Postscript on the Immigration Vote

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Allah pundit on Hot Air has watched the video of the Senate roll call and reconstructed the order in which the votes were cast. He notes that in the first round of alphabetical-order voting, six senators who had voted for cloture on Tuesday voted against it: Bond, Domenici, Ensign, Murkowski, Stevens, and Webb. That was a pretty clear signal cloture was going to lose, since cloture requires 60 votes and had gotten 64 on Tuesday; the only possibility of its going the other way was if some who had voted against it Tuesday switched, and at that point none had. On the contrary, two seen as possible no-to-yes switchers had voted no again: Bayh and Stabenow.

In subsequent rounds, Bingaman switched from yes to no; that switch from a New Mexico Democrat showed cloture to be in even more trouble. Then, in rapid succession, four senators who had voted yes on Tuesday voted no—Burr, Harkin, Pryor, and Ben Nelson—raising the number of "no" votes to 38, just two fewer than the 40 needed to defeat cloture (because Johnson was, as he has been all this year, absent). Shortly thereafter, McCaskill and Shelby, who had voted no on Tuesday and were committed to doing so again, cast the 39th and 40th no votes.

That meant that cloture was going down, and senators who might have cast a "yes" vote if it had been needed were now free to vote no. The next "no" votes came from Barrasso (a "no" vote on Tuesday, up for election in 2008), Collins (a switcher, up in 2008), Thune (no on Tuesday). And then Brownback (running for president), who had voted yes early, switched his vote to no—which he had planned to do all along, he said. Then we got the following yes-to-no switches—Coleman (up in 2008), McConnell (up in 2008), Brown (a labor stalwart), Warner (up in 2008, may retire), and, casting the last vote, Voinovich (up in 2008, fresh from a tussle with talk radio host Sean Hannity on Wednesday).