Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Any Hope From 10 "Anti-War" Republicans?


This morning Ken Rudin did a piece for NPR on the conservative call for Sarah Palin to replace Michael Steele as chair of the RNC, a brouhaha caused by Steele stumbling onto the futility of a ground war in Afghanistan in remarks meant to be merely as routine partisan attack on Obama.
Initially, the outrage came mostly from Democrats, who were angry at Steele's effort to politicize a war that began well before President Obama took office.

But then more and more Republicans weighed in. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), appearing on ABC News' This Week from Kabul, called Steele's remarks "wildly inaccurate" and questioned whether he could remain as GOP chair. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), on Fox News Sunday, said Steele's comments were "unacceptable" and called on him to "apologize to our military, all the men and women who've been fighting in Afghanistan." On CBS' Face the Nation, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he was "dismayed, angry and upset" with Steele, calling his remarks "uninformed, unnecessary, unwise," and said they "couldn't have come at a worse time."

...With Steele's comments came calls for him to step down, notably from Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard; Liz Cheney, a daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney and head of "Keep America Safe;" Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a former head of the National Republican Congressional Committee; and Katon Dawson, the former South Carolina state GOP chair who ran against Steele to head up the national party.

Kevin Williamson, blogging at National Review, has a solution: Replace Steele with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin...

Democrats would hate to lose the inept, bumbling Steele but most think Palin would be an even better symbol of all that's gone so wrong with the GOP. And that's a lot of wrong.

In fact, this might be a good time to ask if there's anything right with the Republican Party. The short answer is "no," not a single thing. However... yesterday I had a talk with a friend of mine in Congress who's sincerely devoted to ending the occupation of and war against Afghanistan. He's very serious about it. So serious, in fact, that he was one of only a tiny handful of Congressmen who voted for all three anti-war amendments last week. They all failed but, interestingly, between the 3 of them they garnered 10 Republican votes. I pointed out to my friend that these 9 Republicans are, in general and almost always, dependable right-wing fanatics so conservative that they clearly unfit for public office. He said he'd lay down next to anyone who voted against the war. Let's take a look at the 10 Republicans.

The toughest vote of all [Amendment 3] was the no-foolin' around vote: no more money except to bring the troops home safely NOW. 22 Democrats voted for it-- and 22 anti-war Democrats voted "present-- and 3 Republicans joined the YES votes: John Duncan (TN), Tim Johnson (IL) and Ron Paul (TX). The next strongest bill, Barbara Lee's Amendment 4 gave Obama until September 30 to end the war and 7 Republicans joined 93 Democrats in favor, the strongest anti-war showing so far. The Republicans were John Campbell (CA), Jason Chaffetz (UT), John Duncan (TN), Tim Johnson (IL), Walter Jones (NC), Ron Paul (TX), and Dana Rohrabacher (CA). And the final vote, Jim McGovern's Amendment 5 would have required the president to present Congress with 1) a new National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan by January 31, 2011 and 2) a plan by April 4, 2011 on the safe, orderly and expeditious redeployment of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, including a timeframe for the completion of the redeployment. This one had very significant support-- 153 Democrats and 9 Republicans. Campbell dropped out and Ginny Brown-Waite (FL), Vern Ehler (MI) (both of whom are retiring) and Howard Coble (NC) joined the other 6 who voted for Lee's amendment.

None of the 10 could be considered a "moderate," with the possible exception of Ehlers, a mainstream conservative who hasn't moved to the extreme right the way his party has, making him a relative moderate I suppose. His career-long ProgressivePunch score when it came to crossing the aisle on substantive, close votes is 12.72, less "progressive" only than the quirky Ron Paul, 2 ex-Dixiecrats who switched to the GOP (Rodney Alexander and Ralph Hall) and two Republicans representing overwhelmingly Democratic districts (Ahn Cao and Mike Castle). Let's take the issue of Choice. All 10 have anti-Choice voting records. Their scores:
Ron Paul- 19.35
Vern Ehlers- 6.06
Tim Johnson- 6.06
Ginny Brown-Waite- 4.76
Walter Jones- 3.03
John Campbell- 0
Jason Chaffetz- 0
Howard Coble- 0
John Duncan- 0
Dana Rohrabacher- 0

Similarly, when Congress has voted on equality for LGBT people, none of these Republicans have moderate records. They all have homophobic records. 31 Republicans voted for Patrick Murphy's amendment to tentatively abolish Don't Ask, Don't Tell but of this group only Walter Jones showed up. The rest voted against it. Here are the overall, career-long scores of supporting equality for gays:
Ron Paul- 16.67
Vern Ehlers- 7.14
Ginny Brown-Waite- 6.67
Tim Johnson- 6.67
John Campbell- 0
Jason Chaffetz, a leader of GOP anti-gay extremists- 0
Howard Coble- 0
John Duncan- 0
Walter Jones- 0
Dana Rohrabacher- 0 (closet case)

And so it goes, across the board. Last week when the House voted to extend emergency unemployment insurance to laid off workers, only Ehlers, Jones and Johnson were among the 29 Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats, although even those 3 voted with the GOP to kill the bill earlier the same day. And on June 30, when the House passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, only Walter Jones joined the Democrats in voting YES. The week before that, when the House passed the DISCLOSE Act to make even modest reforms on election finance, none of these Republicans crosssed over to vote with the Democrats. And of course, not a single one of them voted for healthcare reform.

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At 10:46 AM, Anonymous me said...

Palin replacing Steele - OMG. The idea is so astounding for so many reasons, good and bad, that I'm almost speechless.


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