Update see bottom of diary for link to petition for an up or down vote.
I just received an email from my senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennett...It said in part
That's because the quiet threat of a filibuster effectively holds the public option hostage. Through the filibuster, Senators can delay debate on the public option indefinitely, preventing the Senate from ever holding a democratic, up-or-down vote on the issue.
Update 2: Just to be clear, Bennett and Udall don't support a filibuster, but their letter makes is sound like the Democrats are powerless to stop one.
Senator Udall, THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY OF A FILIBUSTER IF THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS IS UNITED ON PROCEDURAL VOTES!
Democratic Senators are free to vote their conscience on the substance of healthcare reform and are answerable to their constituents for their votes. But...
if they vote to obstruct the business of the Senate by not limiting debate (not voting for cloture) i.e. joining the filibuster, they are doing a disservice to the American people and to the Democratic party. After all, it is the Democratic caucus that gives them their majority status on all of the committees. The chairs of the various committees and subcommittees owe their positions to the Democratic caucus. Holy Joe L. is especially beholden to the Democrats for allowing him to be a committee chair (which he has done absolutely nothing with, except for witchhunting Czars BTW after he left the party because he lost the Democratic primary WATB). If he joins the filibuster, he loses his chairmanship and should only serve on the committee to refurbish national monuments or something equally inconsequential. The same goes for any Democratic senator that votes against cloture.
Remember, health care reform and especially a ROBUST PUBLIC OPTION AVAILABLE FROM DAY 1 has strong majority support in the country. The Senate, to have any credibility, needs to take that into account and ALLOW A VOTE on health care reform. Again, individual senators can vote against reform and suffer the wrath of their constituents or not. But if they simply obstruct the ability of the Senate to do the public's business, then there should be consequences doled out by the Democratic leadership in the Senate. If there are no consequences, clearly we need new leadership. I heard Evan Bayh say:
It's not fair to ask people to facilitate the enactment of policies with which we ultimately disagree," said moderate Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.). "So the closer we get to the end of the process, the more, for me, the process and policy will be one and the same."
THIS IS FALSE AND HE NEEDS TO BE CALLED OUT TO REPUDIATE IT!
It is not fair to the majority to obstruct the people's business just because you don't agree with your own party leadership. If a majority of the Senate OF HIS OWN PARTY have a position that he disagrees with, he can vote against it, but he votes to obstruct his own party's initiatives there had better be serious consequences to his standing in the Senate or the Democrats will look like pathetic spineless worms unable to do the business of the Senate!
Someone needs to diary this every day until the message gets through.
THERE IS NO FILIBUSTER WITH OUT DEMOCRATIC VOTES. DEMOCRATIC SENATORS THAT VOTE AGAINST CLOTURE ARE ACTIVELY OBSTRUCTING THEIR OWN LEADERSHIP AND NEED TO BE SANCTIONED.
If we can't get an up or down vote on health care reform with a 60 vote majority, we don't deserve the majority.
Another point made repeatedly but Ezra and Matt Y. If both conservadems and progressives like 80% of the bill, shouldn't the majority view to include a robust public option favored by the majority stay in and have the minority conservadems suck it up? Do the conservadems want to be responsible for scuttling the best chance at health care reform? Why should the majority have to give up its policy reform initiatives to please the minority who don't have the American People on their side? Again, the conservadems don't have to vote for the final bill, but if they are obstructionist and vote against cloture, then the pitchforks and torches need to come out and wail on their collective asses.
UPDATE: Sign the Letter