Saturday, April 01, 2006

Bad Cop, Weak Cop?

One of my Saturday morning regular reads is the "How They Voted" on page 2 of the Star. It lists the major role call votes in the House and Senate from the prior week, and lists the legislators from Missouri and Kansas, with a simple "Y" or "N". Something about the bare-bones simplicity of that feature pleases me - stripped of spin, explanation and context, it simply set forths the binary results of the spin, explanation and context.

In a typical week, it sets forth a discouraging display of party unity. The (R)s votes are all the same, and the (D)s also have a strong tendency to follow the party line. Saturday mornings present me with scant evidence of a thinking representative democracy.

This morning, however, we see Jim Talent mixing it up a little. In three votes, he actually cast votes opposite of his senior Senator and dark lord, Kit Bond. Talent voted against secret earmarks, in favor of an ethics watchdog office, and against allowing people to buy senators gifts and meals.

Has Talent, after three and a half years of blandly following orders from Kit Bond's office, suddenly developed a spine and started to stand up for Missourians and taxpayers? (I apologize for all readers who read that line and snorted beverages out of their noses and onto their keyboards. In the future, I will flag outrageously laughable impossibilities with a /fat chance> tag.)

Talent is panicking. Claire McCaskill is running strong on both sides of the state, and eroding his outstate advantage (it turns out that outstate voters don't really cotton to a city boy with Angelina Jolie lips and a position on stem cells that has no conviction deeper than a survey.) So Kit Bond gave Talent permission to vote as if he had a spine, but only on issues where a safe Republican majority assures that corruption will prevail.


Anonymous Left in Missouri said...

You are right on. I always read the same voting summary in the Post-Dispatch. Talent is clearly given greater leeway to stray from the Republican line because he is up for re-election.

He'll revert back to form if re-elected.

4/05/2006 3:14 PM  
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