Tonight Harry Reid called for cloture on the auto bill, knowing he didn’t have the votes. 

Chris Dodd spoke for working people, and expressed his disbelief that the Senate could let this happen right now (YouTube).   Talk about your War on Christmas.

Corker of Tennesee then went on to make an impassioned speech about how close they came to a deal, the only sticking point was that the UAW wouldn’t commit to a date to accept salary parity with what workers in foreign auto companies make.  Mind you, the Republicans didn’t ask for commitments from dealers or creditors or bond holders or suppliers, just blue collar workers.  So that was really where the only problem was going to arise.

Funny, none of these bastards demanded wage and benefit cuts for Wall Street workers in the $700 billion bank bailout.

Before the vote, Reid said  "I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow" — with a smile.

When I suggested that Reid call their bluff and make the Republicans filibuster and watch as the stock market tanked in their wake, I never thought he’d do it.  Gotta hand it to him — for the time being any way, he’s not letting the red state culture warriors railroad the unions. 

Final vote:  52-35, with Tester and Lincoln defecting from the Dems.

Reid says the Senate is now in pro-forma session and they don’t anticipate reconvening before next year.  

We’re now in a giant game of chicken.   Will Bush and Paulson blink?

Update:  Reid statement – 

"Given the unhappy choice between a bridge loan and bankruptcy, Democrats have always believed that we must give the Big Three and the millions of Americans they employ every possible chance to succeed.

 "By rejecting every good-faith bipartisan compromise – including those from the White House and Senator Bob Corker – it is now abundantly clear that Republicans have no interest in keeping the Big Three from collapsing.

 "Because Republicans failed to act, three million Americans are more likely than ever to lose their jobs and our economy is at risk of suffering even greater damage.  Our hearts go out to those families who will now have to deal with this burden as the holidays near.

 "Republicans may think that rejecting this legislation sent a message to the auto industry.  Instead, they sent a message to every single American that they are more interested in settling scores than solving problems."

I think this erases all doubt — the Republicans quite plainly want the economy to fail.  

Update II, per Atrios:  Futures already plunging.

Update III:  Is Bush blinking?