Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

February 7, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

McCAIN AND THE GOP....By now, everybody knows that the Senate version of the economic stimulus bill failed to overcome a Republican filibuster yesterday. You need 60 votes for that, and the final tally was 59-40. (Harry Reid changed his vote at the end for parliamentary reasons, so the reported tally was 58-41)

Part of story here is that John McCain, alone among senators, failed to show up to vote, and his vote could have made the difference. Mr. Straight Talk apparently didn't want to risk conservative backlash by voting in favor of moving forward, but also didn't want to risk his beloved independent cred by joining a party line vote against it. So he stayed home. It was a real profile in courage.

Mocking McCain's pretensions is always worthwhile, but there's a much bigger point to make too. The differences between the Senate bill and the original House/Bush bill were pretty modest. The Senate bill changed the distribution of the tax breaks slightly, extended unemployment benefits a few weeks, and offered heating aid for the poor, along with a few goodies specifically designed to appeal to Republicans. The grand total of the changes amounted to $44 billion over two years. This is not a huge amount of money.

Now, it's obvious that everyone believes a stimulus bill of some kind is a good idea (the House bill passed nearly unanimously), so it's not as if anyone voted against the Senate version because they believe it's a fundamentally flawed concept. And since the last month's worth of economic news has been uniformly bad, no one who believes in stimulus has any real reason to balk at fattening up the package a bit. This wasn't a principled stand about letting the economy work things out on its own.

But what happened? Republicans filibustered the larger bill and then sustained the filibuster on virtually a party line vote. Why? Because it had a few billion dollars of spending targeted at Democratic priorities. There's nothing more to it.

The moral of the story is this: Republicans have no intention of ever working with Democrats on anything remotely like a bipartisan basis. Even on something as trivial as this, they filibustered and won. They will do the same thing next year no matter who's president. They will do it on every single bill, no matter how minor. They will never stop obstructing. Period. Presidential hopefuls, take note.

Kevin Drum 12:49 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (70)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Which means we should really focus on which candidate has the best coattails and can bring in the biggest majority.

Fortunately, this appears to be the same guy who says he wants to work across the aisle.

Posted by: Mark on February 7, 2008 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Hopefully presidential will take note. Will milquetoasty bloggers with centrist obsessions/fetishes do the same?

Posted by: None on February 7, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Ahh, Kevin, but then, Obama divided the five loaves and two fishes, and fed everybody a stimulus, and when they were done, his disciples gathered the remains, and there were five basketfuls of stimulus left.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 7, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

The moral of the story is this: Republicans have no intention of ever working with Democrats on anything remotely like a bipartisan basis.

Kevin, I think this would be accurate if Hillary Clinton was President. But if Barack Obama was President, it would be a different story. Unlike Hillary, Obama's a uniter not a divider. Obama's record of bipartisanship makes it possible for him to reach out to Republicans and independents in a way Hillary can't. He can arise above the fray and people will listen to him. I suggest you look at his website where he explains in detail how he can accomplish this task and achieve the same goals you want to achieve.

Posted by: Al on February 7, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

but the dems did get 8 republicans - if they can bump their count to 53-55 in the fall, then they can thwart some (if not all) of the filibusters. hell, they might not even need lieberman anymore!

Posted by: louchelife on February 7, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Which means we should really focus on which candidate has the best coattails and can bring in the biggest majority.

No, no, no! It means that we should run the most polarizing candidate, because if the Republicans won't cooperate with the Democrats then we should make sure that there are as many Republicans in Congress as possible. As a twofer, by increasing the turnout of the hard-core wingnuts (who would otherwise tend to stay home if the GOP candidate is McCain), we increase the chances of not having a Democrat in the White House at all. That will teach them not to cooperate.

On the other hand, to be fair to Hillary, if she does get elected I think her neo-con friendly foreign policy instincts will let her reach across the aisle more than people expect. She's already across the aisle on the torture issue, and she'll keep troops in Iraq indefinitely. That will win her some cred with the Republicans in congress.

Posted by: bobb on February 7, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm amused at the co-opting of Al to mimic the past ardent Bush-lovers. Well done, whomever you are.

Posted by: Boorring on February 7, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

It was a real profile in courage.

Ha! What a jerk.

And what a banana republic government we're turning out to have. I can't believe kids are being raised to look up to those Republican Senators. As far as I'm concerned, those guys are not doing the job they're there to do. Rather, they're on an anti-poor mission for the greedy rich and the huge corporations. We have to throw those crooks out.

