Jim Leach


I think that your characterizations of Rep. Leach are a bit off the mark. First, look at his records on procedural votes. Leach rarely, if ever, votes against his party when it comes to allowing certain issues to proceed. Rules that govern consideration of bills (which usually give the shaft to the Democrats, quite honestly) are what I'm talking about here. Once they pass, it's next to impossible for the underlying legislation to fail. Leach also doesn't vote against the party when the final outcome is in doubt. The Whips knew what was up, and I don't think that people get upset with him because he usually lets Roy Blunt's office know how he's voting.

The bigger question about the final Roll Call was why Nancy Pelosi was among 18 Democrats who didn't vote. What kind of party leader misses a vote on a subject as important as United Nations reform, especially when a member of your own state delegation has a substitute amendment under consideration? Now, many legislators get "Leaves of Absences" to account for their activities when they're going to miss recorded votes. And as we all know, missing votes without reason can lead to certain questions being asked around election time. Ms. Bono of California, for example, got a Leave of Absence to attend her daughter's graduation, which is why she didn't vote for or against the measure. Who knows where Pelosi was -- perhaps she was heading back to her district to attend the marriage of former California Governor Moonbeam? The main point is that the Democrats' house isn't in order, and this missed vote is yet another symptom of the disease.

The underlying legislation is still worthless, though, Kevin. I agree with Congressman Leach, as well as Reps. Ray LaHood of Illinois (hardly a bleeding-heart) and Christopher Shays of Connecticut. When you pull out funding from an organization you immediately lose your stake in it. It's like being a part of a fraternity, not paying your dues, but then demanding that you keep your vote. It's a lot like when you're little kids, the kid who owns the ball gets upset that the game isn't going his way, then takes the ball and goes home. If we want to reform the organization, then we have to be model citizens in it. Going to war for what turned out to be no reason at all isn't the best way of doing that, not respecting allies isn't the best way of doing that, and not paying dues in an organization isn't the best way of reforming it. It's particularly sad that Henry Hyde's name is attached to such a total piece of spoilt kids bloviating.

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