Splitting hairs on the Bernanke vote
In the Bernanke confirmation vote this afternoon, seven senators wanted to be seen opposing Bernanke but didn’t actually want to stop his confirmation. In other words, they wanted a campaign talking point, not an actual fight.
Simple maneuver: As with most business in the Senate, Bernanke’s confirmation only required 51 votes. But before getting to the final vote, the Senate must first vote to cut off debate. Cloture, it’s called.
Seven senators, including six Democrats, voted aye on cloture and then flipped to nay on the motion to confirm:
Six Dems: Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Al Franken (Minn.), Tom Harkin (Iowa), Kaufman (Del.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), and Byron Dorgan (N.D.)
One Rep: George LeMieux (Fla.)