It was on Thursday that the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass an extension of the most abusive sections of the Patriot Act without adding meaningful reform. 8 out of the 12 Democrats on that committee voted with the Republicans, to support continuing George W. Bush’s attacks against the Constitution.
Oh, but we’ve been told that the battle isn’t over. The bill still has to go to the Senate floor, after all, where it will have to get the support of a majority of all senators, not just a few on committee.
So, the Republicans make 40 senators, plus independent Joseph Lieberman, who can be expected to vote with the Republicans on issues like this. That’s 41. Add the 8 Democrats who voted to continue the Bush legacy last week. That’s 49 votes. So, all the bill needs is two more Democratic votes, and it can be passed. 12 more votes, and it can pass a filibuster.
There’s little reasonable question that 2 more Democrats will add their votes to the bill. Right wing Democrats like Mark Pryor, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson and Max Baucus are just waiting to prove how much they can be like Republicans.
The only relevant question is whether there are enough votes to beat a filibuster. But, in order for that question to really matter, first there has to be a filibuster.
There hasn’t been a single Democratic voice speaking out on the Senate floor against the Patriot Act’s renewal since the Judiciary Committee passed its extension on Thursday. Not one.
So, Democrats, why should Americans who still believe in the Constitution still believe in the Democratic Party?