FDL recaps. Cloture failed 48-45, or by 12 votes. Somewhere in there, Republicans have to pick up 12 Senators willing to put the profits of the phone companies above the privacy of American citizens. Reid, who weeks ago would have been happy to let this one slide, has now been forced to co-opt a position of outrage, hanging it on the fact that Republicans weren’t allowing amendments to the bill. I’m not complaining; whatever gets him there gets him there.
The mushy middle, the Democrats who always end up screwing us over, who disappoint us time and time again by voting for bad legislation in the name of “bipartisanship” or who just plain don’t show up on big days, turned out in a big way today. Only three Dems crossed the line to vote with Republicans: Nelson of
Florida Nebraska, Mark Pryor, and Mary Landrieu Blanche Lincoln. They’re due a phone call, a fax, an e-mail, telling them they let us down.
You know who didn’t let us down? Our presidential candidates. Yeah, they probably were gonna be in town for the SOTU anyway, but they could have mucked around till the last minute, missed the vote, voted the other way to get this out of the way and avoid dealing with the inevitable “You voted against the Protect America Act!” bullshit on the campaign trail. It wasn’t in their interests to show up today, but it was in ours, and they showed up. Good on them. If you haven’t given a little scratch to your fave lately, I’d throw him or her a couple bucks with a note telling them way to go.
And let’s not forget the man who started it all with a simple “hold” on the bill because a bunch of people from web sites called his office and asked nicely. Who then picked up this ball and ran all the way down the field with it, and still isn’t giving it up, long after it might seem convenient to do so:
“This? This represents the amount of resistance Republicans have to my stunning powers of ass-kicking. That’s what this is.”
I’ve objected passionately to retroactive immunity—but I did not shut out debate. Republicans have frozen the Senate since debate began last week. And they unwittingly created a perfect microcosm of retroactive immunity right here in this body. Because both flow from the same impulse: shutting down the organs of government—the courts, or the Senate—when you are afraid you won’t get your way. That’s why President Bush wants his favored corporations saved from lawsuits.
Keep those calls and faxes going. We won an important fight today and sent a message to Republicans: This far, just this far, no more. To hold onto that is going to take some reminding senators, especially our Bush Dog friends, that while the phone companies won’t have their backs when the time comes, we will.