The Global Citizen: congressional report card
I came across an interesting piece by Carter Eskew this week in the Washington Post. The post, "Compromises for Romney?" speculated about concessions Mitt Romney might have to make to please conservatives in his party if he wins the Republican nomination and is elected President this fall. Some of the speculation: John Bolton as Secretary of State; Newt Gingrich as U.N. ambassador; and Rick Santorum as attorney general.
It's going to be tough to lose the outstanding Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in any case (as she's leaving after this term is up even if President Obama is re-elected). But I can't think of anyone I'd rather NOT see succeed her than John Bolton. He was refused confirmation as U.N. ambassador by the Senate in 2005 and 2006 (since he had expressed his belief that the U.N. shouldn't exist at all, that was hardly surprising) before finally getting the position during a recess appointment. Somehow, I don't think that having someone who opposes the U.N.'s very existence managing America's relationship with the rest of the world is a very bright idea. Bolton also said the decision to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was the "happiest moment" of his political career to date.
The Republican presidential primary race finally began yesterday with the Iowa caucus, bringing an end to what has seemed like an endless series of debates and media appearances by a field of candidates competing to appeal to their conservative base. In somewhat of a surprise, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won by a mere 8 votes over former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. The results were all the more perplexing because Romney, thought to be the front runner, did little campaigning in the state, and Santorum, once trailing dead last in polls, came so close to defeating him.
What was also surprising was the support overall by Iowa caucus-goers for Republican candidates with absolutely no foreign policy credentials or knowledge. Let's take Romney for example. While the Republican contender does have a detailed foreign policy plan, unfortunately, most of it is awful. One of his priorities for his first 100 days in office would be to "enhance our deterrent against Iran's [nuclear program]" by increasing our naval presence in surrounding waters and increasing military coordination with nations such as Israel, which has long advocated using military strikes to deter Iran. These are essentially the preliminary steps that precede going to war. After finally ending the war in Iraq and beginning to draw down military efforts in Afghanistan, the last thing we need to do is begin yet another costly, deadly war.
With the new year beginning, this is the time when Citizens for Global Solutions would normally prepare our Congressional Report Card to rate members of Congress on global issue. The CGS Report Card analyzes voting records on issues ranging from genocide prevention to nuclear nonproliferation to funding for the international affairs budget.
But this year, we’ve come to the sad conclusion that there isn’t going to be a Report Card. Why not? Because Congress didn’t do enough on record last year to warrant one.
As published in the Huffington Post:
Thinking about sitting out the November elections because President Obama and Congress have let you down? Think again. The 2010 mid-term could prove to be the most pivotal election of our lifetime.
This is already the most cutthroat contest I have experienced during the last 15 years of working on federal elections. According to The Cook Political Report, there are now 73 highly competitive House races, compared to 51 in August of 2008. 66 of these 73 endangered seats are currently held by Democrats, compared to 20 out of 51 in 2008. Senate Democrats are equally pressured.
Although my organization, Citizens for Global Solutions, endorses on both side of the aisle, these numbers do matter. In our latest Congressional Report Card the average Democratic grade was an A- in the House and Senate while Republicans averaged a D in the House and a D+ in the Senate.
Want to know where your lawmakers stand on global issues? As the 2010 midterm elections approach, Citizens for Global Solutions is rolling out our 2010 Congressional Report Card. This report "grades" members of the Senate and House of Representatives on their record of support for CGS legislative priorities over the past several years, as well as highlighting additional work certain members of Congress have undertaken which has helped to advance the goals of CGS. It is the only publication that rates Congress based on their global votes.
The 2010 Congressional Report Card focuses on ten Senate and eleven House rollcall votes which took place between 2007 and 2009 on issues which are of particular importance to CGS and its supporters. These votes cover topics such as providing appropriate levels of funding for international and multilateral organizations; addressing climate change; prohibiting torture; and ensuring protection of human rights around the globe. Each member of Congress was given a grade between an A+ and an F based on how frequently their votes aligned with CGS's positions on these issues.
As the congressional campaign season gets rolling, Citizens for Global Solutions is pleased to announce the release of our 2010 Congressional Report Card. This report "grades" members of the Senate and House of Representatives on their record of support for CGS legislative priorities over the past several years, as well as highlighting additional work certain members of Congress have undertaken which has helped to advance the goals of CGS. You can read the entire Report Card online by clicking here, as well as clicking on state-by-state links to quickly find the scores of your own Senators and House member.
The Report Card focuses on 10 votes in the Senate and 11 in the House of Representatives occurring between 2007 and 2009 on issues of particular importance to CGS and its supporters. These votes cover topics such as providing appropriate levels of funding for international and multilateral organizations; addressing climate change; prohibiting torture; and ensuring protection of human rights around the globe. Just like school, each member of Congress was given a grade between an F and an A+ based on how frequently their votes aligned with CGS's positions on these issues.
Following up on our enormously successful wins in 2006, Citizens for Global Solutions continues to help elect candidates to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who care about engaging the world, tackling climate change, funding and working with international organizations, supporting peacekeeping and stopping the development of new nuclear weapons. While the dust hasn't settled yet on some of the races, we are very excited about our new Members of Congress. This is even more true due to who they're going to replace.
Representative Howard Berman of California's 28th District has won his fourteenth bid for Congress, after running uncontested in this year's election cycle. Berman has been an exceptional force in the House, bringing his experience and oversight to an impressive number of bills relating to international affairs budgets and peacekeeping matters. As Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Berman has been instrumental in brokering the deal on President Bush's anti-AIDS initiative, amongst other achievements.
As of this writing it appears that the U.S. Senate race in Georgia between Saxby Chambliss (R-Incumbent) and Jim Martin (D) is headed for a runoff on Tuesday, December 2. The runoff is sure to attract national attention as the Democrats seek to build their working majority in the Senate, and to capitalize on the momentum of the election victory of Barack Obama, and the Republicans seeks to secure a line of defense in the Senate.
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