John Laird Puppet accusations dont always hold up to scrutiny

first_imgMany liberals in Southwest Washington are quick to label Jaime Herrera Beutler as a puppet of the Republican establishment. That characterization is untrue, as you’ll see a little later. But first, let’s examine the charge for exactly what it is.This denunciation of the U.S. representative from Camas actually is not so much about Herrera Beutler herself as it is about her status as a first-term member of Congress. As long as we’ve had elections, both parties have tried to cauterize opposition rookies with the “dutiful robot” brand. Sometimes it’s true. Congressional novices often wrap themselves in the warmth of party loyalty, at least until they accumulate seniority and the concomitant clout.That’s not an absolute with Herrera Beutler, though. Her willingness to venture off the GOP reservation was evident last year when Republicans tried to kill the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program. Herrera Beutler was one of two Republicans in the House to support funding the agency that offers short-term loans to people who are at risk of losing their homes because they’ve lost their jobs. And she was one of 36 who broke ranks with the 242-member Republican caucus and voted to protect funding for the Endangered Species Act. Also, she was one of six Republicans in December to vote for the payroll tax cut extension.But Herrera Beutler’s relative independence is not verified by just these three bits of anecdotal evidence. It takes an objective trend analysis. For that, we have the National Journal to thank. Patient and precise wonks at the National Journal have for 30-plus years studied and ranked members of Congress on liberal and conservative ideological scales.They do this by examining roll-call votes: 949 last year in the House and 235 in the Senate. Their website explains: “Unlike interest groups that rate lawmakers, National Journal does not attempt to say how members should have voted. Our goal is to describe how they voted in comparison with one another.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *