My 2014 U.S. Senate Voting Guide

October 30, 2014

(Subtitled, “Fighting the ‘Dirty Dozen’ of the U.S. Senate”)

With time growing ever shorter until next Tuesday November 4th, I give you 12 of the most hotly contested U.S. Senate contests (with the possible exception of Lankford/Johnson…we’ll see).

DSullivan

Dan Sullivan (Alaska)

As noted below…

Sullivan missed a candidate’s forum, but of course he didn’t miss a fundraiser at about the same location (here).

And as noted from here

Sullivan opposes raising the minimum wage. He opposes the rights of workers to bargain for fair wages, good benefits and safe working conditions. He even wants to raise the retirement age for Social Security, which would force many Alaskans to keep working physically demanding jobs well into old age.

And of course Sullivan is getting help from Chuck and Dave Koch (here); he has a lot of company on that one.

In response, to help incumbent Dem Senator Mark Begich, click here.

FINANCE COMMITTEE

Pat Roberts (Kansas)

As noted below…

  • He has a certain residency issue, seeing as how his declared residence is in Virginia, but he’s the Repug senator from Kansas (happens on both sides, to be fair – here).
  • Roberts said that Obama was a “socialist” who wanted to “nationalize,” you know, stuff, here (Proof? Anywhere in sight?) And we do know who the “national socialists” were, don’t we?.
  • Oh, and let’s not forget that Roberts once claimed in May 2006 that “you have no civil liberties if you’re dead” in defense of a certain Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History (here).
  • And things continued to look bad for Roberts as of about three weeks ago (here).
  • In response, to help Independent challenger Greg Orman, click here.

    Lankford

    James Lankford (Oklahoma)

    Yes, he’s quite probably going to win since we’re talking about Oklahoma (sigh), but the following should still be pointed out…

  • Lankford is a climate change denier like just about everyone else in that clown show of a political party (here).

    “This whole global warming myth will be exposed as what it really is — a way of control more than anything else. And that generation will be ticked.” [Edmond Sun, 2/16/10]

    Actually, they’ll be “ticked” because you continued to ignore proven scientific fact and did nothing in response.

  • He opposes government borrowing, and even throws in some quotes from the Bible for extra hypocrisy points to try and justify himself, but owes about $100 grand to Skank of America (here).
  • Said NSA snooping foiled 54 terrorist attacks (uh, no – once more, reminds me of James Gregory and the ketchup bottle in “The Manchurian Candidate”).
  • He said he wouldn’t prohibit people from getting citizenship “forever,” since he’s a Christian (here – how decent of him).
  • Lankford is opposed by Dem Connie Johnson in the contest to fill the seat vacated by Crazy Tom Coburn.

    Coffman_Gardner

    Cory Gardner (Colorado)

    As noted below…

  • Gardner voted against defunding raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in a state where medical marijuana is legal (here).
  • As noted from here

    In three years in Congress, voted 3 times to cut Social Security and raise the eligibility age to 70, voted 5 times to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 70, more than 5 times to increase current senior’s copays for preventative healthcare, and more than 5 times to reopen the prescription donut hole that his opponent, Incumbent Dem U.S. Senator Mark Udall, helped to close. In addition, Gardner voted 5 times to turn Medicare from a guaranteed benefit to a voucher program, which would have doubled Medicare out of pocket costs for seniors by 2022 according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

  • Opposed the DREAM Act, voted to deport DREAMers, and voted against immigration reform in a state where the latter is a particularly big deal (here).
  • Supported federal fetal personhood legislation that would outlaw abortions and some birth control measures nationwide (here).
  • In response, to help incumbent Dem Senator Mark Udall, click here.

    Cassidy

    Bill Cassidy (Louisiana)

    As noted below…

  • He said here that he doesn’t believe Obama “ever worked with a poor person” (so just how many levels of duuuh are we talking about here anyway?).
  • And of course, he also wants to make the Social Security retirement age 70 (here).
  • He not only wants to basically put the EPA out of business, but he even wanted to cut funding for portraits of former EPA head Lisa Jackson, taking partisanship to a ridiculously petty new low (here).
  • Cassidy also said that he’s “not sure climate change is the issue” as Louisiana loses more of its coastline (here).
  • Given the prior two items, it should be no surprise that he’s also getting help from Chuck and Dave of course (here).
  • I’ve often disagreed with Mary Landrieu in the past, but she’s been reliable on more issues than not. She shouldn’t have this tough of a fight on her hands, but she does – fortunately, she’s a skilled campaigner, but if you’re able to help her somehow, please click here.

