On Saturday I sent this e-mail to the L.A. Times Readers’ Representative:
The L.A. Times‘s December 12 story on the bailout, titled Senate Republicans kill auto bailout bill, strongly implied that Democrats did not have 10 Republican votes to kill a filibuster:
Republican opposition killed a $14-billion auto industry bailout plan in the Senate on Thursday night, putting the future of U.S. automakers in doubt and threatening to deliver another blow to the economy.
. . . .
Senate Democrats couldn’t bring the measure up for a vote without the support of at least 10 Republicans. Ultimately, they were seven votes short.
But there were 10 Republicans voting “yea” on the bill. Here’s the link to the vote, and here are the 10 Republicans who voted “yea”:
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Dole (R-NC), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
I think your paper’s story was misleading, and that some sort of clarification is in order.
Today the paper runs this correction:
Auto bailout: An article in Section A on Dec. 12 about the auto bailout bill dying in the Senate said that Democrats, who hold 50 votes in the chamber, couldn’t bring the measure up for a vote without the support of at least 10 Republicans. In fact, 10 Republicans did vote to bring the measure up, but not all 50 Democrats did. The final vote was 52 to 35, with 10 Republicans joining 40 Democrats and 2 independents in favor.
All they had to do was show just a little skepticism for the Democrats’ spin, and this could have been avoided.
Amazing, too, how this correction goes in a small box on page A2, even though it undermines a central point of the story. Amazing . . . but par for the course.