Senate Democrats decisively derailed one of President Obama’s most popular initial moves — closing Guantanamo Bay — today:
WASHINGTON — The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to cut from a war spending bill the $80 million requested by President Obama to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and to bar the transfer of detainees to the United States and its territories.
The vote, which complicates Mr. Obama’s efforts to shutter the prison by his deadline of Jan. 22, 2010, was 90 to 6. Republicans voted unanimously in favor of cutting the money.
“The American people don’t want these men walking the streets of America’s neighborhoods,” said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota. “The American people don’t want these detainees held at a military base or federal prison in their back yard, either.”
Right — how could we ever hold an unspeakable terrorist on our soil? Like Tim McVeigh (imprisoned in Colorado until his execution), or John Walker Lindh (currently imprisoned in Indiana). (Of course, they were white. Not to sound like a leftist, but that’s really the deal-breaker here. McVeigh might have murdered 168 people, and Lindh might have deflected to the Taliban, but wouldn’t you still rather live next door to them than one of those dreadful Arabs?)
Though the article emphasizes Republican opposition to the bill, the NYT makes it clear that the blame should be placed squarely on the Democrats:
The move by Senate Democrats to bar, for now, any transfer of detainees to the United States, raised the possibility that Mr. Obama’s order to close the camp by Jan. 22, 2010, may have to be changed or delayed.
“Guantánamo makes us less safe,” the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said on Tuesday at a news conference where he laid out the party’s rationale for its decision. “However, this is neither the time nor the bill to deal with this. Democrats under no circumstances will move forward without a comprehensive, responsible plan from the president. We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States.”
Remember when Senate Democrats saved Joe “Democrat Party” Lieberman’s skin because it was “what Barack wanted”? Now they’ve abandoned one of their popular president’s most popular proposals to date because it’s not “comprehensive” or responsible.” Funny, isn’t it, how partisanship only manifests itself when the party bosses find it useful.