    Obama_White_Slavery
    Update 10/31/14: Yeah, the truth hurts, doesn’t it, Repugs (here) – time to clutch those pearls again, I see.

    Rounds_635487516144747334-Screen-Shot-2014-10-12-at-9.59.52-PM

    Mike Rounds (South Dakota)

    I think it’s been kind of an under-reported story that Rounds is more of a crook than it might appear upon first glance – to wit…

  • He was part of a scheme to sell EB-5 immigration visas to the highest bidders, and then was caught lying about it (here).
  • Also, he “wildly overstated” the number of jobs created with those EB-5 visas here.
  • Rounds knew that a former Cabinet official in his administration was heading to a job with a beef plant for which Rounds had just authorized about $600,000 in state loans (how con-vee-nient) here.
  • Rounds’ Dem opponent Rick Weiland said he wouldn’t vote for Harry Reid as majority leader if elected, opening the door for Rounds to say he wouldn’t vote for Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao under the same circumstance, a door that Rounds won’t open, apparently (kind of a cunning move by Weiland, I think – here).

    (Oh, and as DWT also tells us, Rounds extended taxpayer assistance to companies where Rounds and Dennis Daugaard, Rounds’s successor as governor in 2011 and former running mate, were investors…once again, how con-vee-nient, overseen by the same state agency, the Office of Economic Development, that oversaw the EB-5 visa program).

  • I don’t know what the recent polling is on this race – I’m sure Rounds is still ahead, but I have a feeling this will be fairly close…we’ll see; if you can help Weiland, please click here.

    joni-ernst

    Joni Ernst (Iowa)

    As noted below…

  • Ernst didn’t want to answer tough questions from that dreaded “liberal media,” so she went to Fix Noise instead, of course (here – and again here).
  • She opposed raising the minimum wage here (once again, of course).
  • Ernst also wants to privatize Social Security, which, according to one estimate, would lead to about a 45-percent out-of-pocket increase in what subscribers would pay out due to a cut in coverage (here).
  • She “flat-out lied” on the question of the so-called “fetal personhood” amendment supported by Repug Cory Gardner in Colorado, among others (here).
  • She once ran for a job as county auditor and won, and apparently the first thing she did on the job was to get rid of county board veterans who had opposed her candidacy (so much for “Iowa nice” – here).
  • Apparently, Ernst rode to fame on an ad about hog castration, and equated that with making “big spenders” in Washington “squeal” here (I don’t know what is more damning – Ernst for making such an ad, or people supporting her for it).
  • And this tells you all the ways she does the bidding of the Kochs, in case you were wondering.
  • Oh, and she apparently wanted to arrest federal officials over “Obamacare” in 2012 here (charming).

    I’ve always wondered about this race – I never heard an official explanation from Tom Harkin why he decided to give up this seat (I might have missed it, I’ll admit). That being said, I have a feeling Bruce Braley is a lot more likely to carry on in Harkin’s footsteps than Ernst will ever be (to help Braley, click here).

    Update 11/7/14: As Atrios might say, time for a blogger ethics panel (here).

    Scott_Brown_centerfold

    Scott Brown (New Hampshire – this week…)

    Well, well – Scott Brown has taken his carpetbagger act on the road to the Granite State, huh? I think we should recall the following, then…

  • Brown said here in ’09 that the Senate health care bill that was signed into law “mirrored” the one he supported in MA (for it in ’09 before he was against it in 2010, as it were).
  • He said that the stimulus created not “one new job” here (once more, uh, no).
  • He engaged in taunts that Cherokee Nation described as “racist” against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, his 2012 campaign opponent, here.
  • For someone with supposed “teabagger” small gov’t (alleged, of course) “cred,” he backed this ridiculous weapons system GE wanted in MA that the Pentagon said they didn’t need (here).
  • Here, “Wall Street Scott” got paid to talk to hedge fund managers about money in politics (no joke).
  • He voted for Dodd-Frank financial reforms, then worked to undermine them (here).
  • He reversed his 2012 stance on whether or not climate change is real (of course – here).
  • I’ll be honest – I have a particular loathing for many of the Republicans on this list, but Scott Brown belongs in a whole other contemptible category as far as I’m concerned. With that in mind, I think Jeanne Shaheen definitely can use any assistance we can provide (please click here).

