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Visual depiction of roll call vote on Amash NSA amendment, based on GovTrack's ideology scores
Amash amendment roll call vote, based on GovTrack's ideology scores
Wednesday's vote on the Amash amendment was one of the most unusual votes taken in the House in a long time. The proposal, to end the National Security Agency's authority to collect phone records and other records indiscriminately, failed by a very narrow 205-217 margin. Usually, when a vote is that close, it means the leadership of both parties whipped the votes hard and the breakdown is almost purely along party lines. However, the NSA vote worked nothing like that: Democrats narrowly voted to limit the NSA's authority, 111-83, while Republicans narrowly voted against it, 94-134. It was one of those rare votes that exposes that there are other fissures at work in the House than the pure D/R divide; if anything, it reveals where the establishment/anti-establishment divide falls within each party.

(Before we go further, if you're wondering "who is this heroic Amash person, and where can I donate to him?" take a few moments to learn more about him. Justin Amash, a sophomore Republican from the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area is one of the most conservative members of the House, maybe the closest thing to a standard-bearer for the selectively libertarian Paulist movement in the House since the retirement of Ron Paul himself. Amash is one of those people who believes that the government should do nothing. A la the proverbial stopped clock that's right twice a day, that may lead to some common cause with those on the left in cases of intrusive overreach, but his desire to defang the NSA is merely one signpost on an ideological route that, for him, has a target destination of a survival-of-the-fittest hellscape.)

While it's hard to conclusively discern any sort of pattern in the votes, one that leaps out right away is that most of the leadership in both parties voted "no" on the bills, while the further away from leadership one is, the likelier a member was to vote "aye." On the Dem side, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Steve Israel, for instance, were all "no" votes; on the GOP side, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Greg Walden, Jim Lankford, and Virginia Foxx were all "no" votes, along with ex-leaders like Pete Sessions, and Tom Cole. (A few of the less prominent leadership members, however, were "aye" votes, especially on the Dem side, including Jim Clyburn, Xavier Becerra, and Joseph Crowley; on the Republican side, the highest-ranking "aye" vote was Cathy McMorris Rodgers.)

Contrast that with the Republicans who have been the biggest thorns in Boehner's side: Down the line, they voted "aye." That includes all 10 Republicans who, at the start of the term, we declared Boehner's "10 worst frenemies" (mostly because of their votes against him for speaker): Justin Amash himself, as well as Jim Bridenstine, Paul Broun, Louis Gohmert, Tim Huelskamp, Walter Jones, Tom Massie, Steve Pearce, Ted Yoho and Steve Stockman. Other "ayes" included Raul Labrador, who also was involved in the fizzled anti-Boehner coup at the start of the term, David Schweikert, one of the other members purged off of plum committees by Boehner, and Kerry Bentivolio, another quasi-Paulist who seems to have wandered into the House by accident.

Much more analysis over the flip ...

Nevertheless, some of the House GOP's top-tier whackjobs still voted "no." Most prominently, that includes Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Phil Gingrey and Trent Franks as well as the aforementioned Foxx (who somehow has managed to rise recently to #6 in the GOP House hierarchy). These are slightly different beasts, though: These are folks who tend to get lumped in with the tea party because of their sheer loudness, but who really aren't coming from the same ideological place (let's call it half-assed-libertarianism) as the "frenemies" squad. Instead, they tend to be more motivated by social conservatism or xenophobia, stances that aren't necessarily at odds with intrusive data collection and scrutiny. Arkansas freshman Tom Cotton was another prominent "no" vote; he was elected with "tea party" written all over him, but seems to have thrown his lot in with the national security types, to the extent that he's already considered the neo-cons' biggest little rising star in the House (and possibly, soon, Senate).

In the Democratic caucus, there's also a similar insider/outsider dynamic at work; most of the members of the Progressive Caucus, on the Dems' left flank, voted "aye," while the more moderate members, especially those in swingy districts who may face tough races next year, tended to vote "no." That provides a notable difference with the Republicans: the members least likely to vote for the party's leader (like Mike McIntyre, Jim Matheson, Jim Cooper, Dan Lipinski, and John Barrow, who all voted for someone other than Nancy Pelosi for speaker) were "no" votes, rather than "ayes" like with the Republicans. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions on the Dem side too; Jan Schakowsky and Louise Slaughter (progressives who are still tight with leadership) were "no" votes, while a number of Dems with hawkish (Brad Sherman) or technocratic (Suzan DelBene) reputations were nevertheless "aye" votes.

