I'm as furious and frustrated as everyone else with the Senate's background check vote yesterday, and am just as pissed at the 4 Dems who voted "No" (Heitcamp, Begich, Pryor and Baucus) as anyone (of course, I'm also disgusted with the 41 Republicans who opposed it, but they're expected to be assholes).
However, there's one thing that bothers me--over on Facebook and Twitter, I keep seeing the same image being posted, showing the photos and names of the 54 "Yea" and 46 "Nay" votes...with Harry Reid listed on the "Nay" side, of course.
It doesn't make any difference to the outcome, of course, but the vote tally was actually 55 to 45: Harry Reid supported the bill but had to vote "No" as a procedural measure because, as Majority Leader, if he wants a chance to bring a bill he supports up again at a later date he has to vote against it due to
the obscure, arcane rules of the Senate.
I'm sure that others here who are more familiar with this rule can explain what it is and what the logic behind it is, but it certainly sounds like a pretty stupid rule to me.
Update: A couple of folks have indeed explained that this rule actually isn't anything specific to the Senate, it's a normal part of Robert's Rules of Order. Still seems kind of stupid to me--or, at least, it seems to me that there should be a special, official "asterisk" designation included in the Congressional Record or whatever. The point is that Reid's photo & name should really be included on the "Yea" side, with a special note explaining why he technically voted "Nay".
Anyway, I just wanted to get that out there.
On the other hand, the bill would've passed if he'd actually instituted filibuster reform back in January as he repeatedly stated that he would, so in that sense the failure of the bill to pass is partly his fault, so there you go.
As for the other 4 Dems who voted "No", they have no such excuse. Cliff Schecter posted this graphic over on Facebook (not sure of the original source, but it's quite appropriate):
--Heidi Heitcamp, ND (not up until 2018)
--Mark Begich, AK (up in 2014 - won a squeaker in 2008)
--Mark Pryor, AR (up in 2014 - won 80% of the vote in 2008)
--Max Baucus, MT (up in 2014 - won 73% of the vote in 2008)
Of these 4, the only one who might get a pass here is Mark Begich, but even that's pretty weak tea; as Schecter pointed out, Kay Hagen, Jeanne Shaheen & Mary Landrieu are also in very tough red-state 2014 races and still stuck their necks out to vote Yes.
Meanwhile, Pryor and Baucus won over 70% of the vote in their respective elections last time around, and Heitcamp has 5 1/2 years to change the conversation if she has to.