Surprise! Lieberman Voting with GOP

One of the things that we’ve always been told about Joe Lieberman is that he votes with Democrats most of the time, but might buck the party from time to time on issues like the war in Iraq. Having watched a great deal of the 110th Congress’s 2nd Senate Session in the last month, I can say that Joe’s squarely with the GOP these days.

There have been 22 roll call votes in the Senate this session. Lieberman has missed five of them while he was traveling around the country campaigning for John McCain (sidebar: I’d hope the CT papers that editorialized about Dodd missing votes while campaigning to get himself elected President take note of Lieberman’s absenteeism). Of the remaining seventeen votes, Lieberman has only voted with the Democratic majority five times — but four of those votes were essentially non-partisan, with margins between 65-88 votes on the same side as Lieberman and the Democrats (Roll Call Votes 1, 9, 10, 21).

That is, of the five occasions where Lieberman voted with the Democrats out of seventeen votes cast, only one could be identified as partisan. That vote, RCV 8, was on cloture on the economic stimulus package. It failed cloture 58-41, but had support of some Republicans.

The remaining votes, though, all saw Lieberman vote with the Republican Party and against the majority of Democrats. Eleven of those roll call votes were FISA related (RCV 2, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20). The twelfth (RCV 22) was on the Intelligence Authorization conference report, which would have banned torture.

In total Joe Lieberman has voted with the Republican Party and against Democrats in twelve out of thirteen votes that broke on partisan lines. Instead of voting with Dems 90% of the time, he’s voting with the GOP 92% of the time. And none of these votes have been on Iraq!

Even if we were to speculate on how Lieberman would have voted on the votes he missed, the picture wouldn’t be much better for those who think Lieberman is valuable to the Democratic caucus now. Three of the five votes Lieberman missed were FISA related (RCV 3, 4, 7) and based on his other FISA votes, we could expect him to vote with the GOP. The other missed votes two were broadly bipartisan. RCV 5 was cloture on the stimulus and it passed 80-4, making it a non-partisan vote. Likewise, RCV 6 was almost as non-partisan as the cloture vote and HR 5140, the ecnonomic stimulus bill, passed 73-12.

The reality is that Joe Lieberman votes with Democrats when other Republicans vote with Democrats. He isn’t voting with Democrats on issues that are breaking in a very partisan way – he’s voting with Republicans.

This is an admittedly small study with a small sample that was prompted by my interest in just seeing the lay of the land when it comes to Lieberman’s votes this year. I’d be curious to see a full analysis of Lieberman’s votes in the 110th Congress, but doubt I’ll have the time to do the legwork myself anytime soon.

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