As was widely reported in the news this morning, Republicans in the Senate successfully filibustered the Webb amendment, which would have guaranteed servicemembers the same amount of time at home between tours of duty as they had to spend in Iraq (or anywhere else, presumably). Less widely reported, at least on anything that I heard or saw until just now, was this disgusting tidbit:
To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.
That "meaningless" (to quote all the Republican rhetoric from the days when they were still in control and wanted to pooh-pooh anything the Democratic minority tried to put forward) sense-of-the-Senate resolution passed by a vote of 72-25. Every single Republican voted in favor, as did Republican-in-all-but-name Joe Lieberman. Worse, so did 22 more-or-less actual Democrats.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? We can't do anything to bring our troops home (despite the fact that nearly 50% of respondents in a recent CBS News poll said they weren't willing to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for more than another year and 68% of respondents called for ending the U.S. presence altogether or reducing it), or at least guarantee them equal amounts of home and away time; we can't pass a federal budget with barely a week left in the current fiscal year; we can't provide health insurance to needy children--but by God, we can criticize an ad that ran a week ago and which was, by and large, factually accurate and certainly an accurate reflection of the way an awful lot of people in this country seem to feel about the war in Iraq and those twits that are presently running it. For the love of all that's holy, even Petraeus's boss doesn't seem to think all that highly of him, having characterized him this past spring as an "ass-kissing little chickenshit" according to sources. Will the Senate be able to cram in a vote on another sense-of-the-Senate resolution deriding that remark tomorrow? Or will they be too busy protecting the Pretzelnit from deserved criticism of, well, just about anything? Inquiring minds want to know.
I think it's long past the time where we have to stop playing these stupid political games. If the Republicans are that intent on obstructing everything on the Democrats' agenda from now until next year's presidential election, fine. Let them, say I. At least then we'll know exactly whom to blame for the government's failure to accomplish anything.
And what's with all this craptacular spin in the headlines? Bid to Cut Off Iraq War Funding Fails? No, the more accurate headline for that story would have been "Republican Bid to Prevent Vote on Cutting Off Iraq War Funding Succeeds." The attempt has not failed, merely the attempt to bring it, to borrow another perennial favorite from the Republican lexicon, to an "upperdown vote."
Perhaps what's needed to end this perpetual Republican gridlock is a return to the real meaning of a filibuster. The next time the president pro tempore asks for unanimous consent to proceed to the next item on the agenda after a cloture vote fails, someone--anyone--in the chamber needs to have the θράσος to say "Nay." Make the Republicans try to keep someone talking until he collapses under the strain, or the commissary runs out of Depends. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, bitchez! They want to continue debate on these bills, then let them fucking well debate them. They can forget about getting any of their legislative agenda off the table, the Boy Who Would Be King can bloody well wait to get his next attorney general confirmed. The Republicans want to talk--and by God, we're going to let them.
That ought to go over really well with the voters. Just like it did the last time the Republicans shut down the federal government. Small wonder the present-day GoOPers are hoping and praying that nobody actually calls their bluff. Given that the electorate is already pissed at them, if they push that button again chances are very good that there will be virtually no Republican victories to cheer on the evening of the first Tuesday after the first Monday next November.
Isn't that a lovely thought? So let's make it happen, leadership!