At TalkingPointsMemo, David Kurtz reports
that Senate Republicans used filibusters to kill three
- A full voting House member for the District of Columbia - and one more for Utah
- Restoration of Habeas Corpus for enemy combatants
- The Webb Amendment on troop rotations
Kurtz also notes the McClatchey report
from July which extrapolates the number of GOP filibusters by the end of this Congress, predicting an almost threefold increase from the previous high. Technically what we're dealing with is a "threat" to filibuster, but the result is the same, since Harry Reid is unwilling to force the "debate" the GOP keeps threatening to have. And as a thought experiment, try to remember the reaction in the media when the Democrats "threatened" a filibuster. Do you remember the hysteria? It's not the media's fault; it's because the GOP not only called the Dems on their threat but also flooded the airwaves with their side of story.
This is yet another example of weak leadership in the Democratic party. Harry Reid is a skilled tactician, but he and almost every other Democratic politician in DC still run scared from the GOP Bogeyman. Americans hate the war in Iraq and they pretty much hate George Bush, but the Democrats still refuse to stand up to Bush and the GOP.
If the Democrats would just go ahead and force the GOP to actually filibuster, they would win in the court of public opinion. The more President Bush's actual policies and ideas get aired, the less Americans like them. Let the Republicans filibuster, and while they're reading from the phone book, go on TV and talk about how all the Democrats want is for soldiers to have a few months with their families before going back to Iraq. All Democrats want is for the law to apply the way it always has.
It's clear through these and other (non)actions that DC Democrats don't pay any attention to polls. They don't really pay attention to their constituents. DC Democrats pay attention to consultants, and Democratic consultants have been selling themselves as saviors to a doomed political movement for decades now. If the Democrats are not
a minority of voters, not
on the fringes of American opinion, not
in danger of complete irrelevancy, if the GOP is not
an almost invincible political force, then the Democratic consultant business model breaks down.
The White House report on Iraq, delivered by Gen. Petraeus, didn't do anything to change public opinion on the war. George Bush's latest speech didn't do anything to change public opinion on the war, except to perhaps bring it down further, since every time he gets on TV people like him less. Americans hate this war. They want it to end. Politically speaking, if Congressional Democrats would just force the issue by sending the same timeline-ridden bill to Bush over and over and over again, if they would refuse to grant any more supplemental spending, if they would just force the GOP to actually filibuster instead of "threaten" it, the Democrats would set themselves up for electoral success like no one has ever seen.
But a culture, a worldview, is hard to change. And it seems like there is no more entrenched culture than the dystopian insularity reigning supreme over Washington, DC's pundits and politicians.