Thursday, April 29, 2010

Broder: Harry Reid to blame for odeus Arizona immigration bill

OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit.

But The Dean of DC Pundits, David Broder, weighs in on the AZ fracas in this morning's Post and seems to suggest Majority Leader Reid is to blame for (someone's) filibuster that killed the last attempt at immigration reform:

It was only three years ago that the action was stymied by a Senate filibuster and the impatience of Harry Reid to move on to other topics.

So, The Dean tells us a filibuster, and Harry Reid's impatience, are to blame for Arizona's horrid immmigration bill. But who was leading said filibuster? Who's to blame? Well, we don't know. Just that there was a filibuster led by someone, and Harry Reid is impatient. Let's read on:

The bill that died in Congress had been hammered out over many months by a bipartisan group of senators, including both the Hispanic members of the Senate and both the Republican senators from Arizona.

Bipartisan!!!!! The magic word. Broder says there was an awesome immigration reform bill all ready to go, and it was BIPARTISAN! And as we all know, if something is bipartisan, it is really teh awesome no matter what it does. But how really bipartisan was this immmigration bill?

But once the bill hit the floor, it was attacked from both flanks. The most conservative Republicans -- Jim DeMint of South Carolina, David Vitter of Louisiana and Jeff Sessions of Alabama -- led the assault. They were joined by some civil libertarians and allies of organized labor who were dissatisfied with the bill's protections for guest workers. Democrat Byron Dorgan of North Dakota repeatedly tried to gut the guest-worker program before finally succeeding by one vote on his third effort.

Ah, shit. There was this awesome bipartisan immigration reform bill but, wouldn't ya know, BOTH sides, both parties, went on the attack, equally one might presume. The Dean gives us three Republican names, one Democrat, and an illegal combination of (everybody cover their ears) civil libertarians and organized labor. While bipartisanship is great, nothings much fun around here if we can't punch some civil libertarian hippies and some labor union thugs. Check. And then Harry Reid comes along and muffs everything up:

With Reid showing increasing impatience over a debate that began on May 21, the Senate conducted three cloture votes on June 7 and each time came up short. Carrying out his threat, Reid pulled the bill off the floor, while Minority Leader Mitch McConnell protested. "I think we're giving up on this bill too soon," McConnell said. "There are a number of Republicans who are prepared to vote for cloture as soon as they believe their colleagues on this side of the aisle have had a reasonable opportunity to have offered and voted upon amendments they think would improve the bill."

So, let's see, three cloture votes were held in order to kill the filibuster and allow the bill to get voted on, but once again, we don't know who was doing the filibustering and thus trying to Kill The Bill but apparently Reid got fed up and wanted to move on to something else. Brave Mitch McConnell tried to, um, do something. Kind of makes ole Mitch sound like the good guy. I wonder what McConnell's role was in the filibustering, if any. Anyway, all the bipartisanship in the world apparently couldn't save this awesome bill because:

when it came to the floor, cloture again failed, this time by 46 to 53 -- 14 votes short of the 60 it needed. Democrats split 33 to 15 in favor of ending the debate while Republicans voted 37 to 12 to continue talking and amending, and the two independent members split.

I was a polisci major back in the day, and I even did a little grad work in the subject, but that was one confusing 'graph. What the heck does it mean? In layman's terms, it means that 33 of 48 Democrats voted to end the filibuster and vote on the bill, while 37 of 49 Republicans voted to continue to filibuster and prevent voting and passage of the bill. Two Independents split their votes. Not sure when this was because, if my math is correct, that would make a Senate chamber of 48 Dems, 49 Repubs, and two Independents.

Anyway, it's all equal. 33 Dems = 12 Repubs. Everybody, but especially Harry Reid, for filibustering the bill, or for failing to filibuster the bill, whatever, is to blame for Congress failing to pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill. Pox on both your houses.

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