The following letter appeared in this morning's Lansing State Journal. Reading the first sentence, most people might expect that the author was preparing to excoriate Majority Leader Harry Reid for refusing to entertain more than a single recreational resolution regarding troop reinforcements in Iraq. Not exactly.
In fact, all but 7 Republicans were joined by Joe Leiberman, who is "your father's Democrat" - the only one - in voting not to cut off debate. It was the Democrats who wanted debate to end, so they could display the courage of their resoutions to be non-binding. The "political trick" in play is same one the Democrats used over and over to prevent up or down votes on judicial nominations. They became the first to use a filibuster for this purpose in the history of the United States. Up until the Democrats used it in this fashion, it was a standard Senate procedure. It would be interesting to hear Mr. Mathias' opinion on that.
Here is the only resolution the Democrats will allow to be "debated:"
Again, the vote to cut off debate was proposed by the Democrats, not the Republicans. The Republicans wanted to debate, and vote on, other resolutions on the topic. Harry Reid blocked any resolution except the Democrats', and refused to consider any amendments to it.
Here's an example, proposed by New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, of a resolution Harry Reid refused to consider:
You might think, with Rep. John Murtha planning stealth funding cuts over in the House, that the more deliberative and wise Senate Democrats would welcome an opportunity to reject any strategy designed to subvert reinforcement of our troops, in general, while they are in harm's way. Mark Steyn notes this from the Washington Post:
In another attempt at provoking a full debate, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., proposed a resolution backing Bush's plan to deploy 21,500 additional troops to Iraq. That resolution would also set firm benchmarks for the Iraqi government to achieve after the deployment.
Harry Reid also refused to allow this resolution to be introduced. If a debate were desirable, as contrasted with pure political opportunism, both resolutions should be presented for up or down votes.
Just what is the meaning of the term "debate" to Democrats and Mr. Mathias?