Torture bill: Reid's bum rap from our Matt

I've had occasion to be critical of Harry Reid in the past.

But this from Matt seems to me to stray far from the facts:

The torture bill could have been stopped fairly easily by the Democratic Senate leadership, but they didn't care enough to stop it.

The technicalities here are vital, as I explained earlier.

The choice that Reid made to agree to the UCA meant that, on the Specter amendment on habeas corpus (the bill's opponents' strongest card), Frist was challenged as hard as he could have been.

In the past, Frist's counting has not exactly been stellar - and it's as plain as a pikestaff that a vote in favor of the Specter amendment was the best hope of stymieing the bill.

If Reid had not gone this way, his only choice would have been to try to keep Frist from getting 60 votes on the Mexican fence bill - which would have been to piss away the chance of putting Frist on the spot.

There has been a whole slew of counterfactuality in the lefty sphere (not too much of it over here, thank God!) over the torture bill, which only goes to provide corroboration to the charge from those hostile to the influence of the sphere that it is essentially a bunch of amateurs with loud voices and small understanding.

I wonder how much of this ululation has been an attempt to distract attention from the fact that, if the sphere had been on the case a good deal earlier, it might conceivably have persuaded one or two Dem senators to switch votes on habeas corpus, and have thus inflicted a stinging blow against the GOP.

There's more...

Torture bill shenanigans: explanation

Since my piece yesterday, my little grey cells (such as they are) have been beavering away.

The following is, I believe, the thinking informing the rather strange antics of the Video Doctor (as described in yesterday's piece):

Once the text of a torture/detainee bill had been settled between the WH and Congressional GOP leaders, the imperative was to get it enacted this week.

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Final Tally on the McCain Torture Act, 65-34

Democrats in favor (12) - Carper (Del.), Johnson (S.D.), Landrieu (La.), Lautenberg (N.J.), Lieberman (Conn.), Menendez (N.J), Pryor (Ark.), Rockefeller (W. Va.), Salazar (Co.), Stabenow (Mich.), Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.)

Republicans against (1) - Chafee (R.I.)

Independents against (1) - Jeffords

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Reid's office 'confirms': no filibuster of torture bill

Thus saith a Kossack who spoke to a guy in Harry Reid's office.

The nub:

He told me flat out, that Harry Reid could not find the votes for a filibuster of this bill.  

Now, sometimes it can be good politics to go down to defeat. Defeat on a corporate welfare bill means another try next Congress - and another round of contributions from potential beneficiaries!

Plus - futile stuff like the Schiavo bill can work the ignorant up into a lather. (And a good many sections of the ignorant vote. Ain't democracy grand!)

On this bill, a failed filibuster would have come across like the failed filibuster on Alito: a pathetic bunch of amateurs, some thinking with their (ideological) dicks, the rest pissing themselves about taking the least bit controversial a stand.

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Calling the plays on the torture bill

There are some sports where, for a spectator, not knowing the rules is no impediment to the enjoyment of the game.

Beach volleyball is a prime example.

But, in most other sports - not so much.

Such are the sports played in the Capitol.  There is no way to - enjoy isn't quite the word - the goings on there without an intimate understanding of the rules.

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Diaries

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