Nice explanation of everything, Kevin.

Posted by: Swan on February 7, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

At long last, the Mittshegas ends.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

You beat me to it, frankly0. I think Huck does a lot better from here on in, maybe enough to get the VP nod from McCain.

Still think the Republicans are street pizza in the general, but this is probably the worst-case scenario for the Democrats this year.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on February 7, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Those damn Republicans always filibuster. And those lovable Democrats? Not so much-- as in never. These Democrats are incapable of fighting to win.

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on February 7, 2008 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - a quick question, (seriouly)

Might not it been better for the Dems to have just quickly passed the House bill with a slight alteration, then take a quick wack at it in conference. And then immediately bring up a sepaerate bill doing the other stuff thus getting kudos for quick action on the original and let the Repugs hold the bag for killing the second bill aiding the unemployed (includng many red staters), the elderly and disabled vetrans?

As it stands now, they lost yet another parliamentary move and will take a rap for delay.

Just curious.

Posted by: Keith G on February 7, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

We are all still buried in bull sh*t with no shovels in sight.

"If you don't deal with reality, reality will deal with you" - C.J. Campbell

Posted by: daCascadian on February 7, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see how Kevin's conclusion follows from his premise. Is Kevin claiming that there was no deal that could have been made that could buy off Republicans on this issue? No good deal? That they couldn't have been sweet-talked? That there's nothing Obama (or for that matter Hillary) could have done that the current Senate leadership didn't do?

I don't buy it. Maybe that is all true, but Kevin hasn't proven it.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on February 7, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Yep Swan, that somes it up nicely.

Quack, quack.

Posted by: Keith G on February 7, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

"The grand total of the changes amounted to $44 billion over two years. This is not a huge amount of money." --KD

"A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money." --Sen. Everett Dirksen

Posted by: Everett on February 7, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Just like I called it. And the clueless dems are lock-stepping behind Hillary Clinton, the Kerry of 2008.

McCain will be the next president if Hillary wins the nomination.

I'll tell you why I won't vote for Hillary-

-her support for the war

-she, along with the majority of the Dem Congress, kowtowed and caved in to Bush at every opportunity.

-she has not denounced Bush's unlawful expansion of executive branch powers, because she wants to use them for herself.

-it is not healthy for our democracy that were she to win tehhe presidency, a Bush or Clinton will have been in the White House since 1989.

Of course, most dems don't mind that, like they don't mind her curious silence against Bush's incursions of executive power.

I can't wait to say 'I told you so'.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on February 7, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

These Republicans are the same people Obama assures us he can work with. Wake up, Kevin. Obama is a confidence man.

Posted by: wb on February 7, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Everett: It's a tiny fraction of the Republican's tax giveaways to the wealthiest people in the country and to companies like record-profit-making ExxonMobil.

As for presidential candidates needing a reality check on Republican obstructionism, I think Clinton is already realistic about this. It's Obama, with his colossal ego, who thinks his ascendancy is going to prompt everybody to clasp hands and sing "We Are The World."

Posted by: sullijan on February 7, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

To claim that Republicans would not be cast under the magic spell of Obama is downright heresy. Obama will be able to sprinkle magic pixie dust and ask all the kiddies to clap as loud as they can and chant "I believe" and then everyone, republican and democrat, black and white, pink and purple will join hands and sing in peace and harmony in never-never-land.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 7, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Which means that it's not about who the Democratic nominee is, so much as can that nominee help in down ballot races. Who's the best net help to congressional and senatorial races?

Posted by: Keith on February 7, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Then, a disciple asked Obama how often he had to forgive an intransigent Republican.

"Is seven times enough?" the disciple asked.

"Nay, seventy times seven times," Obama replied

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 7, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

How come the Republicans were able to pass whatever they wanted when the number of GOP senators was not that much different? GOP never looked like a hapless group of Senators victimized by the big bad Democrats when the Republicans were in majority, no matter how thin.

There is something very wrong with the Democratic Party.

Posted by: gregor on February 7, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy on February 7, 2008 at 1:20 PM:

Obama will be able to sprinkle magic pixie dust and ask all the kiddies to clap as loud as they can..

Well, I can see that the new Obama-as-miracle-worker meme is moving right along, isn't it, Chrissy?

