The story and headline was front-page, above-the-fold, upper right corner (in descending order of size/boldness):
EFFORT TO SHIFT COURSE IN IRAQ FAILS IN SENATE
G.O.P. MINORITY PREVAILS
Vote Ends Democratic Bid to Alter Leave Plan for Troops
Not perfect, but at least they addressed two major points without having to read the details of the story. In fact, given the strategy actually employed by the Democrats, they cannot complain about this story much. The NYT notes right up front that a GOP minority blocked the bill, and that it was a Democratic plan. I'd have preferred a headline like "GOP Minority Blocks Democrat's Plan to Stop Screwing the Troops" but saying an effort was made and failed was better than some lines I've seen. Let's read on (emphasis mine):
A proposal that Democrats put forward as their best chance of changing the course of the Iraq war died on the Senate floor on Wednesday, as Republicans stood firmly with President Bush.
With other war initiatives seemingly headed for the same fate, Senate Democrats, who only two weeks ago proclaimed September to be the month for shifting course in Iraq, conceded that they had little chance of success.
They said their strategy would now focus on portraying Republicans as opposing any change and on trying to chip away support for the White House as the war continued.
The proposal that failed Wednesday fell 4 votes short of the 60 needed to prevent a filibuster and would have required that troops be given as much time at home as they had spent overseas before being redeployed.
There were 56 votes in favor, including 6 Republicans — one fewer than the 7 Republicans who joined the Democrats in July, when the measure, by Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, also fell 4 votes short
First of all, stop "conceding." Period. Ahead of time…After the fact…Fuck that noise. That's a giant "we don't really mean it" signal to Bush and the GOP—and your own constituents.
The key here is above in bold—this is where the Democrat's own strategy fails them—twice. Not only do they lose the vote, they lose the news cycle as well. While it's made clear in this story Republicans are at fault for the bill "dying on the floor" this was never really brought to a vote. This was NOT and up-or-down vote on the proposal, it was a vote to end debate. The Republicans won despite being outvoted by 13, because the Democrats let them. I've already covered this ground:
Because Reid isn't making the Republicans "filibuster" anything. He counts heads and has a cloture vote, which brings debate to an end artificially, and they move on to the next item. Bullshit. MAKE. THEM. ACTUALLY. FILIBUSTER. Make these assholes actually go to the podium and speak. I don't care if they argue their positions or read the phone book, make them earn it. Reid is letting them off easy with an "implied" filibuster. Fuck that.
That's exactly what happened here. All that happened was the Democrats fell short of the 60 votes to prevent a filibuster and end debate. What does Harry Reid do? Throws up his hands and calls it a day. THAT IS FUCKING BULLSHIT! Caving because the Republicans say they are going to prevent the vote and continue debate is exactly what Reid and the Dems should want. As I said in June, MAKE. THEM. ACTUALLY. FILIBUSTER.
Want to cut past the non-stop O.J. coverage and make sure everyone knows what's happening? Make Republicans take to the podium for 24 hours and explain why they don't want the troops to have time at home. Nobody even knows what the fuck happened yesterday.
Oh, and what else happened yesterday? That's right…the Republicans did the exact same thing regarding upholding Habeus Corpus. The NY Times didn't even fit that on the front page. Toast has that one covered.
Why the hell is Reid scheduling these votes on the same day? And what two votes could possibly be more important than restoring a bedrock principle of democracy dating back to the Magna Carta and, short of ending the war, at least making sure troops get to come home for a decent amount of time between tours?
Another consequence of this fake filibuster shit? Creating the impression that it takes 60 votes to pass legislation. It doesn't. It takes 50+1. The Republicans have hijacked the process, and Reid has let them. All the public knows now is "56 votes falls short." It doesn't—56 votes is fucking bipartisan support with room to spare. Reid IS working with a majority! He even had 7 Republicans cross over! If Bush and 40 Republican partisans and one chinless dickweed want to work hard to screw the country, they can do it. But Reid is letting them have it without breaking a sweat.
What unfolded yesterday convinces me the Democrats are NOT serious about any of this shit. None of it. Yesterday was not a "defeat," it was a revelation. It was Congress, the democratic leadership in particular, exposed.
Only one thing will change my mind, Harry—Bring it back. Attach it to the Defense Bill. Force the vote. Make the Republicans filibuster, and then make them vote. Pass the bill and make Bush veto it. Only then will I "concede" defeat, because we don't have the 2/3's to overturn a veto. but by the time that happens the Republicans own it. The Republicans filibustered it. The Republican President vetoed it. It's on them. But barring that, Reid is letting them get away with it.
Next fall do you think anybody is going to remember what happened yesterday? That the Democrats did anything at all? No. Even the next day, most people never heard about it, and those that did, just heard, "Senate Blocks Troop Leave Bill" They lost the vote, lost the news cycle, lost the public's opinion, failed the troops, failed to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution, and they fucked their own electoral strategy.
All in a day's work.
MORE, BECAUSE I'M NOT ANGRY ENOUGH YET:
“It means that Congress will not intervene in the foreseeable future,” said Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, the Independent who has voted with the Republicans on war issues. “The fact that it didn’t get enough votes says that Congress doesn’t have the votes to stop this strategy of success from going forward.”
Strategy of success? Fuck you, Joe. And I hereby give Chris Dodd one-day immunity to come down the hall and beat the shit out of you for your Habeus vote, you GOP sell-out. Your ass should be booted from every fucking committee for your two votes yesterday.
For now, the failed Webb proposal is the closest Democrats have come to bipartisan legislation that would force Mr. Bush to change his strategy. And with Republicans solidly behind the plan outlined by Mr. Bush and Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander in Iraq, Democrats have retreated to a firm antiwar stance.
They are no longer entertaining the kind of compromise measures that some Democrats had proposed this month as an attempt to woo Republican defectors, and they said they would instead seek opportunities to hold votes that would more starkly contrast Republican support for the president with Democrats’ demands for withdrawal.
“The Republican leadership and the White House is getting them all to march in line,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who ranks third in the party leadership. “But it is marching further and further away from where America is. We just keep at it. It’s all we can do.”
"Retreat to a firm stance?" Whatever the hell that is. This is "all you can do," Chuck? Not by a fucking long shot. It's what you have determined is prudent for the election, which is as disgraceful as any action the Republicans have taken. You've decided that proposing DOA legislation and losing cloture votes to "starkly contrast" distinctions is a way to govern. It's not. It's a cop-out and it's a way to cover your asses and that's it.
Oh, and what's the first thing on today's agenda? A resolution to condemn MoveOn.org's stupid Petraeus ad. If that passes I think I'll just shoot myself in the head.
Fuck you guys. I'm done.
UPDATE: Welcome Benenites, and I added a link to my previous post about Mark Kleiman's Defense Bill plan.