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January 31, 2008

Rewind: McCain *Didn't* Say He Wouldn't Sign McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Piece-of-Shit if President

We thought he flip-flopped. He sure seemed to flip-flop from his Meet the Press "Straight Talk" that he would sign an amnesty were it presented to him.

But it's worse than that -- he evaded while sticking to his guns.

Now, when I heard this, I too thought he said he wouldn't vote in favor of his own comprehensive shit were he president.

But listen to what he actually says: He only says he would not vote for it because it wouldn't come to a vote in the first place. He repeatedly refuses to answer the question, even put to him three times by two different questioners, simply asserting that it won't come to a vote.

Via Kausfiles, with a transcript, except that transcript is wrong.

Kausfiles reports McCain as saying "No, it would not" (meaning the bill wouldn't come to his desk) when in fact McCain says "No, I would not" sign it.

But he's right on the actual point, because McCain's "No, I would not" is immediately followed by the claim that he woudn't ever be in that position because it woudn't pass:

No, I would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the border secured first. And so to say that that would come to the floor of the Senate -- it won't. We went through various amendments which prevented that ever -- that proposal.

He's still saying he'd sign the fucking thing if it comes to his desk! Fucking still!

So the little bastard is telling us he "gets it" that we want border security first, and he promises to give that to us -- unless 60 Senators pass a version of McCain-Kennedy without border security first, in which case, fuck border security, he's signing it into law.

So his "promise" on "securing the borders" first isn't a promise at all -- it's a prediction only, a prediction that the American people and the Senate will force him to "build the goddamn fence" before he can sign an amnesty bill.

But if that changes -- if we lose more Republican votes in the Senate, which is likely -- and if they present him his bill without that border-security-first, he is telling us: I will sign it, as I have made no promises about my own actions, only predictions about the likely actions of others.

The Lie: McCain's claim that Kennedy-McCain couldn't come to his desk as president is itself a lie.

Some of you may take comfort in the fact that the votes to sustain the filibuster were won somewhat easily. That's deceptive -- before the actual votes, both sides said the votes were too close to call, counting somewhere between 57-62 votes to end the filibuster and vote amnesty into law.

They weren't lying. They weren't saying that for dramatic purposes. There really were that many votes for amnesty.

So how did the amnesty side wind up with merely 43 or 45 votes?

If you don't know this, when the party, or the leadership of the party at least, really, really wants something, and your vote is needed to put it through, you are expected to vote the way the leadership demands. The purpose of "whips" is to whip votes the way the leadership wants them to come down.

They promise you extra campaign money from the party senatorial/congressional campaign funds to overcome voters lost due to your voting against your constituency's wishes. They'll promise money from big donors directed to your campaign to help you, and nice appearances by party bigs to help get out the vote. And they promise future committee assignments and leadership assignments, too -- if you play ball.

And maybe you'll get some tasty earmarks for your district, too.

And if you don't, you're threatened: You won't get any party help. You won't get prize assignments to committees. Your earmarks may be overlooked or simply refused. You'll be on your own.

That's the pressure that's brought to bear on Senators and Congressmen in a big important vote the leadership wants. And on amnesty, the leadership of both parties wanted it.

But if a vote looks like it's going down in flames, all votes are "released." You no longer have to jeopardize your electoral future by voting against your constituency's desires. You are "released" to vote either according to your own beliefs or your best electoral positioning. The latter, of course, is more important.

So there were in fact 57 to 63 or so votes to defeat the filibuster and pass amnesty into law at various times. Only a few key votes actually changed. Only three or four or maybe five Senators actually committed themselves to changing their vote to sustain the filibuster and reject the amnesty bill.

But these three to five senators were critical, as they dropped the votes in favor of amnesty below the crucial 60 vote threshold -- and at that point, and only at that point, were all the other pro-amnesty commitments released to vote according to how their outraged voters were demanding.

And that was when the lopsided vote against amnesty occurred, giving the illusory impression that amnesty was easily defeated.

It wasn't. But for the votes of three or four or five senators, those votes promised to the leadership would not have been released and would have stayed with the amnesty side, and amnesty would have passed by, say, 62-36 or whatever. (Some Senators, like Tim Johnson, were absent; others might have simply not voted.)

Remember how so many senators wouldn't give you an answer on how they were voting when you called their offices? They were not still deciding. They were in fact committed to vote for amnesty if it was close to passing but were reserving the right to vote against it if it wasn't going to pass anyway.

They were lying to you. They knew how they would vote -- they would vote with the winning side, whichever way it went. They just didn't want to tell you that.

So when Maverick McAmnesty tells you there's no way the Comprehensive Piece of Shit could possibly reach his desk again as president, he's flat-out lying to you and he knows it. Merely losing one or two or three anti-amnesty votes in the Senate will give it more than enough votes to pass this time 'round.

And don't forget that a McCain presidency would represent, as many are saying now, the death-knell of the supposed power of talk radio to influence politics. Many of those who voted against amnesty at the last moment did so because they feared what Laura Ingraham and El Rushbo might do to them.

McCain's presidency would be taken as proof that grassroots outrage like that is a spent force, and the voters can be spurned with impunity.

Amnesty was, is, and remains just a few crucial votes away from passage.

Those guys who wouldn't give you a straight answer last time -- like Burr, for example, or Stevens, or Brownback, the guy who thinks voting on amnesty is so nice he had to do it twice, once yes when it might pass, and then no when it had already failed -- didn't suddenly see the light and vote according to constituent wishes.

They were simply released from their commitment to vote for this very unpopular bill when the count showed it was just a few votes shy of passage.

And McCain is telling you the bill couldn't be brought up again.


Straight Talk, ya'll. Comin' right at ya, but a little sideways and crab-wise sometimes.

Brownback Changing His Vote From Yes To No: Video here at page bottom, in case you'd forgotten.

Yes when it might win, No when it had failed.

And the Senate is filled with bravehearts just like him.

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posted by Ace at 09:46 PM

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