The Campaign for America’s Future came up with a petition urging Harry Reid ‘to bring essential reforms to the Senate floor, and KEEP them there until this minority yields, or takes deserved heat for obstructing progress.’ Basically, it was a call for Reid to stop respecting anti-cloture votes and make the Republicans physically filibuster popular legislation. Last night, Chris Bowers picked up that banner and called for a blogswarm. The challenge was met by Firedoglake, thinkprogress.org, Taylor Marsh, and the Huffington Post. It worked. Harry Reid took to the floor today and announced:
Republicans are using a filibuster to block us from even voting on an amendment that could bring the war to a responsible end. They are protecting the President rather than protecting our troops. They are denying us an up or down – yes or no – vote on the most important issue our country faces.
“I would like to inform the Republican leadership and all my colleagues that we have no intention of backing down. If Republicans do not allow a vote on Levin-Reed today or tomorrow, we will work straight through the night on Tuesday. The American people deserve an open and honest debate on this war, and they deserve an up-or-down vote on this amendment to end it.
“Given the Republican leadership’s decision to block the amendment, we have no choice but to do everything we can in the coming days to highlight Republican obstruction. We do this in hopes of ultimately getting a simple up-or-down vote on this and other important amendments that could change the direction of the war.
“All Senators will be welcome to speak their mind. Those of us who are ready to end the war will make our case to the American people. Those who support the status quo are welcome to equal floor time to make their case. Let the American people hear the arguments. Let them see their elected representatives engaging in a full, open and honest debate. Let them hear why Republicans are obstructing us on this amendment.
“Whenever Republicans are ready to allow a vote on this most crucial legislation, we stand ready to deliver the new course that has been so long in coming.”
As Bob Geiger described it:
With the whole specter of cots being dragged into Senate cloakrooms and the pure theatrics involved, I’m hopeful this will shine a white-hot spotlight on the Senate’s Republican leadership and show Americans how the GOP doesn’t truly support helping troops and their families at home or extricating them from pointless involvement in the Iraqi civil war.
And I’m sure more than one Democratic Senator will remind the public that Republicans screamed at the top of their lungs last year when it came to getting up-or-down votes on Bush’s right-wing judicial nominees, but expressing the sentiments of most Americans and protecting America’s troops gets no such treatment from them.
Said Reid today: “We don’t have to mark time, waiting for the President to wake up one morning with a revelation. And we can choose that new path right now.”
Sources tell me that the blogswarmers cannot take complete credit for this turn of events, as Reid has been leaning towards a move like this in recent weeks. But there is no doubt that the blogswarm helped give Reid a sense of comfort about taking this confrontational path. So, in honor of Chris Bowers, I present to you:
[Image by CBtE]