Thursday, July 19, 2007

Filibuster for dummies

By Libby

I've been off-line most of the week and trying to catch up on the news has been dizzying. The big stuff always happens when I have zero time to follow it. But this is why I love Blogtopia [y!sctp]. Election Central has put together a handy guide for those who are as befuddled by the procedural maze as I am. Spencer explains the fine points, but this was the most cheering point.
More importantly, by raising the Iraq debate in the summer, the Democrats have created something of a public expectation that September is the beginning of the end for the war. Even Fred Barnes's summation piece for the Weekly Standard is titled "McConnell Holds The Line; At Least Until September." The benefit for the Democrats of the July push, even the unsuccessful one, has been to redefine the debate over the war.

By forcing the discussion now, Dems forced Republicans into the fall-back position of saying, "The war should begin to end not now, but in September." That means it will be tougher for Republicans to continue to back the war come September -- Petraeus report or no.

Two weeks ago, it was hardly clear that September would be the beginning of the end, as opposed to a potential rallying point for Republicans when Petraeus comes to Washington. But thanks to how the July debate unfolded, come September the GOP's victory today could look like a Pyrrhic one.
With the major media painting it as the Democrats holding up the works, I think it's a little dicey on how it will play with the average Jake in the short term. But over the long run, if Harry continues to hold the hard line and keeps hammering the point that it's the Republicans who are obstructing the votes, Akerman could be right on with that prediction.

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