    Update: Whooping cough AND polio from illegals, Scott (here)? I’m sure the independent voters will really go for that one.

    Update 10/31/14: #epicfail

    ReallyTerriLynnLand

    Terri Lynn Land (Michigan)

    As noted below…

  • Land voted to “voucherize” Medicare (here).
  • She is also tied to the Koch Brothers (of course) and their piles of “pet coke,” which are byproducts of oil refining and produced clouds of dark dust over Detroit (not a question of whether or not the coke is unhealthy, but how much – here).
  • And with that in mind, Detroit residents asked Land to spend some time in their community here to experience the health effects firsthand, and she responded with “LALALALAICANTHEARYOU.”
  • Basically, she wouldn’t have supported the bailout of the automakers under Number 44 here (in so many words, since she tried so hard to avoid the question…keep in mind that she’s running to replace retiring Dem Senator Carl Levin, who at least understood what to do when thousands of jobs were at stake).
  • Land said here that she “made the DMV work,” which is a particularly neat trick considering that Michigan doesn’t have a DMV (here).
  • She also advocates “Obamacare” repeal of course, which means that about 630,000 residents of Michigan would lose their health coverage (here).
  • To help Land’s Dem opponent Gary Peters, click here.

    Tom Cotton (Arkansas)

    Cotton is easily the biggest neophyte of this bunch…

  • Here, he said that he didn’t think women were qualified to serve in the military (nice – it should be pointed out, though, that Cotton actually did serve, unlike most other Repugs).
  • Here, he said that Iraq was involved in 9/11 (ah, a golden oldie…oh, and when it comes to evaluating Number 43 and “Deadeye Dick,” Cotton believes 9/11 shouldn’t be included, as noted here).

    The Arkansas Times link also tells us that he, like many others in his party, voted against relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and he’s a darling of the Club for Growth, no matter how that affects his congressional district…figures.

  • And like a whole bunch of House Repugs (including Mikey the Beloved), Cotton voted to separate SNAP funding from the farm bill (here).
  • Oh, and Cotton wants to punish not only those who violate economic sanctions against Iran (OK), but their family members too, as noted here (um, and why?).
  • Also, did you know that Cotton himself took out student loans, but then voted against funding them for everyone else (here)?
  • Cotton also said that a woman’s “deepest hope” is to be a good wife and mother here (uh, Tom, you’re running for the U.S. Senate, not the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, not that a male would know something like that anyway).
  • He also wants to restore bank profits to student loan financing again here (and for doing what exactly, I wonder?).
  • He claimed here that ISIS collaborated with Mexican drug cartels, or something (that alone should disqualify him from this contest, but I’m sure it won’t),
  • Praised disaster relief program that benefited Arkansas farmers that he actually voted against (here).
  • As with Mary Landrieu, Cotton’s incumbent opponent, Dem Sen. Mark Pryor, shouldn’t have this big of a fight on his hands, but he does (to help, click here).

    Perdue

    David Perdue (Georgia)

    As noted below…

  • In what is probably the signature moment of his campaign, Perdue bragged about outsourcing jobs here (probably a ton of them based on the Daily Kos post).
  • Oh, and he also “outsourced” about $1 million to a Swiss bank here (looks like Perdue is a charter member of the “one percent”).
  • Given that, I guess it’s not surprising that Perdue loves bailouts for Wall Street, but not Detroit (here).
  • As noted here, Perdue needed “dark” money from Ohio groups to defeat U.S. House Rep (and wingnut extraordinaire) Jack Kingston in the GOP primary – normally I wouldn’t give a hoot about what happens to Kingston, but this is part of a disturbing trend.
  • Here, Perdue said he was proud that “less than 2,000 women” sued his company for pay discrimination (oh brother).
  • He basically acted like he would be OK with another government shut down here, blaming “Obamacare” and defaulting on interest payments, or something – the former part is merely propaganda and the latter part has nothing to do with reality.
  • This contest is to fill the open seat formerly held by departing Repug Saxby Chambliss, who once associated disabled Vietnam vet (and former Dem senator) Max Cleland with al Qaeda – to help Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Dem Senator Sam Nunn, click here.

