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October 11, 2005

Holding Faithless Democrats Accountable

In The Defectors, The American Prospect's Robert Kuttner and Asheesh Kapur Siddique highlight 15 faithless House Democrats who have the unfortunate habit of voting for Bush's core policy priorities: CAFTA, repealing the estate tax, reducing bankruptcy protections, and restricting access to the justice system through tort "reform."

Shamefully, two of their "Faithless Fifteen" are Washingtonians:

Brian Baird - Voted for: bankruptcy bill, estate-tax repeal, tort "reform"
Rick Larsen - Voted for: bankruptcy bill, estate-tax repeal, tort "reform"

Two more are Oregonians:

Darlene Hooley - Voted for: bankruptcy bill, estate-tax repeal
David Wu - Voted for: bankruptcy bill, tort "reform"

These are not folks representing "swing" districts -- they won 2004 races by margins that range from 9% (Hooley) to 30% (Larsen)

Both party leadership and local grassroots activists need to do a better job of holding leaders who break the faith accountable.  This needs to be done through a combination of inside baseball and local grassroots pressure. 

So far, I'm not seeing many signs of either.  Most local political activists are quick to fall into the "lesser of two evils" argument, in which any attempt to call faithless leaders on their betrayals gets tagged as "not being a team player." 

And let's not even get started on Maria Cantwell, who also voted for CAFTA, the bankruptcy bill and tort "reform" too.  Faithless. 

Posted by Jon Stahl on October 11, 2005 at 04:32 PM in Policy | Permalink


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I agree that it is constituents duty and I wonder what the experiences have been like for these guys coming home. I know when my congressman voted against repealing having big brother moniter what I read at the library, I gave him hell in writing, online and by phone. I am sure he got a lot of that as he made it a point of showcasing his vote the other way the next time.

Posted by: Nindid | Oct 11, 2005 8:36:20 PM

Did Patty Murray also vote for CAFTA? I don't want to make a nasty reply to her next fund raising letter by mistake.

Posted by: merlallen | Oct 12, 2005 2:37:51 AM

She voted YES.

Posted by: Jacob Metcalf | Oct 12, 2005 10:19:12 AM

What a shock, the members of the incumbent class, who want their re-elections well funded, voting against their own party.

It's esp. funny to see Cantwell voting against the bankruptcy bill, given her own woes with her stock/loan PAC money issues.

Oh well. At least their not republicans who woulda voted most of the same way. I think some of them are even pro choice!

Posted by: Greg Dewar | Oct 12, 2005 5:20:36 PM

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