It’s an attack ad that writes itself: The House Republican leader, Rep. John Boehner (Ohio), votes with liberal Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a majority of the time.
The statistic seems impossible to believe, given the ferocity with which Boehner denounces Pelosi, the progressive champion of San Francisco elitism and favorite GOP villain.
But it’s true, according to an analysis by Democrats. Boehner has voted with the Democratic leadership 52 percent of the time in 2010. So has Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), chairman of the Republican conference and former head of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the House Republican whip, and Rep. Pete Sessions (Tex.), head of the GOP’s House campaign committee, are even cozier with Pelosi. They’ve voted with her 57 percent of the time.
And Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), the conservative firebrand who has compared the Democratic agenda to socialism? She’s with Pelosi on 58 percent of House votes.
The data come from a Democratic leadership review of the 565 roll call votes in the House from January through the end of September, when Congress left Washington for the campaign trail. Since the Speaker herself rarely votes, the comparison is made using the recommended vote of the party leadership.
The percentages do not reveal a hidden bipartisanship in the rancorous 111th Congress, but they do throw into sharp relief the statistic that campaign ad makers use more than any other to cast opponents as ideological rubberstamps.
Republican campaigns nationwide are running dozens of ads that cite the percentage of time an incumbent Democrat votes with Pelosi.
In Alabama’s 2nd district, the National Republican Congressional Committee attacks Democratic Rep. Bobby Bright in radio and television ads for voting “with Pelosi 70 percent of the time” since 2009. In Idaho’s 1st district, Republican Raul Labrador’s ad criticizes Rep. Walt Minnick (D) for voting “with Obama/Pelosi over 70 percent.” Bright and Minnick of two of the most conservative Democrats in the House who opposed their party’s major agenda items.
The percentage appears high, but when Bright and Minnick are compared with the conservative Bachmann, the difference is only a few dozen votes. And compared with more centrist Republicans like Reps. Tim Murphy (Pa. – 66 percent with Pelosi) and Charlie Dent (Pa. – 65 percent), the disparity is even smaller.
The explanation for the elevated voting percentages is simple: While hotly-disputed legislation on healthcare, climate change and government spending command the public’s attention, the vast majority of congressional votes occur on more mundane and non-controversial items, like the naming of post offices or designating weeks or months to cancer awareness and other causes.
Social security is veering perilously close to the chopping block, unemployment is at over 10%, insurers are hiking up fees for sick kids’ , the big banks are trying to get away with what the Cassandra of Derivatives calls, “the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets,” … just to name a few of the concerns from a day in the life of an ordinary American… and what is the Democratic leadership up to?
Answer: Conducting serious study on how much Congress votes alike on procedural and mundane votes and how few votes there are where they actually vote on anything big that they disagree on.
Yeah, I sure remember all the diligence and painstaking efforts taken to achieve clarity about the facts when Obamacrats ran around like banshees screaming John McCain votes with George Bush 95% of the time, ergo any Hillary supporter who wouldn’t immediately jump up for joy to vote for Obama in June of 2008 must be a Republican.
Screw all of you DINOcrats and the asshat unity pony you rode in on in 2008.
Since you’re making it abundantly clear that it comes down to those big votes, all you are doing is reminding voters that when those big votes come down the pike you vote in a bipartisan matter with the GOP when you think the American people aren’t looking and will miss it, and when you actually bother to vote differently than the GOP it’s often to vote for unhelpful crap like a junk insurance mandate.
Hello? If it comes down to GOP and GOP clone, the rightwing is going to vote for the real thing and everybody else has less and less reason to vote.
It is no wonder that “a majority of voters say they want a viable third party in politics” (also from The Hill):
A majority of likely voters think a viable third party would be good for American politics, according to a new poll of likely voters in 10 key open House districts. Those voters are split, however, on whether the Tea Party should be that alternative.
Fifty-four percent of respondents in The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll said they’d like an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.
That number rose to 67 percent for self-identified independents. But even a plurality in the established parties — 49 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Republicans — said they’d like another choice.
“That’s probably the strongest number I’ve seen in a poll of people in America saying that they’re interested in a third party,” said pollster Mark Penn.
“There’s a record number of Independents and a record number of people looking for a possible third party,” he said. “And that’s a big finding. There’s an opportunity here.”
The Hill’s poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, which surveyed 4,047 likely voters in 10 open districts. The overall sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percent.
“I think there’s a greater potential for a third party than perhaps [at] any time in our history,” said Mark McKinnon, a Republican strategist and former adviser to George W. Bush. “There is a very broad level of dissatisfaction throughout the electorate — right, left and middle.
“I think what’s happened goes beyond general dissatisfaction with the economy,” he added. “They want a new way — they want to feel empowered again.”
Well we can look past Mark Penn’s spin and the spin of Bushie McKinnon and just look at the raw polling data and trends for ourselves. Hell, as nice as it is to have the data, we don’t even need that.
We knew the frustration that was setting in for the electorate back when these asshats were yelling at us that John McCain votes with Bush 95% of the time and only a racist Republican or vagina voter wouldn’t be convinced immediately at that to vote for Barack Obama.
Look at how the ad to the right plays now. You can just put Obama’s face over McCain’s.
Here is the 1% of the time President O. decides differently than President W. (via the NYT, “Education of a President“):
As he welcomed me, I told him I liked what he had done with the place. Gone was George W. Bush’s yellow sunburst carpet (it says “optimistic person,” Bush would tell practically anyone who visited), and in its place was a much-derided earth-tone rug with inspirational quotations. The curved walls now had striped tan wallpaper, and the coffee table had been replaced by a walnut-and-mica table that, Obama noted, would resist stains from water glasses. The bust of Winston Churchill was replaced by one of Martin Luther King Jr. The couches were new. He told me he was happy with the redecorating of the office. “I know Arianna doesn’t like it,” he said lightly. “But I like taupe.”
Speaking of attack ads that write themselves, that last bit in bold would make a good one. Ick.
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