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Profiles in Courage

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Profiles in Courage"

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I continue to feel that the House GOP’s impressive level of partisan unity hasn’t been explored to the extent that it should. You often hear it explained with reference to the fact that most members have uncompetitive, very conservative districts. Which is true enough. But most is not all. Take Ken Calvert, Dan Lungren, and Brian Billbray in California, for example. These guys all represent districts that Barack Obama carried in 2008 and they themselves won 51 percent, 49 percent, and 51 percent of the vote respectively in fairly close 2008 House races.

These are not people who can count on the angry anti-Obama minority to win elections for them. And John Boehner has little in the way of favors to hand out, while Nancy Pelosi is in a position to give them something to take back to their district at home in exchange for acquiring a veneer of bipartisan cover. And yet not a one of them—nor even a single House Republicans nationwide—could be induced to vote for the Obama Recovery Act or the Obama budget plan. It’s impressive. My best guess is that the Club for Growth has really put the fear of God into everyone, but maybe there’s more to it.

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