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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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Parsing the Democrat tort reform mutiny

The basic taxonomy of votes in Congress is twofold: those that affect the outcome and those that don't.

In many cases, the key vote [1] is not the vote on passage, but some facial insignificant procedural vote. Often, it is the height of common-sense to emulate John Kerry, who infamously said [2] I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it.

The distinguishing feature of RC 9 (discussed on February 11) is that it was going to pass even if every Dem voted against.

Much like the Cabinet nominations that DEWDROPs were getting so exercised over a few weeks ago.

In such circumstances, the vote of a Dem senator is worthless for its primary purpose - to turn the result of a vote - but is on that account liberated for other uses. To make a show of ideological purity, for instance. Or to kiss the asses of potential big corporate donors. (Hard to do both, in most cases.)

The Cabinet confirmations were a glaring opportunity to wave the bloody shirt. And the vote on the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 a chance to show a bit of leg to the money men. (Insurance, Big Pharma - but also other potential defendants in vexatious class action litigation.)

So what of the Senator from Kenya? According to the Barack Obama page at, the industry making the largest total of contributions in his 2004 campaign was - Lawyers/Law Firms at a modest $2.061m. Insurance donors came way down the list.

Obama takes Irving Berlin's advice to change partners...

(Not really clear why Harry Reid was making such a fuss after the event. Presumably, he had discussed the matter in advance with the mutinous eighteen - and they would have told him not to get his panties in a bunch, given that the bill was going to pass whatever.)

  1. Annoyingly, where not dangerously, ambiguous: meaning both individual votes cast, and the aggregate result of such casting. I'm not sure what the solution is.

  2. I can't immediately trace the exact quote.

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