Franks amendment roll call vote, based on GovTrack's ideology scores

So, if pushed to describe a trend, you can start to see a pattern where the most liberal members of the Democratic caucus and most conservative members of the Republican caucus were the ones to vote "aye" on the NSA bill, while the more centrist and/or establishment members of the caucuses were likelier to vote "no." You can see that in the above graphic from GovTrack, which arranges the votes left to right according to each member's individual ideology (using an aggregation method similar to DW-Nominate). The red and blue dots (the "ayes") cluster near the left and right ends, with more grey dots (the "nos") in the middle … but even then, the pattern is pretty weak. (Contrast that with what a straight party-line vote looks like, as with the graphic of a recent anti-abortion vote in the House, seen at right.)

The same pattern applies if you look at the lean of the districts that elected the members. As I'm sure you instinctively know, district lean tends to correlate strongly with the ideology of representatives: liberals tend to come from the solidly blue districts, hard-core conservatives from the solidly red ones, and more centrist members from the swingy districts. And, as a result, the "aye" votes tend to come from the bluest and red districts, with the "no" votes shoved to the middle. Nevertheless, there are too many exceptions to call that a strong trend either: Of the 10 bluest districts, there were still three "no" votes (from Greg Meeks, Donald Payne and Frederica Wilson), while of the 10 reddest districts, there were six "no" votes (concentrated in the Texas delegation, which still tends to be more authoritarian than libertarian).

In fact, the idea that certain states tend to be more libertarian-flavored or authoritarian-flavored gets some support from this vote. In particular, the "aye" votes tended to be clustered in the western states, especially the empty ones. All seven members (3 D and 4 R) from Colorado voted "aye," along with all three from New Mexico, four out of five from Oregon, three of four from Utah (with that state's lone Dem, Jim Matheson, the only "no"), and the sole at-large GOP Reps. from Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. (Washington breaks the trend with a "no" majority, with a number of Dem members with military bases in their districts who tend to be more national-security focused.)

Contrast that with the Midwest, which seems disproportionately oriented toward "no" votes; Indiana, oddly enough, seems to be the epicenter, with eight of nine members voting "no." Illinois, with four "ayes" out of 18, and Ohio, with four "ayes" out of 16, also fit that trend. The South, which you might instinctively think is the nation's most authoritarian-flavored region, instead is more of a mixed bag; there are a lot of "no" votes, but "ayes" are strong in states where tea party types have been particularly successful at winning primaries, like Tennessee (eight of nine "aye" votes, with Dem Jim Cooper the only "no") and South Carolina (all seven votes are "aye").

The vague trend that we've discussed—where the middle supports the national-security apparatus and both ends of the spectrum are suspicious of it—points to an interesting chicken-and-egg question about how members vote, when there's no clear partisan Democratic versus Republican break point. Did the members who voted "aye" (the anti-establishment position, in other words) feel more free to vote their conscience because they aren't worried about re-election (or maybe they didn't vote their conscience, but were more worried about an ideological primary rather than the general election)?

Or is a solidly blue or solidly red district likelier to elect an anti-establishmentarian/suspicious-of-the-Man candidate in the first place? Similarly, is a swing district representative likely to be worried about having a "yes" vote held against him in the general, or do swing districts just elect more process-oriented, go-with-the-flow members? Clearly there's no right or wrong answer to that, just as the age-old question of liberty versus security itself creates its own set of ambiguities.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And this coalition may have (8+ / 0-)

    a shelf life of one day.    

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 01:00:41 PM PDT

  •  This was not what the amendment would have done (9+ / 0-)
    The proposal, to end the National Security Agency's authority to collect phone records and other records indiscriminately,
    The amendment would have left all the authority intact. It would have just denied funding to perform certain functions. As soon as another bill came along to provide funding ... here we go again. The bad law which allows this activity would remain unaltered by the Amash amendment.

    It seems to me we should try to understand what was proposed and what was not.

    •  Nobody understands what was proposed, really. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yoshimi, Quicklund, duhban, MichaelNY

      I read it, noted it referred to a section of the statute and required insertion of language in FISA court orders.  I couldn't tell what would be funded and what wouldn't, and I suspect that as drafted it wouldn't be considered a change in the law by the FISA court, because all it said was "follow the statute".

      "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

      by Inland on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:24:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's certainly worth (4+ / 0-)

      pointing out, and I'll agree it's more nuanced than what I said, seeing as how it's part of a broader DOD Appropriations bill, which is entirely about funding various Pentagon functions. I was relying, though, on the plain language of the amendment's title: "H.Amdt. 413 (Amash) to H.R. 2397: To end authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act."

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:57:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well that goes to the nontroversy here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        What a bill claims to do and what it actually does is determined by its language, no its stated intent. See for example the Patriot Act. (Fool me once...) So today we have DK up in arms because some politicians voted against a flawed bill, therefore they must want the US to re-invent the Stasi etc.

        We should strive for greater understanding in politics. Do you not agree?

  •  On the graph (0+ / 0-)

    I can guess the angular (left-right) coordinate, but what is the inside-to-outside coordinate?  Seniority?

    I am pleased to note that my Congressman did not vote against the amendment, despite being iirc #2 on the Rules Committee.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 01:32:52 PM PDT

  •  This voting pattern would appear more (14+ / 0-)

    if all bills actually could come before the House, and not be subject whether Boehner lets them or not.

    Bachman and King are big government, peep in the windows conservatives.  Rank and file Tea Party types and some of the congresscritters are not.  Likewise the big government Dems have a philosophy that supports the governmental machine running efficiently even if it runs over people.

    Civil liberties progressives and personal liberties tea partiers have more than a little overlap on some issues, but we almost never get any votes on that stuff.

    Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

    by tommypaine on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 01:47:10 PM PDT

  •  Greatest myth in politics is the death of, and (4+ / 0-)

    desirability of ... bipartisanship.  There is plenty of bipartisanship on things like this.

  •  The coalition that wasn't is what it was. (5+ / 0-)

    Arizona didn't conform so well to the western libertarian profile on this vote.  There were five votes in favor, four against.

    The four Republicans were 3:1 in favor.  As you noted, Franks was the exception.  I count him as part of the little known Michelle Bachmann caucus, a small group that usually votes in unison, with MB as the apparent ringleader.  Salmon, Schweikert, and Gosar are dumb-as-rocks Republicans who voted for the amendment because big gubmint and also because OBAMA! (can't forgit that.)

    On the Democratic side, there were 2 in favor, 3 against.  
    Grijalva, as co-chair of the Progressive caucus, voted on the straight civil liberties issue.  Ed Pastor represents a district which is 66% Hispanic, centered on the city of Phoenix, and reaching over into Guadaloupe on the east side and outlying suburbs on the west side.  Some of these areas have borne the brunt of Sheriff Joe's rampage.  The population is intimately familiar with what a 4th Amendment violation looks like and can cite examples far more acute than metadata collection.  But abuse is abuse and once it starts, it's hard to stop it.  The three Democrats who voted against the amendment probably believe that the privacy/security trade off is acceptable.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:02:05 PM PDT

    •  I Think there is something to the Regional (4+ / 0-)

      Only the west was firmly in favor of this amendment - 63-36-2.  While Az and Washington were exceptions, there are specific reasons for that, and I don't think it has anything to do with military bases.  Doug fucking Lamborn from Colorado Springs voted Aye and his district's by far (maybe 50%) largest employer is the military (Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, Peterson AFB, NORAD and many others) are there, so don't tell me that military bases were the issue.  As for AZ, Dems do have 3 very vulnerable Democrats there, not a surprise they voted no.  The Dems are still going to vote for them and the tea party ain't.  Most of the swing votes are establishment types and most are Republicans.  Overall the west is no surprise.  The west is different. Unless you were raised in it and live in it, you don't know.  It's just different.  That's why we hate political consultants from the east coast.  They just don't get it.

      To suggest that there is any support in the south for this thing is just nonsense.  This is the heart of the Republican Party of today who believes that government power ought to be used to serve their goals, to hell with the Constitution.  56% of their Reps voted against the amendment.

      To me its no surprise that the Midwest voted the most against the amendment.  60% of their reps voted against the amendment.  From my point of view (having both my parents and many friends from the Midwest) this is just a part of their personal conservatism.  They would never say anything on the internet or over the phone that they wouldn't say in front of a thousand people, so what do they care if the government listens.

      The only surprise for me is the NE.  The NE reflected the vote in general, 49.4% in favor, 44.7% opposed and 5.9% not voting.  So much for the great civil libertarians from NY, Boston, Philadelphia, New Haven and Baltimore.  Thurgood Marshall is turning over in his grave.

      To me the regional difference is huge and mostly expected and explainable.  Give me a western right-wing fruitcake over a southern one any day.  

      Two other observations.  The Hastert rule was broken again today.  A majority of Republicans voted against the amendment.

