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Democratic Senate Iraq War Resolution Fails

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On Thursday the U.S. Senate rejected a Democratic-led joint resolution calling for phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq within 4 months and a goal of complete redeployment by the end of March 2008. The 50-48 vote included one Republican (Gordon Smith of Oregon) joining the Democrats, and three members of the Democratic caucus voting against the resolution (Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; for more analysis of Lieberman please see the February 20, 2007 Smart Politics entry).

All seven voting members of the Upper Midwest delegation from Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin voted with their party. The resolution was co-introduced by nearly the entire Democratic caucus, including Russ Feingold (WI), Herb Kohl (WI), Tom Harkin (IA), and Amy Klobuchar (MN).

The resolution described the situation in Iraq as a "civil war" requiring a political solution, although it did allow for some forces to remain behind after March 2008 to train Iraqi forces, conduct counter-terrorism operations, and protect coalition and U.s. personnel and infrastructure.

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold has been one of the few consistent anti-Iraq war voices in the Senate during the past four years and continues to call the war "one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in the history of our nation." In a recent press release Feingold stated the "failed policy" has "weakened our military readiness, sapped our resources, undermined the fight against al Qaeda and jeopardized our national security."

In a press release on the Senate Joint Resolution, Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl called Iraq a "tragic situation" with American forces acting as a "referee (in) a bloody civil war" and "stretched to the breaking point."

Iowa's Tom Harkin called the Republican victory on Thursday as an act that "ignored the overwhelming sentiment of the American people." Harkin calls the Iraq conflict a "misbetton, misguided war."

Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar struck a more cordial tone calling the vote "disappointing" and that the current open-ended commitment "does not serve the interests of our troops or the Iraqi people, who must stand up and forge the necessary political solutions."

Upper Midwestern Republican Senators Charles Grassley (IA), John Thune (SD), and Norm Coleman (MN) have not yet released official press releases on the defeat of the Senate resolution.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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