I'm about to quote one of those AP articles that, at the drop of a hat, can change and update and may, by the time you read this, not even say what it does right now. But when I awoke this morning, here's what I saw (my emphasis):
Democrats failing to pass anti-war billDemocrats are failing, failing to muster support? Look, every single Democrat supported the Webb amendment. Even Joe "I can't wait to attack Iran" Lieberman (technically an independent, I guess) supported it.
Democrats are unable to pass legislation that would challenge President Bush on the Iraq war, despite public opinion polls that show the war remains deeply unpopular with voters.
Failing to muster the support, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the war now belonged to Republicans and vowed they would have to go on record again and again as siding with President Bush. He scheduled a vote Friday on legislation by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., that would order combat troops home in nine months.
"Back home they assert their independence, but in Washington they walk in lockstep with the president and continue to support his failed policies," said Reid, D-Nev.
Friday's vote caps off a week of disappointing roll calls for the Democrats, who had hoped that more Republicans would have jumped on board by now. [. . .] On Wednesday, the Senate blocked legislation by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., that would have guaranteed troops more time at home; it fell by a 56-44 vote with 60 votes needed to advance. [. . .] Levin's bill too was expected to fall short of the 60 votes required, with Republicans saying they still oppose setting a firm deadline on the war.
Do you know what, this time last year, the press used to call it when every member of the majority party in the Senate voted for a bill but the bill didn't pass? A FILIBUSTER. This writer says that "60 votes [are] required." That's crap. It takes 51 votes to pass a bill in the Senate. It takes 60 votes to break a filibuster. The Republicans are filibustering!
This is the same press that, not that long ago, called Democrats obstructionist for filibustering--warned us how Republicans would have to invoke the "nuclear option" to eliminate the possibility of filibusters so that the holy and sanctified upperdownvote could happen on important matters.
Right now, the Republicans are refusing to grant the same sacred upperdownvote on matters that have overwhelming support among the American people. And who, according to the AP, is "failing" the American people? Democrats, the ones who had the 51 votes needed to pass the bills. As often as Democrats took the heat the last six years for filibustering anything, the Republicans are doing it three times as often and are getting away with it in the press!
The Republicans clearly don't want President Bush to be in the position of having to either sign or veto a piece of legislation like the Webb amendment. I do not know why they would want to protect a man with a 26% approval rating. Let him fall on his own damned grenades for a while. If he doesn't want to sign the bill, then let him veto it.
But more galling than the idea that popular Republicans would protect their unpopular president is the way that, in the press, the filibuster has apparently moved from earth-shattering, public will-obstructing evil to just the routine way of doing business. The way that the press is blaming Democrats for the failure of Republicans to get their heads out of their rears. The way the press seems to want to lay the continued deaths of American servicemen and women at the feet of Harry Reid.
Well, I suppose the media has blood on its own hands it may now be trying to get rid of, too.
Chart by McClatchy, via Kevin Drum.