      What good are the panty-waist conservadems if they won't even support a bi partisan measure with the entire House Republican leadership voting for it?  Frankly, civil liberties are the only thing that holds the Democratic party together.  From my point of view, the no votes should be punished, just like the Republicans punish pro-choice votes.

  •  In a way it's kinda crazy to think (4+ / 0-)

    that any of these fuckwads  - as part and parcel of the federal government apparatus - would vote to diminish their power.

    OTOH, it's kinda sad that they would pay no attention to their constitutional obligations . . .

  •  Any possibility that a good number felt that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, KyleinWA, duhban

    this was a knee-jerk piece of legislation and that more debate was needed before taking action?  

    Can we give them the benefit of the doubt that this is a contentious issue, not everything is known and that there might be honest differences of opinion?

    Personally, I'm heartened that the vote was not another party-line exercise....

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:12:03 PM PDT

  •  36 of 52 New Dems voted NO (10+ / 0-)

    That's a pattern in keeping with the New Democrat Coalition that has been pushing CISPA and FISA.

  •  Mine voted no (3+ / 0-)

    He voted against the Iraq War but I'm afraid he's morphed into a Defense Democrat.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:18:45 PM PDT

  •  Voteview (dw-nominate) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Jarman, MichaelNY

    has been seeing hints of the insider/outsider dynamic. For a debt ceiling vote:

    This pattern again leads us to suggest that the second dimension is picking up divides between establishment and outsider (or perhaps instead classified as a compromise vs. purity) impulses in the 112th Congress.
    We have suggested that the second dimension may be picking up intra-party differences within the Democratic and Republican caucuses in the 112th Congress based on an establishment/outsider divide. Though still too early in the 112th Congress to more deeply assess this trend, this particular vote does support it: Republicans and Democrats with high second dimension scores (and perhaps more “establishment” figures) are classified as supporting the bill.
    They discuss the issue about some previous FISA votes:
    It is too early too tell whether the second dimension is truly capturing an “establishment vs. outsider” divide over issues like domestic surveillance and the debt ceiling in contemporary congressional voting or merely fitting noise on a special subset of roll call votes, but the evidence so far is suggestive that the second dimension may be real and important.

    Intra-Party Divides over Domestic Surveillance, June 12, 2013

    They have some graphs about the Amash amendment vote
    •  Exactly (6+ / 0-)

      I've been taking notice of recent blog posts at the VoteView site (like the one you linked to) about the increasing return of the "second dimension," something that hasn't really been noteworthy since the passage of Civil Rights laws in the 60s (prior to which, it was mostly used to identify the racists in each party) but that's been creeping back into relevance. The TARP vote from 2008 had a strong establishment/elite vs. outsider/populist fissure within each party, too.

      Unfortunately, that's too technical a poli sci concept to discuss at length in a front-page article, but I'm glad that other people are interested in it, too.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:44:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  then please, if you have the time, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, MichaelNY

        write something that won't necessarily show up on the front page.

        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

        by James Allen on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 03:52:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dive deeper on Illinois (5+ / 0-)

    Big liberals like Jan Schakowsky voted no and they are getting push back. I suspect they were doing it for the Obama administration.

    Rep Mike Quigley has this to say today:
    Like many of you, I have serious privacy concerns with the National Security Administration's data collection program. It's clear that fundamental changes to the program are now required to ensure the constitutional rights of the American people are protected. I voted against the Amash amendment along with my colleagues from Illinois Reps Schakowsky, Gutierrez, Duckworth, Schneider, and Kelly, because the amendment was nto the right answer to solving the program's problems. Instead of making substantive changes to the program to protect our privacy rights, the amendment would have simply cut off funding to a national security program that has a proven record of thwarting dozens of terrorist plotsand keeping Americans safe. Simply shutting down this program is dangerous and does nothing to change the laws that allow such an expansive collection of private information. We need responsible changes to the law to limit the amount of information the NSA is allowed to collect and provide greater oversight and transparency of the collection, storage, and use of such information. I have a record of fighting for increased transparency for these programs, voting for the Nugent amendment which prohibits the NSA from targeting Americans, pushing for increased transparency of FISA court decisions in my role on the Judiciary Committeeand as a cosponsor of HR 2475, the Ending Secret Law Act, which requires the public disclosure of FISA opinions. I join the President in calling for continued debate on this important issue and appreciate your thoughts and input.
    This tells me he is getting a lot of calls. Watch for more statements.
    •  I'm very disapointed in Duckworth (5+ / 0-)

      I have a huge distrust of the military to begin with, so someone being a veteran doesn't impress me.  Kudos to her for her service, but that doesn't automatically make her a good leader on civilian issues.

