Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Stance of Ellison and McCollum On Israeli-Gaza Resolution Shines a Light on Liberal Voting Records

Bookmark and Share

The "present" votes registered by Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum a week ago Friday on the U.S. House resolution to recognize "Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, stirred up a bit of controversy in the Gopher State.

Of the 27 members of the House who did not vote in support of the resolution (5 'nays' and 22 'presents'), 7.4 percent came from Minnesota's delegation - which holds less than 2 percent of seats in the chamber.

Ellison released a statement explaining his vote:

"I cannot vote for this resolution because it barely mentions the human suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza. Over 750 people have been killed, including 250 children and 50 women, with over 3,000 people injured. And even before the recent Israeli military operation, life for the people of Gaza had become increasingly unliveable -- with shortages of food, fuel and basic medical supplies. We need to have compassion for the people of Gaza and the tremendous human suffering there.That is why I will vote "present" on this resolution concerning the current conflict in Gaza...History has shown that ground troops and air strikes have not resolved conflict in the Middle East. If we try to resolve conflict with military might and nothing else, then we will be no safer than we were before."

McCollum's statement read in pertinent part:

"An immediate ceasefire is the only option. ... The continued isolation of Gaza is an unacceptable option in light of the depravation and increasing desperation of the mothers, fathers and children of Gaza.... The goal of the United States, and the world, must be to work for peace. And the path to peace will never be forged through violence. For these reasons, it is my intention to vote present on H. Res. 34."

How surprising were these votes by the two most liberal members of Minnesota's Congressional delegation?

In total, 390 U.S. Representatives supported the resolution, or 93.5 percent of all votes cast, compared to 6.5 percent voting 'no' or 'present.'

The 25 Democrats who did not vote for the measure collectively ranked (according to National Journal's 2007 vote rankings) as the 68th most liberal in the House (excluding Democratic newcomer Donna Edwards of Maryland's 4th District, and Republican Ron Paul who was the 27th vote).

But only Gwen Moore of Wisconsin had a higher liberal ranking than Ellison (12th) and just nine had a more liberal voting record than McCollum (46th). In other words, even most of Ellison's and McCollum's liberal colleagues voted in support of the resolution.

The one thing nearly all of these Democrats had in common however, regardless of how far they push the ideological meter to the left, was that they won comfortably in 2008. The average margin of victory for these 26 Democrats in 2008 was 56.2 points - nearly 20 points higher than the national average of 38.2 points.

In other words, these Representatives could feel quite safe expressing their concerns about supporting Israel in this resolution without much fear of reprisal from their constituencies: they represent very safe, liberal, and Democratic-friendly districts. In fact, only one Representative of the Gang of 27 won by less than a 30-point margin in 2008: Dennis Kucinich, who faced a near-competitive race largely due to his presidential campaigning.

Race was also a telling factor in those refusing to vote for House Resolution 34: African-American representatives were nearly five times more likely to vote 'nay' or 'present' than non-blacks. Although just 4.8 percent of non-blacks in the House opted not to vote for the resolution, nearly one-quarter of African-American U.S. Representatives - 9 of 39 (23.1 percent, including Ellison) - registered 'nay' or 'present' votes.

Ellison faced the most competitive race in 2008 of these 9 African American representatives, the others being Hank Johnson (GA-04, 99.9-point margin of victory), Donald Payne (NJ-10, 99.0 points), Gwen Moore (WI-04, 88.5 points), Barbara Lee (CA-09, 76.4 points), Dianne Watson (CA-33, 74.8 points), Donna Edwards (MD-04, 73.0 points), Maxine Waters (CA-35, 68.6 points), and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (MI-13, 55.0 points).

U.S. Representatives Not Supporting House Resolution 34

Representative
District
Vote
Liberal Rank
2008 MoV
Ron Paul
TX-14
No
246
100.0
Hank Johnson
GA-04
Present
16
99.9
Donald Payne
NJ-10
Present
33
99.0
Gwen Moore
WI-04
No
1
88.5
Peter DeFazio
OR-04
Present
150
82.3
Barbara Lee
CA-09
Present
56
76.4
Dianne Watson
CA-33
Present
40
74.8
Donna Edwards
MD-04
Present
N/A
73.0
Maxine Waters
CA-35
No
56
68.6
Jim McDermott
WA-07
Present
61
67.2
Carolyn Kilpatrick
MI-13
Present
74
55.0
Earl Blumenauer
OR-03
Present
63
53.8
Neil Abercrombie
HI-01
Present
106
53.2
Pete Stark
CA-13
Present
117
52.6
George Miller
CA-07
Present
82
51.6
Keith Ellison
MN-05
Present
12
48.9
Lynn Woolsey
CA-06
Present
46
47.4
Sam Farr
CA-17
Present
14
46.8
John Olver
MA-01
Present
22
46.4
John Dingell
MI-15
Present
121
45.8
Loretta Sanchez
CA-47
Present
99
42.9
Jim Moran
VA-08
Present
107
38.2
Betty McCollum
MN-04
Present
46
37.1
Nick Rahall
WV-03
No
178
34.0
Maurice Hinchey
NY-22
Present
15
32.2
Raul Grijalva
AZ-07
Present
31
30.5
Dennis Kucinich
OH-10
No
158
17.4



Previous post: A Content Analysis of Governor Pawlenty's 2008 and 2009 State of the State Addresses
Next post: Does Keith Ellison Have a Mandate? Rep. Sets Freshman Re-election Record

3 Comments


  • Thank you for this magnificent article, one of the best I've seen not only on Palestine and the US, but on the failure of US democracy in general. If only you wrote about the big money from AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) to destroy people who have the courage to even hint that maybe Palestinians are human beings, this would be an almost perfect article on the lack of democracy in our system.

  • I want to say - thank you for this!

  • If you have to do it, you might as well do it right.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

    Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

    Political Crumbs

    No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

    Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


    The Second Time Around

    Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting