The roll calls for last night’s shutdown-ending compromise offer us the umpteenth look at the GOP’s at-risk members, their hard-liners, and their break-glass-in-case-of-emergency Boehner allies. I’ve been critical of the various listicle attempts to portray the shutdown as the fault of some small, nebulous band of Bolsheviks. Those “30 Republicans caused the shutdown” theories don’t appreciate how conservative the median Republican is now.
So: 144 House Republicans, or 62 percent of the conference, voted against the final deal that gave Republicans nothing but income verification for Obamacare recipients. Eighteen Republican senators, 39 percent of their caucus, voted against the deal — appointed New Jersey Sen. Jeff Chiesa voted “aye” as he literally headed out the door, and Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe was absent, recuperating from surgery.
The Senate “no” votes were basically divvied between the vocal hard-liners like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and the silent partners like Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson — the guys who did not join in the fight.
– The blue-staters split at random. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Maine Sen. Susane Collins, both of whom having criticized the “defund” strategy, were ayes. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller voted no.
– The survivors of Tea Party primary challenges voted aye. After the vote, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski passed by Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was conducting an interview with NPR in a scrum of reporters.
“Next time, be more constructive, huh?” heckled Murkowski, as a joke. McCain and the reporters cracked up. “Thank you, good leadership,” said Murkowski.
In 2010, Murkowski survived a narrow primary loss and won re-election as a write-in candidate. Sarah Palin has intermittently threatened to run against her. McCain fended off a primary challenge, too, as did Indiana Sen. Dan Coats (he survived a crowded primary with two more right-wing candidates), Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, and Ayotte. They were joined by a few senators who faced challenges in 2014, like Lindsey Graham and Lamar Alexander. This is the downside of the conservative revolt — if the target stops fearing you, he goes from ignoring you to not taking you seriously. When I asked Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker what he made of the Club for Growth scoring his “aye” vote against him, he smiled and replied: “I confess, I didn’t see that.”
The House votes were more complicated.
– Most Senate candidates voted no. Mostly. Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton and West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who are trying to take over seats now held by Democrats, voted for the deal. But Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy and all of the Georgia Republicans running for Senate (Broun, Gingrey, Kingston) voted no, as did Montana Rep. Steve Daines, who might run. Cotton and Capito have scared off primary challengers. Those still worried about primaries went with the Club for Growth’s position.
– Republicans in blue seats voted aye. 16 Republicans now hold districts that voted for Barack Obama in 2012. Fourteen of them voted for the deal; retiring Florida Rep. Bill Young did not vote. The exception: California Rep. Jeff Denham. This might all be obvious, but I want/need to poke the “gerrymandering doesn’t matter” crowd as often as I can.