      I expected better from Duckworth on this, I expected strick adherance to the Constitution.  But it's clear that Duckworth did what the military always does.  They seek more and more power, more authority, more control.

      She had an oportunity to limit the NSA and she said no.  I don't like people playing fast and loose with my freedoms.  And if she doesn't correct herself on this, I will be very hard pressed to support her in '14.

      •  Why this? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yoshimi, Quicklund, duhban
        I have a huge distrust of the military to begin with

        I'm a vet and a number of folks who have been here for a long time are as well...why distrust the military so much?

        Yes, there are plenty of snafus, clusterfucks and general all-around balls-to-the-wall disasters in uniform, but I found it to be a pretty progressive place, all things considered.  It's where a lot of the civil rights movement was generated and, while admittedly very bloated right now, but can be an institution that can do a lot of good both through its actions and the lessons it instills in its members.

        At least in the Army...can't speak for the squiddies, jarheads or zoomies....

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:33:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Probably means the military leadership (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Norm in Chicago, skibum59

          Just about every veteran I know has the same fears/distrust of the higher-ups.  Soem of the stories I've heard of from family and friends who are vets paint a very spooky picture of high ranking military officials.

          Intelligence agencies keep things secret because they often violate the rule of law or of good behavior. -Julian Assange-

          by ChadmanFL on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:54:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I personally distrust... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Norm in Chicago, Bisbonian

          ...because they tend to trust authority WAY to much.  You are conditioned to take orders.  And you other comments suggest you also think this way.

          But I am not norm so I will let him reply as well.

          We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

          by delver rootnose on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:54:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I don't think that way and if you knew (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund, duhban

            anyone in the service they would be laughing heartily at of the first things you learn to do in the military is to NOT trust what the higher ups say, but to figure out a way to go around them...  

            To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

            by dizzydean on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:58:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Because they signed up to kill (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I liked it better when Congress declared war and we had a draft. Those soldiers didn't choose that life, and they didn't want to be career soldiers.

          Yes I distrust those who volunteer to be effectively paid mercinaries, who train night and day to be better killers.  Can they ever just turn that off?

          Plus, wining in the military means destroying the enemy, killing everyone else and being the only one left standing. The military will always seek more power to make that outcome more certain. So if they have to violate all our rights to win, so be it.

          •  Well, I was part of the all-volunteer (5+ / 0-)

            service and take some serious offense at what you say.  My brother-in-law is finishing his 20th year next month in the infantry and he would take affront at this as well.

            You clearly have no clue what it means to serve in the armed forces.  But, rather than me call you names and you reciprocate, let me throw something out there for you to chew on.

            Remember V for Vendetta?  Good movie.  Remember the sequence when V makes Natalie Portman (who was her hottest in this film, IMHO) go through being imprisoned and tortured?  But it was V all along who did that to her?  And why?  He does it so that she understands what her limits are and that there is something out there that she was willing to die for.

            For most servicemembers in the all-volunteer force, that's how it is.  Ol' Diz should be dead--I don't know why I am still among the living, but the experiences I had in combat have made a me a better person.  

            And why did I do it?  Because I believed that the US was a place worth fighting for.  And yes, I was young, got some scholarship money and had been brainwashed by the Cold War propaganda of the day.  

            It was also a way out of my podunk town, which is a major reason for many folks to join--to change their life circumstances.

            But, still, it made me a better person.  I got to meet and interact with folks of all different races and social classes.  I learned how to talk with people, learned how to listen and learned how to work some good for those you cared about in an institution.

            I learned fear, faced death and met my limits.  I also think this makes me a better liberal, because I appreciate so much the things we have and the things we SHOULD have.  

            When you have seen mass death and destruction with your own eyes--not on film or in a book or on-line or in a video game, but with your own two eyes--you gain a much better appreciation for life and its fragility.  

            And it makes you want to do what it takes to ensure, in whatever small way, that such evil never happens again.

            But the service also teaches you to learn how to work the system--that falling on your sword on every occasion is counter-productive, that folks at the top have many motives for their actions (or lack thereof) and to have a healthy skepticism as to why some folks do what they do.  

            So, no, I don't think you "get" it.  Despite what you may see on TV, not all servicemembers are about getting a license to kill.  

            To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

            by dizzydean on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 03:47:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Um (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund, dizzydean, MichaelNY

            I am going to have to disagree with your view there.

            "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

            by just another vet on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 03:48:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Once they figured out that non-volunteer soldiers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Norm in Chicago

            were fragging their officers on the battlefields of Nam, the way was clear for an all-volunteer army.

