Posted by: CJ | February 16, 2009

Polarized Congress…ha

There’s a large segment of literature in the political science community that talks about how polarized or non-polarized Congress is based on Roll Call votes. It’s all rather complicated, though leads to some impressive pictures and ideas. However I’ve never been fully satisfied with it because it misses some of the human element. Such as no Republican Senator having the decency to vote yes on the stimulus for Sherrod Brown.

The basic story is as follows. The mother of Sherrod Brown, an Ohio senator, recently died. That is of course already sad, but the real tragedy is the timing. Brown has to be in the Senate to cast his vote for the stimulus, so he has to take a place to D.C. in the short period of time between his mother’s wake and the funeral. Now it’s clear he can do that and is willing to, so the stimulus is going to pass regardless how one feels about it. (And it seems like everyone has at best mixed feelings about it.) But it would be a nice, thoughtful, and particularly human gesture if some Republican senator was willing to say, “Even though I disagree with the stimulus it is going to pass anyways, but I can at least ease Sen. Brown’s suffering by voting for the stimulus in his place so he doesn’t have to leave his family during a time or mourning.”

I’d say mean things about the Senate GOP, but it’s hardly necessary after watching them the past 8 years.


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