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August 01, 2007

Things I Cannot Believe

by Nicholas Beaudrot of electoral Math

I assume ezra's low post rate is due to his travel to YearlyKos, so as one of the few bloggers not attending because I'm too cheap busy dedicated to providing readers with more content, I thought I might fill in a bit. With a hat tip to echidne of the snakes, number of Republicans voting against for the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: TWO (Chris Shays (R-CT) and Don Young (R-AK)).

I certainly wouldn't have expected all Republican Congresswomen to vote for the bill, but you have to believe that at least some of them had experienced gender bias in their lives and would find the argument that only the first unequal paycheck counted as an act of discrimination patently offensive. Or, at the very least, that they would fear organized opposition from even the moderate women's groups that support the bill. Or if not women's groups, maybe AARP. Heather Wilson (R-NM), has in the past had a quasi-moderate voting record and will face a tough fight for re-election in 2008; what's she doing voting against this bill? Can Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV) really vote against this and have a serious shot at statewide office? Does the Republican party really think it is a good idea to turn "equal pay for equal work" into a partisan issue and come out against it? Have their party strategists simply lost their minds?

August 1, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

number of Republicans voting against the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: TWO

I assume you mean voting for, not against.

Posted by: Antid Oto | Aug 1, 2007 6:36:15 PM

You mean voted FOR.

Posted by: Trevor | Aug 1, 2007 6:37:07 PM

Business interest groups were working against this bill, but it really isn't all that bad for business, and it will become law in a couple years anyway, most likely. So it is curious that there was such good Republican discipline on this.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 1, 2007 7:04:33 PM

Bush is against it. Bush - at least the public persona of President Bush - is still in complete control of the Republican Party.

The papers might be full of this Senator or that Representative criticizing Bush, but when it's time for actual votes, he gets what he wants.

Posted by: Stephen | Aug 1, 2007 7:05:36 PM

There was good Republican "discipline" because the Republicans were voting the way they really believe. When all but two of the House Republicans are against this bill, even though opposition to it will be politically damaging to them, the only conclusion one can draw is that the Republicans have a very strong ideological opposition to the idea of equal pay for equal work.

It's our job to remind the voters of this over and over between now and the next elections.

Posted by: RWB | Aug 1, 2007 7:13:27 PM

Indeed. Give me more good Republican "discipline" all the way to 2008. Let's fatten up these piggies for the fire. I couldn't give less of a damn what the national polls say about Congress' job approval ratings. The individual races are trending nicely, thank you very much.

Posted by: sangfroid826 | Aug 1, 2007 7:30:26 PM

When all but two of the House Republicans are against this bill, even though opposition to it will be politically damaging to them, the only conclusion one can draw is that the Republicans have a very strong ideological opposition to the idea of equal pay for equal work.

Could be. Hard to believe all the Republicans but two really opposed this fairly innocuous bill that strongly. I'm not sure it will be very politically damaging. Republicans tend to get heavy support from business, while women concerned about this issue mostly already vote Democratic, and those who don't aren't likely to switch over this, in any case.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 1, 2007 7:45:46 PM

Does the Republican party really think it is a good idea to turn "equal pay for equal work" into a partisan issue and come out against it?

As Sanpete suggests, corporate donors will reward these votes, and they're figuring the Democrats won't work the issue enough that it would affect the votes of swing voters.

Posted by: Tyrone Slothrop | Aug 1, 2007 10:05:42 PM

This is all about pleasing business, as is usually the case with Republicans; women who care about these issues vote Democratic anyway. These people are corporate lackeys, pure and simple; Roberts and Alito were put on the Supreme Court to cast votes just like this.

Posted by: beckya57 | Aug 2, 2007 1:57:15 AM

I agree with your view of the bill itself but you seem surprised when rethugs stick the party line? Since when has that hurt them? Ok, ok, a little in '06 but these are people of faith. They believe that the suckers...errr...the base will continue to support programs that sound tough minded even if they go directly against those same constituent self-interests.

Nothing new here.

Now something that would be new would be a popular uprising of discontent.

That would be something.

Posted by: ice weasel | Aug 2, 2007 2:47:58 AM

ice-

The issue here is that the bill was going to pass. It passed easily. So it's the sort of bill where you expect some endangered Republicans in moderate districts to vote for it as a symbolic gesture. Their vote doesn't matter either way, so Heather Wilson can vote for equal pay for equal work without it mattering all that much. (That's how Chris Shays has always done it.)

It suggests to me that the Republican house leadership is really, really bad. This goes hand in hand with the recent work praising Pelosi - either the opposition in the house is incompetent, or she's just destroyed them to the point that they're fighting meaningless stuff like letting a few moderates cast a career-aiding vote.

Posted by: DivGuy | Aug 2, 2007 7:43:12 AM

Div may be on to something. The comformity of the vote might indicate that House GOP Leadership is intent on demonstrating its "power" by enforcing a party line even in instances where the result is negligible or counter productive. Since they've lost control of the House they may think that any concession to "bi-partisanship", however superficial and meaningless, will only further erode their authority. OTOH, it could be they honestly believe that their best bet is to maintain an image of "toughness" since that's pretty much all they have to sell to the voters at this point.

I tend to think that there's a fear that any relaxation of party discipline under the present political conditions might trigger a large scale rush for the life boats. Such a spectacle would be the worst of all worlds going into 08. In addition to all their other liabilities, they would no longer be able to contrast themselves to the "squabbling, disorganized, irresolute Democrats". Without that meme, what else do they have left?

Then again, they may just be collectively clueless on the issue. Can't ever exclude that possibility with the GOP, or politicians in general for that matter.


Posted by: WB Reeves | Aug 2, 2007 9:42:55 AM

Well, the problem is how you spin it.

If your spin is "equal pay for equal work," it looks like a clear win--one of those things that it makes sense to vote for even if you question it.

If you spin it as, "make people responsible for what someone else did 35 years ago," it's just as clear a win for the other side. Most people in the business world are going to see that spin.

Posted by: SamChevre | Aug 2, 2007 9:45:27 AM

I think Sanpete is basically correct here, but making it an issue could really help in many swing districts. This won't help Dave Reichert, and I sure hope Burner or whomever has the good sense to point it out regularly.

Posted by: djw | Aug 2, 2007 9:46:31 AM

"If you spin it as, "make people responsible for what someone else did 35 years ago," it's just as clear a win for the other side."

The problem with that spin is that it would require us to dismantle pretty much our entire economic system. If Exxon signed a 50-year lease in 1972, the CEO couldn't back out of the lease in 2007 by saying "You can't hold me responsible for something somebody else did 35 years ago." Our economic and legal system would collapse. In the same way, if a company is perpetuating pay discrimination that was put into place 35 years ago, it should remain accountable for remedying the discrimination today.

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 2, 2007 1:16:25 PM

Someone should cast this as a family values issue. When women work for less and we allow it, women get hired over men. What does that do to the "Head of the Household" belief? (snark)

I belonged to NOW 30 years ago when it was the next best thing to belonging to the communist party. We fought for ERA and equal pay. Over the years I have seen that women have made some inroads. The pay gap has shrunk from about $.75 on the dollar to somewhere around $0.65 (I can't remember the exact numbers). We wanted equal pay so they lowered men's pay instead of raising ours. They always find a way to exploit. I've become very cynical and pessimistic about that changing.

The Rethugs only care about the bottom line for business. They aren't worried about what women voters will think. They've always screwed us, why would that change now?

Posted by: Steph | Aug 2, 2007 2:35:12 PM

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Posted by: judy | Oct 11, 2007 7:52:18 AM

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