I'd like to think that people would take the likes of Jake Tapper and Joe Klein a little less seriously, due to how wrong and inflammatory they have been in the past...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 7, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

How come the Republicans were able to pass whatever they wanted when the number of GOP senators was not that much different?...There is something very wrong with the Democratic Party.

exactly my point. And Hillary, the John Kerry of 2008, represents the worst of the worst: Establishment Democrats. Better get used to the sound of President McCain.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on February 7, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I really hope Hillary or Barack presses him on this:

    Republican presidential candidate John McCain skipped a difficult Senate vote Wednesday on whether to make 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans eligible for rebate checks as part of a proposed economic stimulus package.

Posted by: cyntax on February 7, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I can see that the new Obama-as-miracle-worker meme is moving right along, isn't it, Chrissy?

I'd like to think that people would take the likes of Jake Tapper and Joe Klein a little less seriously, due to how wrong and inflammatory they have been in the past...

Chrissy offers the perfect example of why I dislike Hiallary's supporters even more than Hillary. It's her kind of thinking, along with Tapper and Klein, that underlies the behavior of a Democratic majority that catered to every whim of Bush on the things that most mattered.

And they wonder why we are so angry...

Posted by: slammin' sammy on February 7, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Where are Obama and Hillary on McCain's absence?

I am tired, really tired, of lapses such as this and view it as proof positive that they are consciously or subconsciously pro-Bush.

Given this, I might as well vote for McCain and get the real deal. While his militarism does sound alarming, the bottom line is that our foreign creditors, who actually pay for our military, are going to cut back the DOD finances in the reasonable future anyway.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on February 7, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

McCain will be an even worse president than W. Bush. He may motivate me to vote for the lesser evil.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK
I dislike Hiallary's supporters even more than Hillary….... slammin' sammy at 1:44 PM
It's far far easier to dislike Obama for the idiocies of his 'bamabot followers: those enlightened ones spouting panaceas of hope and bipartisanship and repeat old Republican smears and attacks while not supporting real solutions to people in need. Even among those, your obnoxiousness stands out. Posted by: Mike on February 7, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

you've my point all over again, Mike. Thanks for nothing. And I'm certainly not going to thank you for President McCain in 2008, but that's what we're going to get because of your obtuseness. Let me guess, you were also a Kerry man.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on February 7, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, one can vote against this piece of crap because it is a bad idea. I don't know how many Republicans voted against it for this reason, most likely none, but this reason has very considerable merit. I wish more people in the Senate or the House would come out and say that this stimulus will be ineffectual at best and harmful at worst.

It is just politicians needing to look like they are doing something useful, even when they aren't.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 7, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

I eagerly await the David Broder column on how the Republicans need to be more Bipartisan or face the wrath of the electorate.

I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: Hebisner on February 7, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

The Baracknits are lousy on these blog comments.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

"And what a banana republic government we're turning out to have."

Going to have? The names 'Bush', 'Clinton', 'Peron', or 'Kirchner' appear to mean nothing to you. Not to mention 'Gandhi' or 'Bhutto'--or 'Romney' or 'Kennedy'. We're already as big a laughingstock in terms of nepotism as Sri Lanka or Indonesia or Argentina. As a centrist, the thing that strikes me the most about this election cycle--aside from the delusional stridency--is the retrograde amnesia on both the Left and Right when it comes to last names.

Posted by: Hope Muntz on February 7, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Definitely the thing I dislike most about Clinton is that war vote, and her lack of apology for it.

But I don't quite buy Obama's promise to unite everyone with his charisma. I remember Hillary getting a lot of press after she was elected about how well she was able to work with Republicans in the Senate, though. Seems to me she could peel off some moderates and help avoid obstructionism.

Posted by: DanM on February 7, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

How did a post on McCain and Senate procedures turn so quicky into yet another (in a long row) "slam the other Dem candidate" (and supporters) attack fest?

I never thought banality would be an appropriate classification for these threads.

Too bad.

Posted by: Keith G on February 7, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure that the Republicans don't like the idea of doing deals with the Democrats, but having a Democratic president would change the equation substantially. At the moment, Bush gets to make veto threats and bluster against these microscopic changes, so the R's in the Senate go along. President Obama will be on the other side, and the Republican Senate minority will find themselves on the wrong side of public opinion even in their own states. What Obama offers is that he will show at least minimal signs of respect and cordiality to the Republicans; they can take it or leave it as they wish, but it's a better chance to pick off enough of them to put the current Republican stonewallers out of business as a controlling clique.

Posted by: Bob G on February 7, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I've noticed the "cases" being made by commenters for particular candidates rely heavily on caricature. Why is that?

