A compendium of reports from the mainstream media, observations from MSNBC and CNN, and a small dash of fact for added spice. -------------------------------- http://opinionjournal.com from "Best of the Web Today" by James Taranto 90-6 GOP obstructionism stands between innocent terrorists and freedom. During the dark days of the Bush administration, the United States of America held hundreds of innocent terrorists without charge in a maximum-security detention facility in a communist country. Barack Obama was elected on a promise to end this injustice, and just days after taking office, he issued an executive order promising to keep that promise. It was a victory for American values, but it is now being snatched away by Republican obstructionists. "The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open for the foreseeable future and forbid the transfer of any detainees to facilities in the United States," the Associated Press reports from Washington. The vote was 90-6, but the lopsided headcount obscures how close it really was. For one thing, because Norm Coleman refuses to do the graceful thing and crawl back under whatever rock he came from, the Senate seat that rightfully belongs to Al Franken remains vacant. Another three senators--Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia--were not present for the vote. Kennedy in particular would surely have voted to close Guantanamo, given that waterboarding was practiced at a nearby facility thousands of miles away. As a young man, Kennedy lost someone dear to him in a water-related tragedy, so his sensitivity on this question is particularly acute. If Franken, Kennedy, Byrd and Rockefeller had all voted against the measure to keep Guantanamo open, that would have brought the total vote to 90-10. Now it becomes clear how crucial Republican obstructionism was to carrying out this atrocity. For reasons known only to the voters, the Senate still has 40 Republicans. And if there's one thing we know about Republicans, it's that they never brook dissent. Like goose-stepping lemmings, all 40 of them--every single one--voted in favor of the hell-camp at Guantanamo. If they had voted the other way (and Franken, Kennedy, Byrd and Rockefeller had voted "no"), the vote would have been a 50-50 tie. In the event of a Senate tie, the vice president casts the deciding vote. We're not sure where Joe Biden stands on this matter, but it seems at least possible that he agrees with President Obama's firm position that Guantanamo needs to be closed yesterday. Well, anyway, a year from yesterday. Yet even with 50 votes plus Biden's, America's values wouldn't necessarily be safe. Republicans could still block the closing of Guantanamo by mounting a filibuster, assuming they could get 41 Democrats to join them. And there is evidence that Democrats may be weak-minded enough to do just that. Remember the Iraq war? In 2003 Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) explained that he had been duped into supporting it by Republican mind tricks. Kerry, who served in Vietnam, had plenty of company. In all, 29 Democrats voted for the war, or 30 if you count Arlen Specter (R2-D2, Pa.), who was present for the vote because of a mysterious "scheduling concord." Dick Cheney worked his sinister magic on them and gulled them into thinking that "to authorize the use of United States armed forces against Iraq" meant, We'll resolve this with Saddam over tea, and if that doesn't work, we'll resolve it over more tea. Well, guess what? Cheney is still around, blatantly violating the rule that says former vice presidents are supposed to dummy up and support the new administration.** And 19 of those highly suggestible Democrats, including Kerry and Specter, are still in the Senate. Eighteen of them voted against closing Guantanamo. Coincidence? Thus Republican obstructionism turned what should have been an overwhelming 68-vote victory into a narrow 90-6 defeat. And while it was a defeat for President Obama and for America's most treasured values, let's not lose sight of who the real victims are: innocent terrorists who have never done anything worse than participate in mass murder. ** Does not apply if Earth is in the Balance.