Moderate Democrats Back Various Republican Measures
The Christian Science Monitor looks into “purple power,” in which House Democrats whose districts were carried by President Bush support “a significant number” of GOP bills:
The recent votes with Democratic support include issues backed by pro-business lobbyists: $70 billion in tax-cut provisions in the fiscal 2006 budget resolution, tightening rules for people who file for bankruptcy protection, and limiting class-action lawsuits. Democrats have also lined up with Republicans on some issues important to social conservatives: strict requirements for the use of driver’s licenses as IDs and for parental notification when a minor crosses state lines to get an abortion.
On a bankruptcy bill that Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi said would create “modern-day indentured servants,” 73 Democrats voted with the Republican majority. Fifty Democrats voted with GOP leaders on class-action reform; 42 on tightening requirements for driver’s licenses, 42 for a permanent repeal of the estate tax, 41 on the energy bill, 71 on a gang deterrence bill l that some Democrats said unfairly targeted immigrants, and 54 on abortion notification.
For many of these votes, about half of the Democratic swing support came from the so-called purple-district Democrats, who may be positioning themselves for the 2006 elections.
Support is also coming from some members of the congressional black caucus, which traditionally has given Democrats the strongest party-line voting records in the House.
The Democratic explanation strikes me as a tad convenient:
[…] Democratic leaders note that none of the votes with big defections from their ranks were designated as party-line votes. “On the issues that make Democrats Democrats, we are strongly united, such as strengthening Social Security, protecting the environment, education, healthcare, and national security,” says Jennifer Crider, a spokesman for Democratic leader Pelosi. “On the big fights, Democrats stick together.”
So are we to assume that opposing tax cuts for the affluent is not among “the issues that make Democrats Democrats”? I seem to recall it playing a rather prominent role in the presidential election. On the other hand, it’s hard to blame Democrats for shifting the emphasis to Social Security, a debate that they have a much better chance of winning.