I'm with Ed Morrissey on this. If Harry Reid didn't have the votes, why raise expectations? One possible reason to bring the DREAM act up for a vote was to embarrass the GOP with many Hispanics, knowing it would go down to defeat largely at the hands of Republicans. But it also made Reid look weak.
Three Republicans - Lugar, Murkowski, and Bennett - voted for cloture for the DREAM act while 5 Dems voted against. Did Senator Lugar just guarantee himself a primary opponent?
It will be interesting to see Lugar attempt to defend this vote in a primary fight in a little over a year, a fight he's probably guaranteed himself today. Even if one thought that the act had some merit, why would Lugar vote to pass it in a lame-duck session - especially since the budget has yet to be addressed, as well as the START treaty that he has hinted at supporting?
The other Democrats opposing the bill aren't much of a surprise, except perhaps Kay Hagan in North Carolina. Looks like she's hearing footsteps, too, even though she's not up for her second election until 2014.
It's yet another miscalculation by Reid in a rapidly-closing window of opportunity. If he didn't have six of his own caucus in hand, why press the matter at all? Reid raised expectations and then dashed them, a bad strategy in politics. Thankfully, it's also another denial of a significant imposition of policy by a Congress that voters rejected six weeks ago.
I think Lugar had already guaranteed himself opposition in the primary long before the DREAM act vote. But Lugar is extremely well entrenched and it will take a monumental effort to defeat him in a GOP primary. He would be a near lock in the general election unless the Dems run former Senator Bayh or some similarly well known figure. Bayh may be contemplating a challenge to Obama in 2012 plus, the thought that he would re-enter the senate having just retired is faintly ridiculous. But politics is a strange business and who knows what the landscape will look like 2 years from now?