So the Republican filibuster of the Levin-Reed Amendment continues. Yes, traditional media, it is a Republican filibuster. The Republicans prevented the Levin-Reed withdrawal amendment from coming to a vote by insisting that it pass by a supermajority of 60 votes. No majority rule democracy for you, America! The new rule is that nothing important or controversial shall pass without the Democrats mustering 60 votes for it.
At the close of the cloture vote, in which all Dems (but the still-recovering Tim Johnson) and Bernie Sanders, plus GOPers Collins, Hagel, Snowe and Smith voted to end debate and all other GOPers plus Lieberman-for-Lieberman voted No (and Harry Reid voted Yes, but changed his vote to be able to ask for reconsideration), Reid asked for unanimous consent to consider 5 measures with bipartisan support, including not only Levin-Reed but the toothless Salazar and Warner measures, and minority leader ""Ditch Mitch" McConnell of Kentucky, doing his David Spade impression, said "No."
At that point Harry Reid pulled the Defense Authorization Bill and went on to the Homeland Security Bill. Reid asked that the Chair (Levin) and ranking member (McCain) of the Armed Services Committee cut the bs and reach agreement on amendments and procedure for bringing the bill to a vote, including up-or-down votes on Levin-Reed and the other Iraq amendments. If Reid follows through, no up-or-down vote, no bill. No bill, no money.
This is a good strategy, even though the lazy and spineless press cannot bring themselves to accurately report that it is the Republicans who are stalling by insisting on a 60-vote margin to even bring the bill up. There is really no need to rush the Defense Bill. It won't take effect until October 1, and they already cut a deal in May to fund the war through then at least. They can wait for the Senators to go home and talk to the home folks and wait for General Petraeus to tell us how things are in Glockamora--excuse me, Iraq--and whether the surge is working or we need to continue the surge by extending the already-extended-to-15 months tours of duty to 30 months so Bush can leave office without facing the consequences of leaving Iraq.
Kagro has ably shown the limits of legislation to change war policy in the post below. But every time there is a vote, those 22 GOP Senators have to make a decision whether to stand with their constituents or stand with their King and his Rasputin. In between there will be time for visits, calls, demonstrations, contributions to their challengers, billboards, editorials and all the other activities you will find here. Maybe come October, if Harry Reid does not capitulate and ask for a continuing resolution to extend funding, Bush/Cheney will find that the Unitary Executive can't pass budget legislation. We can test their ability to move funds around. We can see what happens in Iraq, good or bad, in September, and after.
We can't know the outcome. But there comes a time when the Democratic Congress simply has to take a stand, do what's right, explain its position as best it can, let Bush/Cheney make their moves and just play the hand out. Impeachment, as several of us have been saying, is the Founders' remedy for a runaway executive. Sooner or later, it has to be invoked or Bush/Cheney will run this country over the cliff, whether by war with Iran, a move that spooks the financial markets, locking up critics of the war, martial law, whatever. And if the Dems haven't taken and maintained a strong stand against this tyranny, history will not look any more kindly on them than on Bush/Cheney. It's what in auto accidents is called the "last clear chance" rule. If you could have done something to stop the accident and didn't, it was your fault as much as the bad driver's.
So I apoligize to the Democratic party fundraiser who had the misfortune to call me just as I was starting this post and got an earful. But as I told her, it's Time for Impeachment. No more money to prolong the war. None. Thanks. Harry Reid. Keep up the good work.