Just over a year ago, Democratic and Republican members of Congress gathered on the Capitol's West Front to hear President Obama's Inaugural Address. Like many of his predecessors, Obama called on Congress to change the way it does business. "The time has come to set aside childish things," he said, quoting scripture. "On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics."
But Congress didn't change for previous presidents. And it hasn't changed for this one.
Liberals, moderates, and conservatives stuck to their guns in 2009, whether for ideological, partisan, parochial, or electoral reasons, stymieing much of Obama's agenda. National Journal's annual vote ratings, which have ranked members of Congress on a conservative-to-liberal scale since 1981, found telling consistency in the long-standing ideological divides that define legislative battles on Capitol Hill. Some of those gulfs even deepened as the decades-long partisan sorting of liberals and conservatives into opposing camps continued apace last year.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Still the Red and Blue Hill
National Journal's annual vote ratings confirm what the CQ numbers suggested earlier in the year: The 2008 election did not end the red-blue divide on the Hill. From the article by Richard E. Cohen and Brian Friel: