The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

That Kerry unemployment vote: the Dole in the Hole

On May 12, I discussed the possibility that the one vote defeat for a provision on unemployment benefit had been engineered to embarrass John Kerry, who was not present for the vote.

A piece in The Hill (May 18) confidently states that it was indeed a put-up job:
At least one Republican senator, Elizabeth Dole (N.C.), was prepared to switch to a “no” vote to make sure the measure was defeated even if Kerry returned to cast his vote, a Democrat charged.
[Oops. Call it my tribute to the copy-editors of America. Oh, yeah...]

It then backtracks:
If Republicans did engineer the vote to embarrass Kerry, it worked.

It points out that
The vote also underscored the vulnerabilities that a sitting senator faces when seeking the presidency.

Yup. But only when he's a member of the minority party. In the May 12 piece, I ran through the various US Senators who had run for the top job in recent decades. By my reckoning, every one came from the majority party [1].

Kerry, therefore, has provided the first opportunity for this kind of shenanigan to be employed against a presidential candidate. (A fact I'd have thought The Hill might have pointed out. Unless, perhaps, all its readers would have realised...)

  1. I went back to Warren Harding - who was senator at a time when there was no Majority Leader - Henry Cabot Lodge acted as Leader, apparently. My guess is that floor managing to finesse might not have been on the cards in his era.

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