill to our idealistic perfection"

you know that nobody is saying that.

listen, if we saw Obama even trying to pressure the blue dogs at all instead of twisting progressive arms, that would probably be enough for most of us.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: This would be

Oh, I think that the hyperbolic rhetorical hand-wringing and vociferous vows to "never vote for a Democrat" who votes for the Bill, along with the resurrection of the primary wars, etc. amounts to pretty much the same thing. There has been little separation between the realities in the Senate and the fantasies of Obama's role. The opposition to the Bill has roundly ignored the problems of the Senate's procedural hurdles and the difficulties arising from the seniority of Conservadems which gives there ilk more influence than their numbers alone would justify.

I think this thread is a great place to set the record straight.

by QTG 2009-12-18 07:53AM | 0 recs
Just because you don't see it

Doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I'm not defending Obama here, but I feel there is a real rush to judgment in the absence of evidence, and a resulting lack of creative solutions.

Did Obama simply give the blue dogs what he wants to spite progressives? Possibly. Did Obama try everything he could but realize that they would simply balk at HCR and sink any and all efforts? Possibly.

There is evidence of missteps Obama made, but I don't see any evidence there was some collusion with the blue dogs.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-18 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

whether or not what you say is correct about collusion with the blue dogs, that does not excuse blatantly dishonest arguing tactics like accusing those disagreeing with you of saying something they are not saying, and then attacking that made-up argument. That's what he did.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

I did not.

by QTG 2009-12-18 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

ok, then please find a single quote from somebody on here saying:

"how [Obama] could (if he wanted) bend the Senate Bill to our idealistic perfection."

go ahead, I'll wait.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

It's a fair paraphrase. Take it or leave it.

by QTG 2009-12-18 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

no, it is not a fair paraphrase.

I haven't seen one single person suggest that Obama could get an "ideologically perfect" bill if he wanted.

those are your words.

You are mischaracterizing people's arguments to try to bolster your own.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

I see it differently, but fail to see why you can't let it drop as something we can agree to disagree upon. Just as what you and many others characterize as failures I see as just the normal result of the legislative process, a process I'll remind you that is ongoing. And a process, as is illustrated by this very diary, is about the Senate.

Exclusively.

by QTG 2009-12-18 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

yes, but you don't have to mischaracterize what we are saying.

most of us still supported this thing when they initially took single payer off the table

most of us still supported this thing when they dropped a strong PO in favor of a weak one

most of us still supported this thing when they dropped the weak PO in favor of medicare expansion

some people were ok with a sufficiently strong trigger, etc.

so don't you dare try to tell us that we are b!tching because this thing isn't "ideologically perfect". that is a will mischaracterization of what people have been saying.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

So, do you support continuing the Legislative Process which will bring the House and Senate Bills to the Conference Committee so that a Bill can be crafted which will be neither one nor the other? Or are you with Howard Dean and 'Kill Billers'? (Who, btw, share the same goal as the GOPers for all practical purposes)

by QTG 2009-12-18 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

i see, try to deflect your mischaracterization of our arguments with questions.

that's yet ANOTHER dirty arguing technique

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

Simple question you should be happy to answer.

Kill it now or proceed to passage?

I say proceed.

What do you say?

by QTG 2009-12-18 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

you are trying to change the subject away from your false assertion of what are argument is re: mad at obama because he didn't get an "ideological perfect" bill.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoratio_e lenchi

"A "red herring" is a deliberate attempt to divert a process of enquiry by changing the subject."

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Let's see

I retract everything I ever said about the treatment that Obama has received anywhere in the entire Universe and alternate Universes, and any accusations based on my misperception on my part as regards criticism of him by anyone here or elsewhere ever in my entire life. The man has been fairly judged by everyone and I offer my sicerest apologizes for any harm I may have caused with my lies and inuendo.

Now, give me an answer.
 Kill the Bill or let the process continue?
Where do you stand?

Put your cards on the table.

by QTG 2009-12-18 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Let's see

i've said this on a number of occasions. kill the bill if they try to push it through like this.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 11:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Thank-you

Now, the point I and others have tried to make in one way or another is:

The Senate Bill is not the final Bill unless it is killed, because...
 a final Bill requires that there actually be a bill from the Senate to go to Conference. What will come out of conference depends on passage of a bill from the Senate. What gets killed if the Senate Bill is killed can't actually be known, because it is the product of the Conference that matters. So,

Please....

Keep your powder dry. Don't go off half-cocked. There will be plenty of time to shoot at a real target but right now one doesn't exist.

by QTG 2009-12-18 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

Single payer was never on the table.

The fate of the PO was pretty much known after the SFC votes on the Rockefeller and Schumer amendments. Ofcourse even then few of us thought Lieberman would be such a dick, how wrong we were.

by vecky 2009-12-18 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

and some point, single payer was ruled out.

that didn't keep us from supporting health care reform or obama

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

Single payer was ruled out in the primaries.

I am however sad that Bernie Sanders didn't get his vote (though it wasn't pure single-payer) and the House vote also didn't happen. Be nice to know how much support there was for it.

by vecky 2009-12-18 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

yes, it was ruled out int he primaries (although presidents do sometimes break campaign promises)

but we still supported him. Therefore, QTG is wrong about the supposedly needed "ideological purity"

that's the point.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

Kill or continue?

by QTG 2009-12-18 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

On the other hand, I've seen several postings that assert he could have gotten a better (if not ideological perfect) bill, but no one has been able to explain to me how. "Leadership" seems to be enough to get the GOP to cave, apparently.

I find your earlier comment quite telling -- maybe we would all feel better if Obama had driven a harder line and this process had therefore ended much sooner (either when SFC failed to report the bill, or when the Thanksgiving-week vote failed). I'm not sure that us feeling better and moving on is the best policy, though.

by fsm 2009-12-18 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: You observation is spot on

and the growing consensus in the blog-dream-world seems to be that it would have been much better to have the process end with a Utopian solution dead months ago, and the ball kicked down the road for our grandchildren to pick up. Thank goodness the Senate is keeping this battered bill alive.

THAT'S why Dean is insane, but not lonely.

by QTG 2009-12-18 09:11AM | 0 recs
Re: You observation is spot on

no, we think it had a better change of getting something worthwhile. that's all.

listen, if you decide to give into all the demands of somebody who want to kill any real reform (Lieberman), then what you get is real reform killed. There just keep being more demands until the bill is so watered down that it is a giveaway to insurance companies.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: You observation is spot on
 OK, if I hear you correctly, you are either:
a.happy the bill is still alive
b.unhappy the bill is still alive
c.unhappy that anybody is happy about the bill being alive
d.unhappy that the bill isn't much better and still alive
e.convinced that the bill is worse than no bill
f.sad that the bill isn't better, and mad at anybody who considers for a moment that things aren't as dire as you see them
g. all of the above
h. none of the above
by QTG 2009-12-18 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

they think it is possible that he could have gotten a better bill, and that they at least would like to have seen him try.

are you arguing that the WH can't have any effect on the bill? I don't want to put words into your mouth, so tell me if that is not correct.

i think that there are ways they could have pressured a few holdouts, including withholding pet pork projects, publically calling them out, etc.

but even if you think the WH can't have any effect at all, they should still be facing the correct way on this.

it is quite frankly infuriating to see them apply those pressures to those who want a real reform bill and coddle those who want to give our money to for-profit insurance companies or kill any real reform outright.

the WH has been working against strengthening the bill.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 09:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Quite frankly infuriating

 The WH has helped to keep the Bill alive. IT'S ALIVE!

by QTG 2009-12-18 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Quite frankly infuriating

indeed it is, and obama's political stock is rising as a result - did anyone notice that when they dropped and declaimed the idea that they made a deal with joe lieberman, obama's popularity shot up?

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-18 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

I'm not arguing the WH can't affect the bill. Clearly some senators (Landrieu) can be persuaded with pork; others (Lincoln) can be strong armed in other ways. The WH has, in fact, moved some reluctant senators to our side.

I'm arguing that isn't enough to get us to 60; nothing the WH can do is going to move Lieberman to vote for a PO or Medicare expansion. But I seem to be in the minority on that position in a world (at least on mydd) where the majority think all Obama had to do was make no compromises and somehow all 60 votes would magically appear.

So they could be strengthening the bill and facing the "correct" way on this, or they can deal with reality and try and get a bill through. If you think the resultant bill is worse than the status quo and should be rejected, I have no problem with that argument (I'm not completely sure, actually, which side of that debate I'm on, and clearly the WH believes its still an improvement over the status quo).

But the idea that I can't accept is that all Obama had to do is try harder and we'd have gotten a better bill. Tell me what he could have done to Lieberman to get him to vote for a PO, for example, and I'll change my mind.

by fsm 2009-12-18 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

"But the idea that I can't accept is that all Obama had to do is try harder and we'd have gotten a better bill. Tell me what he could have done to Lieberman to get him to vote for a PO, for example, and I'll change my mind."

sorry, but that is not the argument I (or anybody else I am aware of) am making.

We simply wanted him to work FOR real health care reform, and not AGAINST it.

When you make the decision to give in to all the demands of somebody who want to kill any and all meaningful health care reform, then that's what you get - killing any and all meaningful health care reform.

You guys are so sure with your crystal balls that there was no amount of strong-arming that could have gotten leiberman (or snow for that matter) to vote for cloture. they have nothing they want, and there's no place to pressure or leverage, like the pork they bring in, not getting called liars outright in public speeches by the president, etc.

but we don't know, because this president is only interesting in twisting progressive arms and coddling ass-hats like leiberman.

it infuriating that this WH keeping attacking progressives while constantly turning the other cheek regarding the so called "moderates"

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 10:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

Let's see.. first you say you're not making the argument that Obama could have gotten Lieberman to vote for the bill somehow. And then you say the president is only interested in twisting progressive arms and coddling ass-hats like Lieberman.

You're right; I don't know how anyone might have come to the conclusion in the first statement given your second statement. How silly of me.

And I am not so sure that there is no amount of strong-arming that could have gotten Lieberman or Snowe to change positions. For this third time in this topic, I'll say that I'm open to hearing about something he might have done and I'll change my mind.

Until such time as that argument is made, however, I'll continue to believe that the only way to move the bill forward and to get at lat some reform is the path that we are presently on, and that our side has done just about what was possible given the cards we were dealt.

by fsm 2009-12-18 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

good luck.

by QTG 2009-12-18 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Just because you don't see it

"Let's see.. first you say you're not making the argument that Obama could have gotten Lieberman to vote for the bill somehow. And then you say the president is only interested in twisting progressive arms and coddling ass-hats like Lieberman."
__

first, those things can both be true. one does not preclude the other.

for the rest of your post,

i've been saying over and over and over some things he could do. threaten to kill king joe's favorite pork projects (i.e. find something joe in is love with re: Israel that is not even a good idea anyways and threaten him.

get obama on tv with a big sign saying how much money king joe is getting from the companies he's protecting - better yet, open an ethic investigation, etc

there are a number of ways they could apply pressure.

will it work? i don't know. is it even likely? maybe not.

but what should be OBVIOUS is that if you decide to just tell him you will give him whatever he wants, you get no reform because that is what he wants. this is especially true after you have proof that he will renege on any promises he makes.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 11:56AM | 0 recs
This is a good example why we should do it right

What this shows, is that the dems are not asleep at the switch. And it bodes well for the dems.

Speaking as an indie, that voted for Obama + also the dems in 2008, what I like is that the dems are unified.

Clearly, the Democratic party is unified on the issue of single payer healthcare. All you have to do is do a rough review of the comments, and posts here at myDD. What was shown here is the power that this unification can wield.

Now is not the time for compromise, but rather, action.

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-18 09:53AM | 0 recs
Nobody SAW

LBJ trying to strong arm Southern Senators, nobody saw him threaten A. Willis Robertson and Wilbur Mills with primary challenges, nobody saw him threaten J. William Fulbright or George Smathers. No one saw these things, we found this out years later.

by ND22 2009-12-18 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Nobody SAW

Obama as the reincarnation of Johnson. Rightly so, he ran as the antithesis to Johnson.

by QTG 2009-12-18 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Nobody SAW

True enough, the main reason being had those things gotten public then it would have backfired.

Not to mention even Johnson didn't get 60 votes from his own party. How easy is it for Obama to strong arm Lieberman, who campaigned for his opponent, or strong arm Nelson, who'se only constituency is the Catholic Bishops?

by vecky 2009-12-18 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Nobody SAW

"How easy is it for Obama to strong arm Lieberman"

i absolutely agree that it is not easy.

however, running to let a guy who's goal is to kill all meaningful reform dictate the terms is even less likely to get meaningful reform.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 10:24AM | 0 recs
The deciding votes

get to dictate the terms...In LBJ's era, the deciding votes were liberal Republicans, nowadays they're conservative Democrats.

LBJ let Everett Dirksen, the Republican Leader of the Senate, rewrite the entier Civil Rights Bill to please Nebraska Republican Senator Roman Hruska.

by ND22 2009-12-18 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The deciding votes

Nebraska... what is with that state. Always a pain in the but.

by vecky 2009-12-18 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: It Has Come to This

Interesting that 4 Republicans chose to try and have it both ways -- by not voting, they can't be accused of not funding the troops. But that doesn't change the hurdle that the Democrats had to overcome either.

Every time I think how much better our party could be, I'm reminded how much worse things could be. Hopefully those who aren't energized about future elections will have opportunities like this to reconsider.

by fsm 2009-12-18 07:46AM | 0 recs
Re: It Has Come to This

Inhofe was in Copenhagen. Don't know about the others.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-18 07:56AM | 0 recs
Re: It Has Come to This

Inhofe was in Copenhagen? Talk about a turd in the punchbowl!

by QTG 2009-12-18 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: It Has Come to This

And he was completely ignored.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-18 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: It Has Come to This

which is good on the one hand.

however, when it's a Democrat in another country opposing a GOP president, the Dem doesn't get ignored; instead, it becomes a "controversy" in the media about whether the Dem committed treason.

by jeopardy 2009-12-18 08:48AM | 0 recs
Re: It Has Come to This

 Or when a certain someone is awarded a prize he didn't covet, he's accused once more of 'arrogance' - paraphrasing.

by QTG 2009-12-18 09:14AM | 0 recs
Just how hard it is to break a GOP fillibuster

Even for something as pointless and trivial as delaying funding the troops so that we don't get healthcare reform. Imagine how hard it is when it's the real deal.

May G0d be with Harry Reid next week...

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-18 08:02AM | 0 recs
Re: It Has Come to This

" I will note that three Republicans did vote for cloture: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine and Senator Susan Collins of Maine. "

You should also note they only voted cloture after all Dems had voted to 60. If Byrd was missing (he is 92 and it was 1 am) do you think they would have voted thus?

The level of partisanship is astounding.

by vecky 2009-12-18 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: It Has Come to This

I didn't know that. Thanks.

I did wonder what led Susan Collins to change her vote because I had read yesterday that she was voting against cloture.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-18 10:11AM | 0 recs
Olympia Snowe probably

Collins does whatever she does most of the time.

by ND22 2009-12-18 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: It Has Come to This

You know I hope everything SNowe and Collins have been saying all along is one big bluff, just to protect themselves from the right.

Hopefully once the senate bill comes to the floor sometime next week they vote for cloture and give Nelson a big STFU.

by vecky 2009-12-18 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: It Has Come to This

I actually called my senator, John Cornyn, and talked to a staff member. She tried to blame it on the Democrats, then was hoping I didn't support health care reform and said he was trying to block that. She said Democrats voting on funding for the troops was bad for the troops. I kid you not.

I don't think progressives are giving Republicans a bad enough time for behavior. I also called Cornyn's office over the rape amendment he voted against. His staff said he supported rape victims, too.

Call these as@holes. They think nobody is paying attention.

by Lolis 2009-12-18 10:59AM | 0 recs

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