Friday, July 20, 2007

A good summary of the Senate sleep-over

TPM Election Central has a nice guide to the all-night Senate session that took place last night. Their summary:

The GOP won -- today, at least. Sen. Mitch McConnell prevented the crucial ten Republican defections. Much of the media is portraying the Democrats as either obstructionists -- which must rankle them, since they weren't the ones filibustering the defense bill -- or as losers. And since the Dems didn't break the filibuster, that last part is true enough.

Looking beyond the day's vote, however, reveals a more complicated picture. After the Democrats lost the Iraq battle over the supplemental appropriation in the spring and didn't launch another fight against the war, many on the left were disillusioned with the Democrats. Antiwar liberals appear much more energized now, so clearly today's events had one positive effect for Reid: It appeared to shore up his support on the left again.

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.


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