Thursday, April 10, 2008

to vote with the House Leadership or not: that is the question

A nice article from David Mann with the Jeff/NA News-Tribune...

The context of the article: Mann focuses on Baron Hill's voting record and how it lines up with House leadership. The results:

[Hill] voted with his party’s leaders about 89 percent of the time.

Commonly, it was budget matters with which he took issue. Hill also voted in favor of a bill which authorized U.S. monitoring foreign electronic communications routed through the country...He also voted against a patient reform bill that changes the methods for obtaining and challenging patient claims.

The only position he took against the party that could be considered more liberal was a vote against a ban on human cloning. Asked about it, Hill said he didn’t remember the vote and that he was against human cloning.

Beyond that, Mann wrestles with the extent to which consistent voting is a good or bad thing. And then, Mann turns to the question of its political impact:

Howey said such numbers are commonly tracked because they're a good indication of party loyalty. However, he added, “I’ll be amazed if it's an issue that helps or hurts Baron Hill in the primary,” he said....

Finally, some excerpts from Mann's interview with me:

Libertarian Eric Schansberg is also vying for the 9th District seat. Schansberg, an economics professor at IUS, ran last year and took about 5 percent of the vote.

Party struggles are not as much of an issue for him because there are no Libertarians in the House.

“For us it’s much more philosophical, than practical,” he said. There are debates about issues within the party — a small percentage of Libertarians support the war in Iraq, for example.

There are two big issues that stand out for him during the current term — continued funding of the war without a withdraw plan and the economic stimulus package. Both are issues that he would have expected to turn out differently considering that it’s a Democrat-controlled Congress....

Ironically, by this measure, my voting record would probably be seen as moderate-- because I would tend to disagree with both sides quite a bit!