Thursday, September 29, 2005

Red Democrats Vote for Roberts

[EDIT: Michelle Malkin has more; The Political Teen has video.]

As Best of the Web likes to point out often, it is interesting to see how Senators and Congressmen vote on contentious issues - particularly when they live in a state where the voters might disagree.

Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed earlier today by a 78-22 margin, with all 55 Republicans, Jeffords, and half of the Democrats voting to confirm. Breaking down the Democrats:

Yes (23) No (22)
Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) Barbara Boxer (Calif.)
Mark Pryor (Ark.) Dianne Feinstein (Calif.)
Ken Salazar (Colo.) Joe Biden (Del.)
Chris Dodd (Conn.) Daniel Akaka (Hawaii)
Joe Lieberman (Conn.) Daniel Ionuye (Hawaii)
Tom Carper (Del.) Dick Durbin (Ill.)
Bill Nelson (Fla.) Barack Obama (Ill.)
Mary Landrieu (La.) Evan Bayh (Ind.)
Carl Levin (Mich.) Tom Harkin (Iowa)
Max Baucus (Mont.) Ted Kennedy (Mass.)
Ben Nelson (Neb.) John Kerry (Mass.)
Jeff Bingaman (N.M.) Barbara Mikulski (Md.)
Kent Conrad (N.D.) Paul Sarbanes (Md.)
Byron Dorgan (N.D.) Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)
Ron Wyden (Ore.) Mark Dayton (Minn.)
Tim Johnson (S.D.) Harry Reid (Nev.)
Jim Jeffords (Vt.)* Jon Corzine (N.J.)
Pat Leahy (Vt.) Frank Lautenberg (N.J.)
Patty Murray (Wash.) Hillary Clinton (N.Y.)
Robert Byrd (W.Va.) Chuck Schumer (N.Y.)
Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) Jack Reed (R.I.)
Russ Feingold (Wis.) Maria Cantwell (Wash.)
Herb Kohl (Wis.)

Notice the red and blue: Those names that are in red are from "red"-voting, or Bush states; those that are in blue are from states which voted for John Kerry.

Of the "blue-state" Senators: Both Senators from New York, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Hawaii all voted against Roberts. All of those states were solid blue in 2004, and are traditionally left in their views. Dayton (MN) is retiring; Biden may be running for President, and doesn't want to alienate the left. Stabenow (MI) has low ratings, is in a pretty heavily Democratic state - and is due up for re-election. With Michigan being a highly Arab state, a vote for Roberts could hurt her, as Roberts seems to favor the President having stronger powers to jail suspected terrorists, something the Arab community is not in favor of. Cantwell (WA) is also in a strong blue state, and is up for re-election in '06; Reed is in a strong blue state as well.

The red-staters are more interesting: Only three "red-state" Senators voted against Roberts: Bayh, Harkin, and Reid. Harkin is from Iowa, which elected Bush by 13,500 votes; Reid from Nevada, where Bush won by 21,000. Reid is not a surprise, as he is the Minority Leader of the Senate, and has always been far more to the left, and may be planning a Presidential bid. Harkin, too, is notoriously far to the left. Bayh has one of the best approval ratings in the Senate (full list here), and wants to keep the left-wing on his side if he decides to run for President.

The blue-staters who voted for Roberts deserve credit for standing up for what is right: Leahy (discussed here), Dodd & Lieberman (CT), and Kohl & Feingold (WI) [the last four are all well known for their integrity; I've met Feingold and Kohl and have been impressed]. Wyden, Carper, Levin, and Murray are the more surprising ones, though only Carper is up for re-election in '06, which allows the other three to not worry very much on the effect this vote may have on their futures - particularly if they vote against Bush's next nominee.

What may be most interesting in all this is how Carper's vote effects his chances in the next election - while the red-staters have essentially made their judge vote a non-issue (at least so far), Carper has turned his back on the left wing of his party. On the other hand, he may be catering to the right, figuring the left will vote for him anyway.

The red-staters who voted for Roberts are interesting as well: Excluding the three above, all the rest of the red-staters voted for Roberts, not wishing to alienate the majority of their state. Four of them are up for re-election in '06, and voting against Roberts - who most of the country feel is very qualified - would have been an easy way to cost themselves the election.

Today's Best of the Web, I have just seen, says the same things, so I will stop here. Read his analysis for a bit more detail.

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  1. The one senator who surprised me was Bayh. He's always had a reputation of being moderate. I'd have to agree that some political maneuvering came into his decision.

    About Feingold: He was the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act when it was passed in 2001 (Kerry forgot to tell us about the overwhelming support it got from Senate Democrats). While one might disagree with Feingold's vote, it sure took guts.

  2. Feingold, as much as one may disagree with him, should be respected for his consistency and guts. Great example.

    Bayh surprised me as well. But he's so popular, he can do what he wants and Indiana will still vote him in. This has to be pandering to the left for an '08 run.