Posted by: david on February 7, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Obama will massively influence the down-ticket results to reduce GOP influence in Congress.
Unfortunately exit polls show only 10 per cent of the Dem voters consider November's electability quotient a meaningful issue.
I wonder how that ten per cent voted, HC or BO?

Posted by: cognitorex on February 7, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Douchebag #1.

Posted by: hollywood on February 7, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Whether Hillary and Obama realize it or not, their absolutely crucial first order of business once they hit the White House is to get rid of the filibuster -- by any means necessary.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 7, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

abolish the filibuster. it's useless and anti- small "d" democratic. and in the long run it by definition serves the GOP. don't like progress? just filibuster. or with harry reid in charge, just threaten to filibuster.

besides to what tactical advantage have the dems used the filibuster in the last 7 years? blocking terrible sup. ct. nominees? nope. killing bush's tax cuts? no again. stopping the rush to war? that'd be another no.

I may be missing a few outliers (dodd's threat over telecom immunity comes to mind), but on balance, the filibuster has been useless for the democratic party.

why maintain the rule if the dems never filibuster? what liberal programs has the filibuster recently served?

while in the minority the senate dems couldn't do shit; in the majority, same result.

harry reid must have been a totally crappy boxer.

Posted by: mencken on February 7, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

McCain already has plenty of conservative backlash.

Posted by: McCain for President, or We're Really Screwed on February 7, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

The grand total of the changes amounted to $44 billion over two years. This is not a huge amount of money.

Chump change. I wonder why we are in debt with this kind of mentality. Gee. A mystery.

Posted by: Luther on February 7, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

From mencken:

why maintain the rule if the dems never filibuster

Never? Really?

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 7, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

DanM,

But I don't quite buy Obama's promise to unite everyone with his charisma.

Please provide a citation for this promise.

Posted by: Edo on February 7, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Duncan Kinder >"...the bottom line is that our foreign creditors, who actually pay for our military, are going to cut back the DOD finances..."

You are very delusional.

Those "foreign creditors" (east Asian gangsters essentially) will continue to pour money, such as it is, into any military adventure that the U.S.A. cares to take on. This allows the degradation of the U.S. military to the level of 3rd rate also ran as preparation for the dragon to come out from behind the curtain and strut out onto the main stage of global affairs as THE dominant power, see SCO.

Why would they not want to allow the U.S.A. military to destroy itself instead of having to fight on the battle field ?

The trap is set and the prey is making itself comfortable in the trap environment.

Sun Tzu is very, very happy & Halford Mackinder is shaking his head at the stupidity.

"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill" - Sun Tzu

Posted by: daCascadian on February 7, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

They will never stop obstructing.

They wouldn't dare do that to Obama! 'Cause Obama would say they were prejudiced, and then they would have to stop, lest they violate the Civility Rights Law of 1964!
Yup, Obama gonna role right over 'em!
And remember, Republicans are champions of traditional values! Like: "Never contradict a women" and "Gentlemen do not brawl in public"

So you see, whichever one wins, the Repubs don't stand a chance of obstructing anything!

If they tried, could you imagine what Oprah would say? Harsh!

The Republicans are done for! Hoistes by their own pet ardvaark!

Posted by: Mooser on February 7, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

I thought McCain was at a conference in Germany today - one he's attended annually for several years. And even if he did come back one of the Repubs in the 59 group would have been ordered to switch their vote to keep the filibuster in play. There are good reasons to be against McCain but this was kind of a cheap shot. And if we spend $44 Billion extra on Iraq next year, is that chump change?

Posted by: loki on February 7, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

it is not healthy for our democracy that...a Bush or Clinton will have been in the White House since 1989.

I never, ever heard this argument in 2000. Funny how now it suddenly matters.

Posted by: Vicente Fox on February 7, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

First time here, and right away I see trolls who come to smear HRC. Republicans don't want Hillary, they fear her. If commenters want to debate points for or against her or Obama then great, that's why we're here. But to you creeps who scream and shout anti-Hillary, go somewhere else. You are turds in a punchbowl.

Obama would make a good Vice President, will readily agree to the position (if in that position to make the judgement), is only 45, and in eight years will be first in line to extend the Democrat's hold on the Presidency. Hillary is about 61 and I believe unlikely to agree to the VP. Obama will have to find a VP, none of whom will be as powerful in winning the election. Repuglies know this, hence the anti-Hillary trolls populating our bloggs. I'm not saying this because I'm pro-Hillary or anti-Obama, I just want to clear the playing field.

Posted by: jimbo on February 7, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I intend to meet this resistance with a lot of audacious hope. That should take care of it.