        •  That explains a lot. (0+ / 0-)

          Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

          by Bisbonian on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 04:37:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  that seems like a perfectly reasonable response (0+ / 0-)

      The threat to our way of life comes from corporations, and the solution is to shrink corporations while freeing government from corporate control.

      by gbaked on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:44:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  more likley... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Christopher Walker

      ...Durbin gave marching orders.

      We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

      by delver rootnose on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:49:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  so this is what the form... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...letter I am going to get from Duckworth will look like.

      We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

      by delver rootnose on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:50:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  and this ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      national security program that has a proven record of thwarting dozens of terrorist plots and keeping Americans safe such BS and implies that they consider everyone a terrorist until proven otherwise.

      We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

      by delver rootnose on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:51:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The issue is not going away. (5+ / 0-)

    These people are all professional politicians. They didn't get to congress without finely honed survival skills. The people voting yes on this amendment were not acting out of some hormone driven act of adolescent rebellion. They had their eyes firmly on the ballot box. They were reading their constituents as being decidedly upset about the NSA. Obviously many of those voting no read theirs the other way.  

    •  Well--don't forget about the leadership (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      delver rootnose


      It's not just what their constituents think/ballot box. CVH doesn't have to worry much about the ballot box. He's got one of the safest districts in the country. He has to worry about whether leadership likes him enough to promote his career.

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:33:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But in general I agree with your comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:34:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But, But (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The amendment failed.  How does that send any message at all?  And frankly, please sit around the table and talk to your less informed friends.  My wife's reaction (and she's a Democrat) was who cares?  At my table of 8 I was the only one who cared at all about this issue.  The main statement was who cares?

      I'm telling you that the middle of this country does not get what this is all about.  They think it won't affect them so they don't care.  Scares the shit out of me because to me it means that there is no downside to voting either way.  Ugh.

  •  I've never been as pissed at Jan Schakowsky (5+ / 0-)

    (my rep) as I  am today. Absolutely fucking furious.

    I assume her arm was twisted. Her husband has had legal issues; who knows what was hinted at behind the scenes? Whatever the reason or the backstory, it's upsetting as hell to see even a good progressive like Jan put Party over principle this time.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:26:31 PM PDT

  •  This was kabuki theater (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heftysmurf, MichaelNY

    The bill never had a chance of passing. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble. The Whips determined how many votes there were in either direction, and then made their considerations based on the competitiveness of the districts. All in all, very theatrical, but not very dramatic.

    I've seen some hardboiled eggs in my time, but you're about twenty minutes

    by harrylimelives on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:31:03 PM PDT

    •  Competitiveness of districts? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Got any proof voters are going to go to the polls to vote out a Rep because they voted "Aye"?

      Intelligence agencies keep things secret because they often violate the rule of law or of good behavior. -Julian Assange-

      by ChadmanFL on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 03:11:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  San Diego is all the proof you need. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This was a largely symbolic vote, and the leadership of both parties asked certain Reps to vote No to provide cover for those who voted Aye. If the bill had any chance of passing, half of those Aye votes would have switched in a heartbeat.

        I've seen some hardboiled eggs in my time, but you're about twenty minutes

        by harrylimelives on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 03:29:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Or for that matter (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Newt, skibum59, ChadmanFL, MichaelNY

        That voters are going to keep a Democrat because they voted no?  Hell the one that really pisses me off (since all 7 of the Colorado Reps voted yes) is Jim Matheson.  Why is he a no vote?  His state is one of the few where people actually get this interference with privacy stuff.  All three of the Republican Reps from his state voted Aye!!  What's his problem?

        •  agreed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChadmanFL, MichaelNY

          In many respects, I feel like Jim Matheson is sort of our version of Scott Brown.  Other than being pro-choice, Brown was a party-line Republican, but sold his independent B.S. quite effectively. (Thankfully Elizabeth Warren ridded us of him.)  Matheson seems to me like he's personal more liberal than his record and rhetoric would indicate, but is only acting conservative to get elected.  To me, I think this indicates that (if he didn't have to worry about re-election) he'd be more of a partisan Democrat who would side with leadership than an ideological liberal.

  •  Hank Johnson, D, GA and a left lib (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, ChadmanFL, MichaelNY

    says it has saved American lives.

    “The data collection of telephone metadata has resulted in the saving of American lives due to imminent terrorist threats that have been revealed by use of the program,”
    He also thinks the program is overbroad and collects data that is irrelevant, although constitutional, but that the Amash amendment cut funding for the whole program instead of tightening it up.

