He’s pulling a stunt that does not have any real impact. When the GOP again successfully prevented a cloture vote on the Defense Authorization Bill that demanded surrender by April 2008, Harry Reid thought he was being strategically savvy by pulling it until the Republicans allow an up or down vote. He seems to think that this tactic will make the Republicans look bad. But that’s not the case at all. As Election Central has even acknowledged, pulling the authorization bill isn’t of any real consequence:
While the authorization bill set priorities for things like weapons systems in the defense budget, only the appropriations bill actually funds those priorities — and, unlike what we said earlier it’s not strictly necessary to pass the authorization first, though it is customary.
In short, from the perspective of Pentagon operations, the lack of an authorization bill “isn’t a problem, period, as long as an appropriations bill is passed,” says Steve Koziack of the Center on Strategic and Budgetary Priorities.
So Harry Reid and the Democrats are again looking amazingly incompetent. Since the real necessity for the troops is the appropriations bill, this stunt has no meaning or significance in terms of “holding the GOP’s feet to the fire,” especially if the appropriations bill passes. However, if the Dems hold the troops hostage and use the appropriations bill as leverage to get their way on the authorization bill, they will look awful. All the while the GOP goes unscathed.
Macranger sees a political benefit from Reid’s miscalculation:
Keep it up Harry, you’re making 2008 look REAL good for the GOP by helping to revive the “Weak on Defense” mantra all by your skinny-assed self.