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Solidarity

Remember when Speaker Pelosi attended a fundraiser for corrupt Bush Dog Al Wynn, a slap in the face to Donna Edwards and all her progressive supporters (including FDL and BlueAmerica)? One rationale that I heard was that Pelosi has to show loyalty to her members, no matter how sleazy, so they will continue to support her as Speaker.

Now fast-forward two months, and Senate Majority Leader Reid is ignoring Senator Dodd’s hold on any FISA bill with telecom immunity. (Reid is very respectful of Republican holds, however.)

So why is it that Nancy Pelosi can support a member she disagrees with, but Reid can’t support Dodd even when he claims to agree with him? Is it only okay to support "moderates" who stab progressives in the back? When did progressives become a bigger enemy than conservatives?

This is really only half of my solidarity question. The other half is, What happens if Reid calls a vote on a FISA bill with telecom immunity? My layman’s understanding of the hold process is that the hold itself does not actually stop anything. It’s more like a promise to filibuster, and is therefore only meaningful if the holder’s caucusmates back it up.

So if the Judiciary version of the FISA bill doesn’t get enough votes (as is likely) and Dodd tries to filibuster, will he be able to get 40 Democratic colleagues to honor his hold and vote against cloture? Even if they don’t agree with Dodd, they have to realize that a failure to back him up would essentially render all future Democratic holds meaningless.

And if Senate Democrats do honor Dodd’s hold, will Reid give up like he does in the face of Republican filibusters, or will Dodd have to read the complete works of Proust out loud? If Dodd is forced to filibuster, will anyone join him? Clinton and Obama have pledged to "support" Dodd’s filibuster, but does that mean they would actively participate in it, or just that they would vote against cloture and send Dodd encouraging e-mails (campaign schedules permitting)?

I think the "Are the Democrats craven appeasers or just playing a bad hand?" argument is about to get a lot more clarity in the next few days. Of course, some of us think it’s pretty damn clear already.

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