    Tillis_EQUns.AuSt.156

    Thom Tillis (North Carolina)

    As noted below…

  • Tillis is pretty much a foot-soldier of Art Pope, the millionaire who took over N.C. and turned it into his own personal playground (here).
  • He would let pre-existing conditions protection disappear as part of what the GOP would do to replace “Obamacare” (here).
  • And oh – surprise, surprisenow Tillis favors expanding Medicare (here).
  • He advocated state cuts to public education, but of course supported tax cuts for private jets and yachts (here – nice…and if you think there are some recurring themes here among these characters, rest assured that it’s not your imagination).
  • Tillis would make birth control illegal, like many others in his party would also (here).
  • And as noted here, I think it’s fair to judge someone by the company they keep.
  • Tillis also encouraged college students to vote for him by digging up The Sainted Ronnie R again and harping on the 70s here; the problem is that all that happened before today’s college students were even born (just say “oops” and get out, Thom).
  • To help incumbent Dem Senator Kay Hagan, Tillis’s opponent, please click here.

    I don’t think it can be overstated just how hugely important the U.S. Senate elections in particular are this Tuesday, so it is incumbent upon all of us to vote and support Dem candidates as much as our means enables us to do so. I sincerely hope this post has given you ample evidence and motivation to do just that.

    Update 10/31/14: Based on this, I would vote for a Democrat as a protest vote, if for no other reason.

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    On Sotomayor, It’s “Lock And Load” Time For The NRA

    July 30, 2009

    kid-with-gun-sm
    In an example of still more gun-related cowardice by the Democratic Party, Think Progress tells the following from here…

    Noting Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s record on the Second Amendment, Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) told Roll Call that that he is “undecided” on her nomination to the Supreme Court (although he added that he is “leaning toward voting in favor”). Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) expressed similar uncertainty:

    Both senators’ equivocal statements come in the wake of the NRA’s decision to “score” the Sotomayor vote in determining where each lawmaker stands on the NRA’s pro-gun agenda. The NRA claims, falsely, that because Sotomayor once upheld a New York law against a Second Amendment challenge this somehow proves that she is hostile to gun rights. That decision, however, did nothing more than apply well-established law.

    Because lower-court judges are required by law to follow the commands of the Supreme Court, Sotomayor once joined an opinion which followed a Supreme Court case holding that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to the states. Nevertheless, the NRA launched a smear campaign against Sotomayor this month, claiming that she “deliberately misread Supreme Court precedent to support her incorrect view” in this case.

    (It’s pretty sad when a Repug shows more courage than a Dem on the gun issue, by the way, as Lamar Alexander does in the Think Progress post.)

    Also, as noted here, conservative judges Frank Easterbrook and Richard Posner, both appointed by The Sainted Ronnie R, also held that the Second Amendment did not apply to the states in accordance with a prior ruling from Judge Sotomayor.

    All of this comes in the wake of the vote on an amendment sponsored by Senate Repug John Thune of South Dakota here which basically would have allowed an individual who owned a firearm in a state with looser gun laws to transport it to a state and use it – and thus supersede what could be tougher laws in the state where the gun is transported – as he or she saw fit (or, as Think Progress explained, “31 states currently prohibit ‘habitual drunkards’ from carrying guns. The Thune amendment would render these provisions useless.”).

    As the prior posted linked to above also tells us, the Thune Amendment was barely defeated in the Senate by a vote of 58-39; as noted here, Colorado Democratic Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet voted Yes, as well as PA’s own Bob Casey.

    To me, this prompts the following question: with “Democrats” like these, who needs Republicans?