Posted by: Grouchy on February 7, 2008 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats are absolutely horrible at spreading the "Republican obstructionist" meme. Harry Reid should announce that tomorrow he will reveal his transsexual lover's last name, and when all eyes are turned to him, reveal that "Republican's suck" and they are the reason there is no stimulus package.

Posted by: jvo on February 7, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans don't want Hillary, they fear her.

How does one fit such a belief into a reality-based worldview?

Hillary would energize the Republican base better than anyone else. If they end up with McCain as the candidate, their only hope for getting the wingnut vote is to get it as the anti-Hillary vote, because they sure won't get it as the pro-McCain vote.

Plus the probability that Bill will serve up a scandal again.

Plus the improbability of Hillary pulling in any significant fraction of the Republican vote, compared to Obama.

Posted by: bobb on February 7, 2008 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK
The moral of the story is this: Republicans have no intention of ever working with Democrats on anything remotely like a bipartisan basis. Even on something as trivial as this, they filibustered and won.

And they get away with it because there is zero reporting on their admitted obstructionism. Which, taken together with the coming economic doom and gloom stories, begs the question: If you have to choose an issue over which to break with the strategy of attempted bipartisanship... what would it be?

Personally I would say torture, disappearing e-mails, fired attorneys, attorneys that got to stay (with a fresh loyal bushy rating) and go after say a retired civics teacher(D) instead of a murderers(I), butchering FISA... etc, etc are all enough of a reason to point to when saying "thats why we don`t bother trying to work with you guys!"
http://www.harpers.org/subjects/NoComment

But, hey, if majorities cared about such stuff we wouldn`t be having this argument. However, "the GOP filibustered/obstructed even an emergency economic package, and now the economy is breaking down" might play a whole lot better with all those voters who say the economy is their nr1 worry.

And its not like the GOP is gonna look at the coming year and take revenge for it when its gonna get a new (democratic?!?) president to blame for everything in less than a year from now.

Its not like a better argument is gonna come along when Bush is willing to veto medical help for children just to save the party from having to filibuster it.

Posted by: yt on February 7, 2008 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

How come the Republicans were able to pass whatever they wanted when the number of GOP senators was not that much different?

In what world exactly did this happen? Is it the world where Social Security reform, ANWR drilling, and permanent tax cuts passed the Senate?

Posted by: Brian on February 7, 2008 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

The moral of the story is this: Republicans have no intention of ever working with Democrats on anything remotely like a bipartisan basis.

That's a shame because Democrats are so eager to with Republicans. Bipartisan must mean Republicans doing what Democrats want them to do.

Posted by: Brian on February 7, 2008 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Have you never noticed that McCain hasn't shown up for any vote in ages? We here in Arizona are well aware of it.

Posted by: Hanni on February 7, 2008 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! Mitt Romney drops out of the race and the Trolls go into a feeding frenzy.

This is better than the comedy channel.

Posted by: MEG on February 7, 2008 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

The moral of the story is this: Republicans have no intention of ever working with Democrats on anything remotely like a bipartisan basis. Even on something as trivial as this, they filibustered and won. They will do the same thing next year no matter who's president. They will do it on every single bill, no matter how minor. They will never stop obstructing. Period. Presidential hopefuls, take note.

Yeppers. Which is why the question I'd most like to ask both Sens. Clinton and Obama is:

"When 41 GOP Senators block cloture on your entire legislative agenda, how do you respond? What do you do differently, or ask the Senate Majority Leader to do differently, than has been done this year?"

Because they will obstruct everything until there's a serious cost to them for doing so. They don't care. They want to see government crash and burn under a Democratic President.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on February 7, 2008 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Mr. Straight Talk apparently didn't ... blah blah. So he stayed home"

Fer fuck's sake. Did you consider maybe he was busy? There's a campaign going on, heard about it?

Posted by: on February 7, 2008 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain, alone among senators, failed to show up to vote, and his vote could have made the difference. Mr. Straight Talk apparently didn't want to risk conservative backlash by voting in favor of moving forward, but also didn't want to risk his beloved independent cred by joining a party line vote against it. So he stayed home. It was a real profile in courage.

And in the fall, Clinton or Obama (whichever wins) can stick McCain with the blame for blocking the bill. Because, you see, the majority needs 60 votes for cloture, whether everyone's there or not. Due to that fact, there's no practical difference between showing up to vote against, and staying home.