    It was my impression that the amendment allowed for evidence based collection of data, and did not cut funding for the whole program.

    The other "Dems" in GA that voted no were not surprises to me.

    John Lewis did the right thing. Of course.

  •  I called Tammy Duckworth's office.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...just now.

    They didn't let me talk to anyone important, just the guy who answered the phones.

    All they wanted to know was my address so the could send the form letter to me.  Guy said she thought long and hard about the vote but she seemed to not have a reply to her constituents ready.

    If she thought long and hard about it the would already have a statement made.  The only thought she put into it was the thought that Durbin told her to vote against it.

    Useless hack.  But can't really expect more in Illinois where giving your kids your office when you retire is normal like the Mell's, Daley's, Stroger's, Madigan's (although dad hasn't retired yet) or the Lapinsky's.  And those are just the Democrats and not even all of them just the ones I can recall off the top of my head.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:43:30 PM PDT

    •  Completely ignoring Duckworth is no heir (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I am as disgusted with America quasi-royalty as anyone else so I am dumbfounded that you point that accusation at Rep Duckworth.

      No, she is a child of a non-political family who ran and lost several elections before finally winning an office. But she did serve in the military so based on your comments elsewhere, that makes her a monster. A legless monster, but still a monster.

      Oh yeah, instead of being handed her office on an inherited platter she paid a price in excess of a pound of flesh for her introduction to electoral politics..

      •  That is not what I said ... (0+ / 0-)

        ..and you know it.

        No she is not a monster.  But being injured does not make her qualified.  Except to the people so enamored with the military that some how it does, like you, (can't help but think of that line from Starship Troopers 'Service Guarantees Citizenship')

        And she also was appointed to several positions because she sponsored by Dick Durbin, who as a sitting senator should not get involved in local primaries in my opinion, as consolation prizes for her losses.  And her losses also allowed odious people like Peter Roscam to get, and stay, in congress.

        If you want to know why she wasn't welcome in the district it was because she was not from the district, didn't live in the district and was considered an outsider by many.  On her first run of two, not several, she had to pay people to pass petitions to get on the ballot, or get the staff of Durbin and Blago to do it.

        You don't even live in the state or the district so your authority on this issue is limited.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 03:55:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You, writing why you distrust all veterans (0+ / 0-)
          I personally distrust... (1+ / 0-)
          ...because they tend to trust authority WAY to much.  You are conditioned to take orders.  And you other comments suggest you also think this way.
          I did not say losing here legs makes her a good Rep. I disputed the way you painted her as teh beneficiary of being the offspring of another IL politician.

          PARDON ME for using "several" instead of "couple". That certain;y converts her into someone who just had her position handed to her.

          PS: I grew up in IL bub. Lived most of my life there. For instance I know Dick Durbin is not her father. Not that my residency means anything when it comes to pointing out she did not have her office handed to her by a parent.

          •  no you just implied I called.. (0+ / 0-)

            ...her a monster instead of merely distrusting her.  and I note you change 'military' types, as in my comment to another person, to veterans.

            Classy that.

            And you said she paid her flesh to get her office.  So you believe since she was injured she was owed the position.
            And since I volunteered for the Morganthaller campaign I don't inherently think service is a disqualifying attribute even though I generally distrust the military and military people.

            And I did not say she was a kid of Durbin's but she obviously benefited from his sponsorship just like all the other examples favoritism and nepotism in Illinois.  And with the amount of national non local support and money I would say she did indeed get her position handed to her.

            But go ahead keep trying to damn me with strawmen and words I did not say.

            We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

            by delver rootnose on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 05:23:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  This is an interesting analysis. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There doesn't really seem to be any clear ideological breakdown on it.

    It's possible, of course, that some of the Republican "ayes" just wanted to take the anti-Obama position.

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:49:01 PM PDT

  •  Politically (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Strictly from a political perspective, I think it helps most people more than it hurts to vote FOR this.  Unless you're Walter Jones or someone like that who really has no political home anymore on many issues.  It's like voting against SOPA or some other piece of legislation that gets certain coalitions fired up, voting on their side typically gives you less headaches in 2013.  

    It is the people who voted against this that will have the fun people come to their town halls.  They are the ones that will take the political heat.  

