I was looking at an Interactive Map (thanks, Time Magazine) of Nay votes in the House of Representatives on the deal to raise the debt ceiling (AKA HR 5775). I wanted to see if there was some pattern, some plague spread of lunacy that led these individuals to endorse defaulting on the U.S. debt.
All the infected were Republicans, of course. (Here's a roll call, if you're interested.) But the victims (yes, we're actually the victims, but stick with the metaphor) were not necessarily where you would expect them (or where I would expect them, knowing nothing of the geographic underpinnings of the Tea Party besides its Koch funding). As far as the general pattern goes, is it the Confederacy? Does a river run through it? Yes and no, but with some pockets of immunity and some outlying outbreaks.
More musings after the jump.
The 144 Tea Thinkers who voted Nay on 5775 constituted more than 60% of the GOP representation, so it was not a minority within the House's technical Majority party. In some states, all of the Republican House members voted against the debt ceiling increase. Texas, home of the TP Cruzer (pictured), was one of those hotbeds of default, with all two dozen Texpublicans showing a solid front of Lone Star stubbornness. Other states where the GOP reps were unanimous in their denunciation of the perils of healthcare for all and paying our bills were, from West to East: Oregon, Utah (3), Arizona (4), New Mexico, Wyoming, South Dakota, Missouri (6), Tennessee (7), Georgia (9), South Carolina (6). (Oregon and New Mexico only have one GOP rep; Wyoming and South Dakota only have one House rep, period.).
The lone Oregonian is the outlier among the plague states; the rest is pretty much a Red State roll call. However, among the remaining reliably reds, North Dakota jumped ship, and more significantly, in the heart of the Ozarks, the entire state of Arkansas -- all 4 Rep. reps -- voted Yea (and they didn't even get a dam), as did all 3 Nebraskans, 3 out of 4 Coloradans, and Alaska's single rep (Sarah Palin must be stricken). Another defector was West Virginia, following its Civil War pattern in breaking from the Confederacy to offer its two votes.
The rest of the South was mostly solid, (if you move the Mason-Dixon line from above Maryland to above Tennessee/North Carolina) with only 8 Yea voters among the 27 in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and North Carolina. Florida and Virginia showed their purple split, but there were more significant intrusions of Tea Party syndrome in the Rust Belt, particularly Ohio and Michigan (and Wisconsin, but that seems more like the Cheese Belt).
I welcome any theories that explain the sensibility that overtook Arkansas and West Virginia, or the lunacy that overtook Wisconsin. They weren't following the split in the Senate. Only Texas voted No in both chambers, so it is clearly the state most in need of political quarantine; Alabama and Idaho had both Senators vote No, but one House GOPer vote Yea.