    I realize that such laws pertain primarily to smaller caliber weapons, but I cannot help but wonder whether or not such an amendment by Thune or anyone else (assuming the dark day ever comes when it passes and is signed into law, thus ensuring my political opposition to any person responsible for such an atrocity, be they a Dem or a Repug) could somehow make it easier for someone to sneak a decidedly more lethal weapon (such as an assault rifle) into a public place.

    And with that in mind, I should note that last July 18th marked the 25th anniversary of the San Ysidro, CA McDonald’s massacre, in which James Oliver Huberty murdered 22 people (including himself) and injured 19 with a 9 mm Uzi semi-automatic (the primary weapon fired in the massacre), a Winchester pump-action 12-gauge shotgun, and a 9 mm Browning HP (as noted here by Wikipedia).

    I tried really hard to find some principled Democratic opposition to the NRA and the pro-gun forces in this country, but unfortunately, aside from Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, I couldn’t. However, I was able to find the following from columnist Mark Shields here from last April, in which a legendary Repug with whom I frequently disagreed spoke what I would call “truth to power” on assault weapons…

    Washington and the leadership of both political parties in the city need a collective vertebrae transplant. Just listen to what one of the country’s great conservative leaders, the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., said about these assault weapons in 1990: “I am completely opposed to selling automatic weapons. I don’t see any reason why they ever made semi-automatics. I’ve been a member of the NRA. I collect, make and shoot guns. I’ve never used an automatic or a semi-automatic for hunting. There’s no need to. They have no place in anybody’s arsenal.”

    So much for the sportsman’s argument for assault rifles of the kind that the Binghamton (NY) killer used to fire, according to police, 98 shots in one minute.

    Shortly before Goldwater made his position so abundantly clear, the then-California Attorney General John Van de Kamp, a Democrat, stood on the floor of the Assembly in Sacramento holding in his hands an AK-47 semi-automatic weapon and said to the legislative body’s 80 members: “Ladies and gentlemen, take a look at your watches and start counting. You are lucky that I am the attorney general and not some nut. Because if I had the ammunition, I could shoot every member of the Assembly by the time I finish this sentence — about 20 seconds.”

    But 1994 will forever be remembered as the year when Democrats lost their heart for standing up to the gun lobby. The Democratic-controlled Congress and President Bill Clinton had enacted a ban on 19 types of automatic weapons. That ban had passed the House on a 216-214 vote, guided by the then-Clinton White House adviser (and now Obama White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel — and it was blamed by many Democrats for their party’s November loss, for the first time in 40 years, of House control.

    (By the way, I read the comments to Shields’ column, one of which chided him for not knowing the difference – as far as the commenter was concerned – between a fully-automatic machine gun and a semi-automatic rifle…as if that would have made any of the victims described by Shields “less dead” as a result.)

    And on the matter of the Dems’ ’94 loss of Congress owing to the assault weapons ban, I thought New York Times editorialist Dorothy Samuels made the following good points last May here…

    It is hard to make a case that the assault weapons ban was decisive in 1994.

    The law certainly enraged many N.R.A. members and might explain the loss of certain Democratic seats. However, there were other major factors in the Democrats’ 1994 loss, starting with perceived Democratic arrogance and corruption (overdrafts at the House bank came to symbolize that).

    Add to that voter unhappiness with Mr. Clinton’s budget, his health care fiasco, the Republican Party’s success in recruiting appealing candidates, and that ingenious Republican vehicle for nationalizing the elections known as the “Contract With America.” The contract, by the way, did not mention guns.

    Mr. Clinton’s successful 1996 re-election campaign actually stressed his gun control achievements. James and Sarah Brady spoke in prime time at the ’96 Democratic convention, and Clinton campaign ads trumpeted his role in enacting the assault weapons ban and the ’93 Brady law requiring background checks for gun buyers.

    And returning to the Shields column once more, I would advise Casey, Udall, Bennet and the other “chicken Dems” on this issue to read the following…

    President Obama has long been on record for a permanent ban on assault weapons. But one respected Capitol Hill Democrat, a longtime champion of gun control, despairs: “These (recent) killings have, unfortunately, not moved the needle.”

    What would be required to get this Congress to act? “It would take at least a major massacre of kindergarteners.”

    I can think of no more damning indictment of our politicians – and really, our country’s collective retreat on this issue – than that.


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