Friday, September 15, 2006

Baldwin stands alone

Profiles in courage: Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin does the right thing and votes against a Sept. 11 memorial resolution that was hijacked and turned into a partisan measure by House Republicans.

Instead of a neutral resolution acknowledging what happened on Sept. 11, and honoring the victims, the GOP used it to praise every partisan piece of garbage they've passed in the name of fighting terrorism -- even Rep. F. Jim Sensenbrenner's anti-immigration bill.

The NY Times explains:
Congress has passed a resolution every year. In non-election years, the resolution has simply noted the valor of rescue workers and extended sympathies to families.

But in election years -- 2002, 2004 and now 2006 -- the Republican-controlled House has included language heralding accomplishments in the war on terror. This time, the Republican version of the resolution applauded the reauthorization of the legislation known as the USA Patriot Act, as well as the tough immigration bill passed in the House.
Republicans loaded up the resolution with that language, ready to paint anyone who voted against it as unpatriotic or coddling terrorists, and knowing that most members would simply vote yes, rather than face those attacks.

Every member of the Wisconsin delegation except Baldwin voted yes, even though they, like her, had voted against many of the bills praised in the resolution. Even Dave Obey and Gwen Moore caved.

But Baldwin stood on principle, and was one of only 22 House members to vote no.

The AP reports:

Baldwin contended the GOP "disgracefully politicized what should have been a solemn and sincere resolution."

"Instead they converted the resolution into an endorsement of the PATRIOT Act, punitive immigration bills, and other highly controversial measures, which many of my constituents oppose," she said in a statement explaining her vote.

She added it was disrespectful to the Sept. 11 victims and families to be "playing election year politics" with the anniversary.
Predictably, her opponent fired off a press release attacking her vote, calling her "misguided" and "out of step" among other things.

Actually, Baldwin is very much in step with her constituents, and probably with a majority of the people in Wisconsin, who don't like how 9/11 became an excuse for a misguided war. It's too bad no one else in the state's delegation had the courage to stand with her. But it makes what she did all the more praiseworthy.


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