Within one day of each other, we suddenly have votes that take us right back to where we were a year ago, with repeat capitulations on the Iraq Supplemental and FISA. While I'm not happy about these votes, I don't have any ranting to add to this matter, as that's not really Swing State Project style; I'll leave that to Glenn Greenwald and the good folks over at Open Left and Daily Kos. (In fact, I feel a little uncomfortable using 'capitulation,' since it's always more complex than that, but what the hell... this is the blogosphere, where nuance goes to die.)
What interested me is that now we have a series of bookends, where we can measure how far we've come on changing the debate on funding the Iraq War and on FISA. Short answer, judging by the raw vote totals, is: not very far on the Iraq War, and we've gone way backwards on FISA. (Although comparing today's FISA vote against the "Protect America Act" from last August is kind of apples and oranges, as today seemed to turn more on the narrow issue of retroactive immunity for telecoms rather than the overarching issue of spying on American citizens. I'd guess that fewer Congresspeople were bothered by the idea of letting the telecoms skate than by the much larger issues that were at stake last August.)
What I'm using for comparison purposes is, on the issue of the Iraq Supplemental, HR 2206 Roll Call 425 from May 24, 2007 (when the blogosphere first seemed to realize that, hey, wait a minute, maybe we aren't going to be able to extract ourselves from Iraq with Bush still in office), versus HR 2642 Roll Call 431 from yesterday. On the issue of FISA, I'm comparing S 1927 Roll Call 836 from Aug. 4, 2007 (which was last year's other big blogospheric freak-out, and the impetus for the "Bush Dog" project at Open Left), versus HR 6034 Roll Call 437 from earlier today.
2007 total: 280 aye - 142 no - 11 NV
Dems in 2007: 86 aye - 140 no - 6 NV
GOP in 2007: 194 aye - 2 no - 5 NV
2008 total: 268 aye - 155 no - 12 NV
Dems in 2008: 80 aye - 151 no - 5 NV
GOP in 2008: 188 aye - 4 no - 7 NV
13 who flipped from aye to no (i.e. bad to good): Rob Andrews, Joe Baca, Leonard Boswell, GK Butterfield, Dennis Cardoza, John Dingell, Steve Kagen, Kendrick Meek (FL), Nick Rahall, Bart Stupak, Bennie Thompson (MS), Debbie Wasserman Schulz... and Jeff Flake (R)
3 who flipped from no to aye (i.e. good to bad): Corrine Brown, Artur Davis, and Tim Ryan
10 Dems and 1 Republicans went from no vote to no: the Republican was John Campbell (R). 4 Dems went from no to no vote. 7 Republicans and 4 Dems went from no vote to yes: the Dems were our three new guys, Bill Foster, Don Cazayoux, and Travis Childers, plus Howard Berman. 7 Republicans and 1 Dem went from yes to no vote: Pete Visclosky was the lone Dem.
Let's take a look at who flipped the right way. The list includes recipients of some serious netroots pressure: Leonard Boswell (via his primary with Ed Fallon) and Debbie Wasserman Schulz (via the kerfuffle over the Cuban-American districts). It also includes Rob Andrews, who seems to have been burnishing his liberal credentials as he seeks statewide office in a blue state (he got skunked on NJ-Sen, but now rumor has it he's angling for the newly created Lt. Governor position in 2009). Also, there are two Republicans who flipped, and it's two of the most conservative: Flake and Campbell. I have to wonder whether they've truly turned on the war, or are engaged in a fit of libertarian pique over having to actually pay for it.
I'm still scratching my head over the ones who flipped the other way. The common thread I can think of is that Davis (who already votes the wrong way on FISA) and Ryan are both eyeing statewide office in red states.
2007 total: 227 aye - 183 no - 23 NV
Dems in 2007: 41 aye - 181 no - 9 NV
GOP in 2007: 186 aye - 2 no - 14 NV
2008 total: 293 aye - 129 no - 13 NV
Dems in 2008: 105 aye - 128 no - 3 NV
GOP in 2008: 188 aye - 1 no - 10 NV
2 who flipped from aye to no (i.e. bad to good): Baron Hill and Tim Walz
58 who flipped from no to aye (i.e. good to bad): Gary Ackerman, Mike Arcuri, Joe Baca, Brian Baird, Shelly Berkley, Howard Berman, Marion Berry, Sanford Bishop, Tim Bishop, Rick Boucher, Nancy Boyda, Corrine Brown, GK Butterfield, Dennis Cardoza, Kathy Castor, Emanuel Cleaver, Jim Clyburn, Joe Crowley, Norm Dicks, Rahm Emanuel, Eliot Engel, Gabby Giffords, Kirsten Gillibrand, Al Green, Gene Green, Luis Gutierrez, Jane Harman, Tim Holden, Paul Kanjorski, Dale Kildee, Ron Kind, Jim Langevin, Nita Lowey, Tim Mahoney, Carolyn McCarthy, Jerry McNerney, Greg Meeks, Dennis Moore, John Murtha, Solomon Ortiz, Nancy Pelosi, Ed Perlmutter, Nick Rahall, Silvestre Reyes, Dutch Ruppersberger, Adam Schiff, David Scott, Joe Sestak, Brad Sherman, Albio Sires, Adam Smith, John Spratt, Bart Stupak, Ellen Tauscher, Bennie Thompson, Mark Udall, John Yarmuth
9 Dems went from no vote to no; this includes some of our newest: Bill Foster, and Donna Edwards, on her second day on the job. 3 Dems and 1 Republican went from no to no vote; the Republican was Walter Jones. 12 Republicans and 6 Dems went from no vote to yes: the Dems were Don Cazayoux, Travis Childers, Ruben Hinojosa, Ron Klein, Laura Richardson, and Ike Skelton. 8 Republicans went from yes to no vote.
That's a long list of Democratic defections (although it's hard to call it a defection when it includes all the leadership). As for the two guys who turned the right way, Baron Hill and Tim Walz, they get big ups; I think in both cases they're freshmen feeling more confident of their abilities to survive in their Republican-leaning districts.
The one Republican who voted no both times on FISA may surprise you: Tim Johnson, of IL-15, not generally known as a rebellious spirit. As for Ron Paul, the great defender of our liberties? Seems like he's been taking some liberties of his own, as he managed to miss both FISA votes.