May 22, 2007
They Were Only Freshmen
by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math
What kind of Congressmen (and women) did the country elect in 2006? Update: the DW-NOMINATE scores were my source.
Well, there are two major clusters. The first are the Blue Dogs; conservative Democrats, mostly representing rural districts that are sometimes heavily Republican. I don't know what Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is doing that far to the right, and it's a bit dissapointing to see Patrick Murphy (D-PA) over there, but you can basically understand why those Congressemen (and women) are doing what they're doing.
The second cluster tends to vote with the pragmatist progressive wing of the party. Rahm Emanuel has a similar voting record this session, as do Norm Dicks (D-WA), Nick Rahall (D-WV), and Darlene Hooley (D-OR). These pols are at the edge of the rightmost third of the Democratic party. Looking at the ideological distribution of Republican losses, though, a number of seats were from the dead center of their party.
So, to sum up:
- Some moderate Democrats replaced moderate Republicans
- Some moderate Democrats replaced generic, more conservative Republicans
- Some Blue Dog Democrats replaced generic, more more conservative Republicans
- A couple of bomb-throwers won in fluke elections (Shea-Porter), or took back seats in Kerry territory (Arcuri).
Not bad for two years' work.
May 22, 2007 | Permalink
So how exactly do they determine whether Patrick Murphy is a moderate Democrat? I was always confused by that.
Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad | May 22, 2007 8:09:28 PM
What's the basis for this (I don't find it at the link)?
Posted by: David in NY | May 22, 2007 8:15:12 PM
I was just going to ask those questions that Ghost of TOm Joad and David in NY asked. The other thing is to recognize that even if Murphy is more moderate on certain issues, he's been a staunch advocate of withdrawal from Iraq. That's the issue that matters most in his first 2 years.
Posted by: ari | May 22, 2007 8:21:22 PM
What about Yarmouth in Kentucky? Where has he voted?
Posted by: Marshall | May 23, 2007 8:19:00 AM
Please don't put women in ()s. You can just say women. Or Congresswomen. Or members of Congress. That's good too. We're in congress now too. It's okay.
Posted by: livia | May 23, 2007 10:24:53 AM
I find it slightly difficult to measure the ideological positions on this scale without some comparison to Republicans. Bucks county, like Lehigh county (my county of residence) is a slightly awkward fit for both parties depending upon how the wind blows and will generally tend to produce moderates, or at least prefer them.
On the matter of congressman/congresswoman, I would suggest that writing, "congressman," is sufficient since the least marked form, in English the masculine, is also the default and can be used for the entire group. Congressmen does not refer exclusively to men, but rather all as the generic form, that it is identical to the masculine is a mere grammatical eccentricity.
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