Tuesday, June 12, 2007

No Confidence

So, the Gonzales No Confidence vote I mentioned the other day went down to defeat, 53-30. There is a reason why Congress's popularity is so low, you know. You'd think having more votes for than against would mean the measure would pass but this is the Senate so you need at least 60 votes to get things passed.

Two interesting points here, though. First, is the narrative. Newspaper articles (like this one from the AP and, thus, in hundreds of newspapers across the country) began with “Republicans blocked” and go on to say the vote was a dare on the Democrats part to reveal their true feelings about Gonzales followed by quotes from Bush displaying his best imperial arrogance. In other words, it's sharply critical of their role conservatives are playing here. There's no mention of Democratic weakness or wishy-washyness in the explicit text. However, the implicit subtext is that the Democrats went up against the conservatives and lost, again. You'll notice there's no mention of fillibuster, for example, which has been used to vilify similar conservative defeats.

The second thing is the maneuvering. Once you account for all seventeen Senators who didn't vote (including among them most of the Democratic presidential hopefuls like Biden, Clinton, and Obama. And McCain but that's not exactly a surprise at this point – he's missed more vote calls than anyone, hasn't he?) you're left with seven Republicans who've broken ranks and, ostensibly, cast a vote against Gonzales. Although, not really, since it was just a vote to bring the vote to a vote. Again, it's the Senate so they have some cover as they were just trying to bring it up for a “free and full debate” or whatever. Still, that's two more Repubs than have publically called for Gonzales's ouster. One of the amazing things is that even as floundering as the Bush presidency has been, the Republicans have still clung to him like he was a piece of driftwood. But that support is only going to crumble as elections draw near and that so many Republicans “voted their conscience” shows it's already starting to happen.

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