The votes against the Iraq resolutions


The Senate voted on Thursday and the House on Friday on resolutions calling for a continued military effort in Iraq. The vote in the Senate wasn't close: 93-6 in favor. Senators Robert Byrd (WV), Edward Kennedy (MA), John Kerry (MA), Tom Harkin (IA), Barbara Boxer (CA) and Russ Feingold (WI).

The House vote was closer, 256-153. Here's the text of the resolution. Three Republicans voted against the resolution: libertarian Ron Paul (TX 14), Jim Leach (IA 2) and Jimmy Duncan (TN 2). Paul is a libertarian who opposes foreign interventions of all kinds; Leach and Duncan have opposed the Iraq war for some time.

Among House Democrats, 42 voted for the resolution and 149 against. Who were the 42? You could put them in several categories:

●20 Southerners from districts that are heavily rural or at least outside of major metro areas. Cramer (AL 5), Berry (AR 1), Snyder (AR 2), Ross (AR 4), Bishop (GA 2), Marshall (GA 3), Barrow (GA 12), Chandler (KY 6), Melancon (LA 3), Thompson (MS 2), Taylor (MS 4), Etheridge (NC 2), McIntyre (NC 7), Boren (OK 2), Spratt (SC 5), Davis (TN 4), Cooper (TN 5), Gordon (TN 6), Edwards (TX 17) and Boucher (VA 9). Two of these members, Barrow and Edwards, seem to be facing serious opposition in November; Republicans have been talking up their candidates' chances against Melancon and Spratt.

●10 Northerners from districts outside major metro areas (with one exception) and with large blue-collar populations. Salazar (CO 3), Lipinski (IL 3), Costello (IL 12), Boswell (IA 3), Lynch (MA 9), Higgins (NY 27), Holden (PA 6), Herseth (SD 1), Larsen (WA 2), Kind (WI 3).

Of these members only one, Barrow, faces a serious challenge in November. The list includes two members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Bishop and Thompson. Salazar captured a seat Republicans had held in 2004; Boswell seems to be facing serious opposition.

●6 Northerners representing districts with affluent suburbs. Case (HI 2), Bean (IL 8), Moore (KS 3), McCarthy (NY 4), Matheson (UT 2), Smith (WA 8). Case is running in the primary against Senator Daniel Akaka, who voted for the Senate resolution. Bean, who upset veteran Philip Crane in 2004, is on the Republicans' target lists; Moore and Matheson, from pretty Republican districts, have been Republican targets in the past and would be unwise to take their districts for granted.

●5 Northerners who represent districts with substantial Hispanic populations (percentages noted). Cardoza (CA 18, 42%), Costa (CA 20, 63%), Berman (CA 28, 56%), Cuellar (TX 28, 64%) and Green (TX 29, 66%). It should be noted that the Hispanic percentage among actual voters is considerably lower than the numbers presented here except in TX 28, which includes long-established Latino neighborhoods in San Antonio and Laredo.

I should also add that so far as I can tell, most if not all of these members seem to be motivated more by conviction than by political necessity. Interestingly, voted against the resolution were cast by Ike Skelton, ranking Democrat on Armed Services, and Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on Intelligence. Harman has generally spoken and acted responsibly on Iraq and the war on Islamofascist terrorists, so it was a little off putting to see that she made an uncharacteristically demagogic speech on this resolution. But she may have had her reasons. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is said to want to remove her from her ranking position on the Intelligence Committee. And in the Democratic primary June 6 she beat an antiwar candidate by just a 62%-38% margin—low for an incumbent, especially for an incumbent who is able to spend $1 million or more of her own money on any election.

Another interesting way to look at the vote is by region. By the way, I defined the South as including the 11 states of the Confederacy plus West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. Here are the yes and no votes as I tabulated them (I apparently missed 1 vote against; correction welcome).

US 256 153

East 39 51

Midwest 63 28

West 48 43

South 106 30

Interestingly, there were margins of greater than 2 votes against the resolution in only five states (yes votes shown first): Massachusetts (1-9), New York (11-17), Maryland (2-6), California (22-28), Oregon (1-4). Also voting against were the delegations of Maine (0-2), Vermont (0-1), Rhode Island (0-2), North Dakota (0-1) and West Virginia (1-2). Another way to put it: opposition to the effort in Iraq is greatest in a few very large metropolitan areas.