The bankruptcy bill is set to clear the Senate, and is expected to sail through the House shortly, despite widespread opposition in the blogosphere that spanned the political spectrum. How widespread? In one "Can't tell the players without a scorecard" post, we actually find Atrios pointing approvingly to a Free Republic post and calling the leaders of his Democratic party "morons".
Yet the unusual alliance of Atrios, Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, the Daily Kos, Glenn Reynolds, Jane Galt, John Cole, and many more seems to have had zero impact. In the Last Alliance, Trent Lott was cast down - what happened here?
A few things. First, time was against us - per the Feb 18 NY Times, the Senate took this bill up and moved it quickly. They were able to do so because the issue has been kicked around Congress for years, and a similar bill passed both houses in 2000 (only to be pocket-vetoed by Clinton).
Secondly, the blogosphere was caught napping - Atrios did not post until March 6; Kevin Drum seems to have his first post on March 4; Josh Marshall took up the issue on March 6. Where were the canaries in the coal mine? (And if anyone wants to volunteer a link to their early warning, sing out in the comments below).
One possible explanation - too many stories. Social Security, Lebanon, the Pope, and the residue of the Guckert debacle may have been distractions. But isn't the blogosphere supposed to multi-process?
Another view - opponents of this bill adopted an "embrace your destiny" attitude. The bill was voted out of the Senate Finance committee with three Democrats (Biden, Feinstein, Kohl) joining nine Republicans in a 12-5 vote. With this sort of bipartisan support, and given the bill's past history, opponents may have chosen not to work their contacts at the NY Times and amongst the usual suspects.
Third, some of the arguments offered by bill opponents were, hmm, phoney. The NY Times, Paul Krugman, and many others cited a Harvard bankruptcy study showing, per Krugman, that "One recent study found that more than half of bankruptcies are the result of medical emergencies". Nonsense. Or, per Todd Zywicki, "that conclusion cannot be based on this article that is published in Health Affairs". Jane Galt does a good job of presenting the issues (and repeats another phoney argument that we attributed to Kevin Drum. Say it ain't so, Jane!)
There will be other days. A hint to the canaries - the Feb 18 Times story tells us this:
In addition to completing bankruptcy legislation, the [business lobbyists] face their biggest test over two other tort revisions. One would sharply limit damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits. Another would overhaul the way courts dispose of asbestos cases, but that has become bogged down in negotiations among trial lawyers, unions, manufacturers and insurers.
MORE: Shameless Self-Promotion Alert: Please, leave links to useful commentary in the comments.
UPDATE: Undaunted! Glenn Reynolds links to Politology, a group that wants to carry the fight to the House. The CW is that this bill can not be stopped in the House, but they only say that because it's never been done. Besides, an e-mail doesn't even cost 37 cents.
Folks who plan to fight on (don't rush me) ought to check something - where is Rush Limbaugh positioned on this bill? Could he be re-positioned?
Last point - I am not going to instruct activists in how to boil water for coffee, but - is there a House committee this bill needs to clear? Are there Congressman who might be swayed by phone calls, e-mail, and a letter campaign to their home-town newspapers? Who are the targets?
MORE: "Last Alliance"? What about opposition to FEC regulation of blogs? Well obviously, "Last Alliance" refers to ancient history. Obviously.