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It turns out that the one thing Republicans thought they were good at - "No!" - they can't get right. Congressional Quarterly has taken a mid-year look at voting patterns on the Hill, and if one thing is clear, a heck of a lot of GOPers seem to love doing exactly what Obama asks. In the House, fourty-four Republicans (fully a quarter of their caucus) have voted in support of measures where the President has "clearly indicated his preferences" at least 50% of the time. This includes hardcore conservatives like Vern Buchanan and Adam Putnam. By contrast, not a single Dem even hit the 40% mark last year when Bush was still in the White House.

The Senate side is even more remarkable. Thanks in part to the GOP's refusal to put up much of a fight on Obama's nominees (despite a whole lot of bluster and ugly, antidemocratic holds), fully thirty-two out of the mere 40 Republicans in the Senate have backed the Obama agenda at least half the time. Even serious mouth-breathers like Jeff Sessions and Saxby Chambliss are on this list. And half of this group has voted with Obama at 60% or greater clip:

State Senator %age
ME Collins 92
ME Snowe 92
OH Voinovich 83
NH Gregg 82
IN Lugar 78
AK Murkowski 70
FL Martinez 69
TN Corker 68
MO Bond 67
TN Alexander 65
UT Hatch 65
MS Cochran 64
SC Graham 63
NE Johanns 63
AZ McCain 62

Collins & Snowe are worthy of extra attention. CQ also offers a second metric, called "party unity," which judges how often a member of Congress votes with their party overall. Snowe has voted with the Republicans just 44% of the time, and Collins 49%. This means that on all matters, routine and profound, the two Senators from Maine vote with Democrats more often than with Republicans.

I would say that they ought to follow Arlen Specter's lead and just switch sides already. But since such a huge chunk of the GOP - including a majority of its Senate caucus - prefers to support the President's vision for this country more often than not, I can see why Collins & Snowe might stay put. After all, it's just the party that pretends to say no.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 10:18 AM PDT.

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