March 1, 2006

Bride of Ball Is In Your Court, Democrats: the Final Cut

Hatched by Dafydd

Away back earlier, on February 9th, we posted Ball Is In Your Court, Democrats, in which we discussed the final vote on cloture for the renewal of the Patriot Act. Recall that the first time, four Republican senators -- Larry Craig (ID), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Chuck Hagel (NE), and the ringleader, John Sununu (NH) -- joined with 43 of the 45 Democrats (counting Jumpin' Jim Jeffords, I-VT) to vote against cloture, resulting in a filibuster that prevented a vote for renewal.

Surely we all recall Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Caesar's Palace) pumping his fist in the air and squealing "we killed the Patriot Act!" as all but a couple of his colleagues jumped up and down in excitement.

But soon, the concerns of the four renegade Republicans were addressed, and they agreed to allow the bill to go to a vote. Even though there were still enough Democrats to stop it, if they were brave enough to do so, Big Lizards predicted that they would turn tail... being unwilling to kill the popular anti-terrorism bill without the cover of a fistful of Republicans to share the blame. Here is what we wrote:

My prediction: one by one by one, Democrats will start announcing that they're going to vote for cloture; and the moment three have done so, the whole idea of a filibuster will be quietly dropped. Reid will proclaim that it would be futile, and a flood of Democrats will announce that they're against filibustering such an important bill.

But then at the actual vote, 25 Democrats will vote against cloture... including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Vista del Cowardly), after Cindy Sheehan threatens to re-enter the race she actually didn't enter the first time (and she'll once again misspell the senator's name).

Oh, wait, that's what happened with Alito. What the heck... it'll probably happen the same way this time.

So that was the prediction: that first there would be a veritable flood of Democrats insisting that they would no longer filibuster the Act; but then, when the final cloture vote came, most would sneak back and -- you're way ahead of me -- vote for the filibuster anyway.

This way, during the primaries, they can point to their final vote for a filibuster (red meat for the slavering MoveOn hordes)... and then, when the general election rolls around this November, they can point to their refusal to filibuster earlier (so as not to anger real Americans). This is sort of a John Kerryesque two-step: "we actually voted against the filibuster before we voted for it!"

But, we predicted, the Democrats would not have the forty-one votes necessary to prevent cloture.

Part one occurred on February 17th; from Ball Is In Your Court, Democrats - the Rest of the Story:

[A]ccording to the Washington Times (hat tip to Power Line), the total number of senators who voted against cloture on Thursday was -- drum roll -- three. All Democrats, of course.

So after a few minor tweaks that everyone, Democratic and Republican, agreed were largely "cosmetic," forty Democrats jumped and swam for their lives, leaving only filibuster king Russell Feingold (D-WI), 154 year old Sen. Robert Byrd (D-Cuckooland)... and of course Jumpin' Jim Jeffords (I-VT), marking one of the few times a rat has been caught swimming towards a sinking ship.

Part two fell out yesterday, when the Senate held the final cloture vote on the amended act... and aside from the snarky dig at Sen. Feinstein, our prediction came true almost exactly. After only three Democrats (rather, two Democrats and a Democrat wannabe) supported the filibuster on the 17th, by yesterday afternoon, that number swelled to thirty Democrats:

The Senate voted 69-30 Tuesday -- 60 votes were needed -- to limit debate and bring the legislation to a final vote. The Senate is expected to pass the measure as early as Wednesday, barring Democratic procedural maneuvers. The House then is expected to approve it and send the bill to Bush's desk next week.

We were pretty much on the nose... except we underestimated how many Democrats would rush to support the act right after the Republicans returned to the fold (we didn't think it would be all but three!) -- and we likewise underestimated how many would then try to "eat their cake and have it too" by going ahead and defiantly voting for the filibuster when it really counted: we expected twenty-five; it was actually thirty.

Those are close enough to Big Lizards' prediction, however, that we'll go ahead and claim the Political Magic 8-Ball Award anyway!

(As to the joke about Feinstein, if you want to count that as a prediction, it did not eventuate: according to the roll call, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) voted for cloture -- as did Joe Biden (D-DE), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), the Nelson tribe (NE and FL), and nine other Democrats. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) failed to vote; so it goes.)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 1, 2006, at the time of 4:38 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Cowgirl

Hmmm... very impressive, Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Cowgirl [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 1, 2006 5:49 AM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Big Lizards wins blogosphere's coveted Political Magic 8-Ball Award


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 1, 2006 12:52 PM

The following hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste

It turns out the vote was 89 to 10. Which is really weird.

If 89 senators were in favor of the bill, why was it even at issue? (As if I didn't already know.)

The No votes were: Jeffords (VT), Feingold (CA), Akaka (HI), Bingaman (NM), Harkin (IA), Leahy (VT), Levin (MI), Murray (WA) and Wyden (OR).

The above hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 2, 2006 2:47 PM

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