    IA-2 Born, raised, currently reside.

    by BoswellSupporter on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 03:31:32 PM PDT

  •  All Dems in Oregon voted for it, Walden NO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skibum59, MichaelNY

    despite Blumenauer being close to Pelosi and Schrader being a Blue Dog (and I assume fairly close to Pelosi since he was made a subcommittee chair when he was a freshman). DeFazio as an outsider is expected, the other three are not. Walden is just a consummate DC insider, as head of the RNCC.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 03:55:11 PM PDT

  •  Reality = Obama Screws Us Again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are any number of Democrats who should have supported this amendment.  A number of them are vilified above.  The reality is that Obama didn't want this and twisted just enough arms on the Democratic side of the aisle to get what he wanted again.

    Not only does he screw us again, but on, to me, a signature difference between todays Democratic party and today's "Republican" Party.

    I told you guys 5 years ago when you were so hyped up about him that he was a disaster.  He is.  Think about a country with Hillary for the last 5 years.  Things would be very different, especially when we had a supermajority in the Senate.  Think Hillary would have put up with all the compromising and talking and wringing of hands.  Not a chance.  She would have done what Obama is totally incapable of doing.  She would have smashed heads, made threats and taken names and then done something about it.  You all know it and it's the fault largely of this web-site that it didn't happen.  

    So fuck you all again.  I told you so.  And for God sakes, make Hillary our next President.

  •  David, the MOST IMPORTANT question (0+ / 0-)

    you ask is this one:

    Similarly, is a swing district representative likely to be worried about having a "yes" vote held against him in the general, or do swing districts just elect more process-oriented, go-with-the-flow members?
    I'd like to be corrected on this if I need to be, but haven't there been polls showing that Independents are more upset about the NSA spying than even Democrats or Republicans?

    If so, doesn't it make sense for a congressman/woman in a swing district to try to cater to the independent swing voters rather than the establishment big wigs in Washington?  How could a YES vote on Amash possibly be used against them?  Is somebody going to run against such a congressman on the basis that we need LESS oversight of the NSA rather than more?  It seems like a doomed position to take, especially in a swing district.

    No.  I think there's a lot more going on here.  The centrist Democrats have their own culture in which the establishment is to be trusted, and they, in turn, get the choicest of the morsels when they are dealt out.  Even if it means pissing off their own swing voters.  In a toss-up state.

    That's corrupt.  I think that's why we need to just blow the "center" out of this party of ours, because it's not really "centrist" in any meaningful use of the term.  Just corrupt.

    •  A swing district (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skibum59, MichaelNY

      doesn't mean more swing voters.  For example, the old GA-2 (Sanford Bishop) was a district Democrats almost lost in 2010, but it was made up almost entirely of base voters.

      Rhode Island is the most "elastic" state according to Nate Silver, even though Democrats almost always win it.

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      Love the class war, hate identity politics and purism
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

      by jncca on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 05:21:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My question is still important though. (0+ / 0-)

        Who are the people these guys in tough races represent, such that voting against greater oversight and controls of the NSA might hurt them in a general election?  Are they at risk of losing Democrats, Republicans, or Independents if they take a pro or anti stance on Amash?  Because I don't see a partisanship explanation for why swing state congressmen should face tougher electoral problems.

  •  12 votes short of a tie, and 12 failed to vote! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Good on John Lewis for standing up for his principles rather than following the rest of the core House leadership.  Most of these Democrats are going to regret their "no" vote, especially those who owe a great deal of their electoral success to progressive support.  These guys had better hope that the issue comes up again soon so they can modify their stances before 2014.

    Joe Kennedy is especially disappointing.  The guy is supposed to be the face of Millennial Democrats, and he's on the wrong side of one of the key Millennial issues.  Every single other Massachusetts representative voted for the amendment.  Even Stephen Lynch voted for the amendment!  Kennedy was born in 1980, he's clearly planning on a long career in Massachusetts, so he'd better wise up, or this is going to be a millstone around his neck for decades.

    Sherrod Brown 2016

    by Stormin on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 04:46:13 PM PDT

  •  You know... (0+ / 0-)

    ...kind of veering off the actual issue, I have to say as a Michigander that I don't mind someone like Amash in the delegation; I just wish he was representing another more rural district.  Grand Rapids deserves better after Vern Ehlers, and given the changing demographics of the district, it'd really be nice to have a Democrat representing it.

  •  Tiny correction: Indiana was 1-7-1 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Carson voted Aye
    Visclosky, Walorksi, Stutzman, Messer, Brooks, Buschon and Young voted No

    And Todd Rokita didn't vote.

    25, Practical Progressive Democrat (-9.38, -8.51), Gay, IN-02 - Defeat Wacky Jackie for 2014!

    by HoosierD42 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 06:19:50 PM PDT

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