Josh is right; the Republican filibuster of the Warner anti-escalation resolution is a vote for the President’s war policy. The question is whether the press will cover it that way.
Filibusters are, of course, procedural votes. But here, in the context of a non-binding resolution, a vote against debate is a vote for the President. There is literally no difference. Beating a filibuster for binding legislation means not only a position being taken but a law being enacted. Here, that doesn’t happen even if the resolution passes. If the Senate votes again to bring up debate (or to close debate and vote), and the Democrats get, say, 55 votes, then that is the exact same thing as a Senate rebuke of the President.
Democrats need to say this over and over. Will the press understand that? I’m doubtful. Already, the Associated Press story discussing the filibuster notes that:
Democrats hoped to gain enough Republican votes to pass the measure expressing disagreement with Bush’s decision, and to send the commander in chief an extraordinary wartime rebuke on a bipartisan vote.
They have already done that. Democrats need to start working the refs now.
UPDATE: The New York Times also misses the point. It reports:
Republicans on Monday blocked Senate debate on a bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq, leaving in doubt whether the Senate would render a judgment on what lawmakers of both parties described as the paramount issue of the day.
This really isn’t very hard: the Senate has already rendered judgment: a majority rejects the President’s policy by wanting to debate the resolution. The article makes the point itself, noting that “Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, a Democratic co-author of the resolution who typically promotes comity in the Senate, accused Republicans of stalling. “If not now, when?” he said. “If not now, do we wait for more troops to die before we oppose the president’s plan?” If Ben Nelson has this view, you can rest assured that everyone else voting for it does, too. Evewryone understands this–except the press.