With the recent election and the big gains made in Congress by the Republicans, I think everyone — including me — is wondering whether the two major parties and the president can all work together to actually accomplish something positive for our country.
As we all now know, the Grand Old Party took control of the House of Representatives and made substantial gains in the Senate. This shift to the right seems to have the left-out leftists in a state of panic, and rightfully so.
The whole situation caused me to wonder how far apart the Democrats and Republicans actually are on the major issues. With there being so many major issues, however, the only real way to examine the matter is to look at both parties’ voting records.
I’ll be honest, I was hesitate to delve into the subject at first. Judging by most of the information put out by the mainstream media, I thought the Republican party, which I support at the state and national levels, might appear to be the more rigid of the two parties. To my surprise (not really), I discovered that the “open-minded and compassionate” Democrats were actually more inclined to vote along party lines than the “closed-minded and mean-spirited” Republicans.
Hmm, that’s funny.
Looking at the voting record of the 111th Congress, I found that of the 444 member House of Representatives, the 133 people who always seemed to vote along party lines happened to be Democrats. Their fearless leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., led the way by voting with her party 100 percent of the time.
On the flip side, of the top 35 representatives who, at times, crossed party lines, 22 were Republicans and only 13 were Democrats.
In Washington, the Senate is even more lopsided. Looking at the same 111th Congress, we find that of the 108 seats, the top 37 senators who nearly always voted along party lines, well, guess what? They were Democrats. However, of the top 30 senators who crossed party lines, 22 were Republican and only eight were Democrats. That’s not really the kind of information reported by CNN or CBS news, is it?
So when the 112th Congress convenes in January, how will the parties find a common ground? Well, unfortunately, they probably won’t because at the national level, there are fundamental differences in values, accountability and beliefs, but that’s for another column.