Poor Harry Reid. He went out on a limb and kept the Senate in session way longer than he had to and he got burned. By a vote of 52-47, the Senate rejected the vote for cloture which would have forced a vote on the Reed/Levin Amendment. I’ve been watching sporadically all night and the debate certainly wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped, although it perfectly fit what I expected: lots of talk, not a lot of debate.
The failure of this vote doesn’t mean we are in Iraq forever but it certainly looks like we won’t have the joy of seeing a withdrawl until AT LEAST 2009 or 2010. The Republican machine is in full swing on this issue and the Democrats, in typical fashion, weren’t able to turn popular support into votes on the floor of the Senate. Four Republicans defected from their party line: Olympia Snowe, Gordon Smith, Chuck Hagel, and Susan Collins. Collins came as a bit of a surprise to most, but the democrats needed 12 Republicans to defect and only 4 did. Bummer. The American people should be keenly aware of their Senators who have publicly spoken against the President on the war but failed to muster up the courage to vote against him when it came down to action. Those Senators who pretended to waver on the war but voted against this cloture vote should be ashamed of themselves, but I imagine they won’t lose a second of sleep over this.
The GOP leadership had made procedural changes that mandate a 3/5 majority (60) vote in order to make changes in important Iraq policy issues. Harry Reid keeps pleading with his colleagues and its more than a little depressing seeing a grown man grovel like this.