Since McCain returned to DC in time to vote, he could have showed up and voted for the bill if he'd wanted to. He didn't. Therefore, he's just as guilty of blocking that bill as the 40 GOP Senators were who voted against cloture.

And Hillary/Obama can blame him for blocking the bill, without going into details, and leave McCain to explain why he isn't. Good luck, St. John.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on February 7, 2008 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

FINALLY THE REASON I DONT SUPPORT OBAMA COMES OUT!!!!

Whew. All that loud typing exhausted me.

There is no point in looking for a "biparty" when its obvious from stuff like this that the R's simply dont want to get anything done.

Its a -1 sum game. Everyone loses.

Thinking Obama can change this dynamic is stupid. I dont think Hillary will do much to change it, but I bet she would have a better chance.

Posted by: Chad on February 7, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK
Hillary would energize the Republican base better than anyone else….significant fraction of the Republican vote, compared to Obama. bobb at 6:40 PM
Clinton can withstand Republican smears better than anyone while Obama is a tabula rosa they can invent to their hearts content. All Democrats are anathema to Republicans. The notion that any significant percentage of the Republican base, which is racist at core, would vote for an African-American is delusional.
….Social Security reform, ANWR drilling, and permanent tax cuts passed the Senate? Brian at 7:17 PM
Was there ever a Social Security bill presented to the legislature? If Bush and the Republicans wanted permanent tax cuts, why didn't they make them that way from the getgo?
Bipartisan must mean Republicans doing what Democrats want them to do. Brian at 7:20 PM
For seven years, bipartisanship has meant getting a couple of Democrats to do what Bush wanted. Posted by: Mike on February 7, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Thinking Obama can change this dynamic is stupid. I dont think Hillary will do much to change it, but I bet she would have a better chance.

How??

First of all, votes are sometimes close and pulling a few votes over from the other side of the aisle is often enough. Who is going to do better at winning the close votes?

Second, and more importantly, what would make the biggest difference would be getting someone elected with coattails. HIllary has anti-coattails. She'll get the wingnuts to turn out in bigger numbers, increasing the chances of Republicans retaining seats.

Hillary supporters talk as if "bipartisan" means getting everyone to agree. That's not how it works, and they know it, but they pretend otherwise to distract people from the degree to which Hillary would do just the opposite.

Posted by: bobb on February 7, 2008 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this thread is just as depressing as one over at The Carpetbagger. Dems tearing one another limb from limb. I'm sure that will help us win in November. The following post seems to have calmed things down over at Steve's place; maybe it can do the same thing here.

My “hopes” are with Obama, that his unique (and it is unique) ability to walk into the lion’s den and get it to share its steak will work with the repubs. I really desperately hope for that, because that would be the best way for America to recover from these dark years.

But I also watched some of the Senate hearings today on the stimulus package and FISA, and listened to some of the very best and most eloquent Dems laying out in clear and measured prose why certain things are in the interests of America (not party) and why some are not in our interests, fully supported by the facts, with no hope whatsoever of gaining either reason or compromise from the other side. My head says that a President Hillary would be better at knocking heads, and marshaling Democratic resources to beat the repubs in a fight.

I don’t know, and neither does anyone else commenting here, which of the two would actually be better at moving our country forward again against the entrenched opposition that will still be too firmly in place. As Kevin said: “They will do the same thing next year no matter who’s president.”

But I do know that Hillary and Obama are both extremely talented, and that either of them would be light years ahead of McCain or any other repub.

Posted by: wvng on February 8, 2008 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

I'm curious about the down ballot argument. I understand that the CW is that a Clinton nomination will hurt down-ballot races because republicans will come out to vote who might have stayed home because Clinton is on the ballot and will not only vote for McCain but for whomever else is listed as an R on the ballot.

Yet Obama specifically campaigns on getting Rs to vote for him. So he's trying to bring Rs out to vote who, for all we know, will be ticket splitters. They think Obama is JC himself, but other Dems, not so much.

I'm not trying to incite anyone's anger, I truly don't understand how the down-ballot argument leads one to believe that Obama is better for down-ballot races.

Please explain.

Posted by: ally's gift on February 8, 2008 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Nuclear Option Now!!!

Posted by: Northern Observer on February 8, 2008 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly. It doesn't matter who "reaches across the aisle," the repuglicans will still tell them to go cheney themselves. Wanting to be bipartisan does not mean the repugs will join in. It seems pretty obvious the repugs intend to remain as partisan and obstructive as possible. The dems need the 60 vote majority to get anything done.

Posted by: crispy on February 8, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly