|Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid|
By filing for cloture yesterday, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) set the clock ticking down to the moment of truth. Earlier this year every Democratic senator except Barbara Boxer (Calif.), who was absent, voted in favor of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, promising the country that voters’ voices would be heard on the most consequential issue of our time. Even Democrats who expected to support the president’s deal realized that failing to vote would be an abrogation of their obligation. That was then.
Now Senate Democrats are being goaded into a filibuster. This makes zero sense for Senate Democrats politically and threatens to set them up for yet another election in which Republicans can claim that they are hyper-partisan obstructionists. Following Sen. Harry Reid’s guidance in refusing to take key votes for years cost the Democrats the Senate majority. They apparently learned nothing.
Moreover, Senate Democrats are kidding themselves if they think they can avoid the image of them voting for a deal when they oppose cloture. That vote will be the final vote. They have already announced they support the deal, which only 21 percent of Americans approve of, according to the most recent Pew poll. Republicans will run against Senate Democrats for backing a dangerous deal, citing over and over again the cloture vote. What will Democrats say in defense — oh, that was just my vote to avoid having to vote? They will then have two problems — defending a deal voters dislike and explaining why they did not vote on the merits.
Imagine if in 1941 one party had filibustered the declaration of war on Dec. 8, 1941. Not take a vote on the most urgent issue of their time? It is no different now, save the quality of the senators and the hackery of their leadership...