Even though 54 Senate Democrats supported the public option (i.e., a majority with votes to spare), they still had to kill it – just to appease Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and Joe Lieberman. We then had to dump the Medicare compromise, because the White House told them to give Joe Lieberman everything he wants. Why? Because you need 60 Senators to block a filibuster and bring a vote to the floor – so we “needed” all sixty Democrats on board. Now Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is up for confirmation, and a growing chorus of liberals – like Barbara Boxer and Jeff Merkley – are opposing him. But yesterday, the Senate leadership said they expect Democrats who oppose Benanke to allow cloture to pass – even if they ultimately vote “no” on his confirmation. So the man who enabled Wall Street to rip off billions just needs 51 Senators to keep his job. All of a sudden, there’s a real difference between a filibuster – and voting “no.”

Do they really think we’re that stupid? Apparently, yes. And this is nothing new. The Republicans never had a 60-vote majority in the Senate, but that didn’t stop George Bush from doing whatever he wanted. The Bush tax cuts were passed through “reconciliation,” so he only needed 51 Senators. The vote to confirm Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court was 58-42 – enough to have filibustered his nomination. But his cloture motion passed 75-25, which means some Democrats allowed the vote to happen – but could tell their base they said “no” to Alito after it was too late. Now the Court has thrown out (by one vote) 100 years of campaign finance jurisprudence, because they think corporations are people too.

I can come up with more examples, but I think you get my point. Never mind what the voters said when they asked for change. In politics, it’s “heads I win, tails you lose.”