I wish I could say this level of spinelessness is surprising, but the U.S. Senate is a club for jellyfish, so it's totally predictable:
At least six Senators who have voted to move forward with the so-called card-check proposal, including one Republican, now say they are opposed or not sure -- an indication that Senate Democratic leaders are short of the 60 votes they need for approval...
The legislation is divisive and distracting, said Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln in an interview Monday. The Democratic lawmaker, who was previously seen as a supporter, said the Senate should focus on creating jobs and improving the U.S. economy. "I have 90,000 Arkansans who need a job, that's my No. 1 priority," she said. The legislation, she said, would be "divisive and we don't need that right now."
Expect this "divisive" talking point to be the meme du jour - it's perfect for lawmakers who desperately want to avoid talking about the substance of the issue, and instead need a process argument to justify their gutlessness. In this case, we're getting the Unity Pony - ie. the claim that at this Very Serious Time of Emergency, we need Bipartisan Broder-esque Unity - and we simply can't afford the "division" that would occur in D.C.'s elite circles if Congress tried to strengthen workers' basic right to form a union. Because, ya know, employers illegally firing workers in more than a quarter of all union elections isn't "divisive."
Same arguments, different issues - but now, with almost 60 Democratic votes in the Senate, and therefore no credible Republican foil to blame legislative failure on.