A higher calling

Reader Greg Miller writes:

Skipping over the issue of Kerry being AWOL from the Senate for most (if not all) of 2004, yesterday’s attempt in the Senate to extend unemployment benefits failed by a 59 (for) – 40 (against) vote, with Kerry being the only senator not voting. (As I understand the rule, it takes a closure equivalent to amend the budget, or something to that effect.) Obviously his attendance MIGHT have led to passage, assuming that one more Republican wouldn’t have voted against had he been there.
I’d be interested to hear your comments on Kerry’s ability to attack this failed vote:
1) He will have to defend why campaigning is more important than representing his state and his party. Presumably this maneuver was planned well enough in advance by the Democrat leadership that Kerry could/should have known about it. Conspiracy theorists might speculate that the Republicans slanted the vote to produce this precise result.
2) Although there was a majority of support for the measure, it lacked the 3/5 majority needed to force closure, or whatever equivalent Senate rule applies to budgetary matters. Should he point out that a majority of senators supported it, and yet it failed, he might have to defend in turn the obstructionist tactics of the Daschle Corps. It might be interesting (given the right interviewer) for him to give a defense of the filibuster, which I’m sure he could manage with the usual degree of nuance.

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