This election cycle a lot has been made of the conceptual “rubber-stamp” representative. The argument is that a particular candidate will vote with their party every time. Regardless of their personal views, they will do what they are told. Republicans are using this to their advantage in this election. It’s hard to say that the Republican party is not good at what they do. Nearly every ad I’ve seen attacking a Democrat is exactly the same. They supported a “failed” stimulus. They supported $500 million in Medicare cuts. They support “job killing” energy taxes. Don’t vote for the Obama\Ried\Pelosi\Random Democrat liberal agenda. The Republicans and special interests that support them have picked a fairly easy to understand message and they are drilling it into the heads of the American public. They are taking your eyes off the actual candidates and saying a vote against a Democrat is really a vote against Pres. Obama. By promoting this “rubber-stamp” idea they are also distracting us from an important point. Republicans have been more committed to party line voting than Democrats.
On every major bill Democrats have tried to pass, Republicans have voted largely as one. On Healthcare Reform, no Republicans broke with their party. 34 Democrats did. The stimulus package? No Republicans voted for it. Four Democrats broke ranks and voted no. What about financial reform? 19 Democrats voted against it, only 3 Republicans voted for it. One of those Republicans was Mike Castle (R-DE) He lost his recent primary bid for Senate in large part because of his vote. Those are just the numbers from the House votes. If Democrats didn’t have 59 Senate seats none of those bills would have even seen daylight. The Republican leadership has done a unbelievable job keeping their members in line. Not that the Democrats are really any better. While some have broken with their party, most likely they were allowed to so that Democrats had a better chance at retaining those seats. If you really want to know who will be a “rubber stamp” the answer is almost all of them.
We need to go beyond the ads and the catchphrases. We need to look for the truth. The fact is if Republicans gain control of either chamber of Congress things won’t get better. They will just be in a better position to bring business to a halt. They are betting that if nothing happens the people will blame Obama and he will not be re-elected. As citizens of this country it’s our job not to let that strategy work. If Republicans want to prove they should be running the country they need to abandon this “Just say no” strategy and start putting some new ideas on the table. Their so-called “Pledge to America” isn’t going to do it. It’s just the same ideas they’ve been talking about for 20 years. We need new ideas, new solutions. The people of this country have to demand it, and we need to do it loudly. If we don’t, the same party politics that ruled Washington this year will rule it for the years to come.