Ok, big surprise. After one all-nighter in the Senate, a minority of 46 Republicans plus Joe Lieberman blocked a cloture motion and prevented the Senate from voting on the Levin/Reed Iraq redeployment bill that was supported by a majority of 52 Senators, including 4 Republicans
Majority Leader Reid then pulled the entire Defense Authorization Bill off the Senate floor. In a procedural maneuver, Sen. Reid then switched his vote so that he can bring the Iraq legislation back to the Senate floor without procedural hurdles.
Sen. Reid -- the way to win a cloture vote is to wear down the opposition until they allow an up or down vote on the on the substance of the Iraq redeployment measure. Keep the Senate in continuous session until the Republicans allow an up or down vote. Keep the Senate in session tonight, and tomorrow night, and the next night...while the pressure builds to allow a substantive vote. If you can't keep a quorum on the floor, order the Sergeant at Arms to bring the recalcitrant Senators back into the Senate chambers. If necessary, do it the way it was done in 1988 when officers carried Republican Senator Bob Packwood into the Senate chamber feet first for a quorum call.
And if necessary, cancel the Senate's summer vacation and keep the Senate in session until the Republicans allow an up or down vote. Let's see if the Republicans are so determined to back President Bush's failed Iraq strategy that they are willing to lose part of their summer vacation.
This strategy would take a strong commitment from Democratic Senators. They would have to be willing to show up for repeated quorum calls. Democratic Senators Clinton, Obama and Dodd might have to cancel campaign appearances to stay in Washington for repeated votes. Democrat would have to be willing to show the country that they are so committed to reversing Bush's disastrous Iraq policies that they will even give up part of their summer vacation, if necessary. If the troops can sacrifice their lives, Democratic Senators can at least sacrifice their summer vacations and Democratic Presidential candidates can show their seriousness by sacrificing campaign appearances.
If Sen. Reid and the Democrats will do this, it is likely that Republicans will grumble and make unfounded accusations, but will eventually vote for cloture and allow an up or down vote on the Levin/Reed redeployment bill, which will then pass the Senate and be sent down Pennsylvania Avenue to Pres. Bush's desk. The Democrats will have shown the country that they have the backbone to sacrifice for their convictions.
If Sen. Reid and the Democrats allow last night's session to be a one night stand, they will only validate Republican accusations that it was all a cheap trick of political theater. Public support for the Democratic Congress will continue to plummet in the polls...and American troops will continue to die.