Except for George Voinovich, who didn’t vote (and is retiring in any case) every Republican in the Senate, including alleged “moderates” Grassley, Snowe, and Collins, voted against even allowing debate on the health care bill. This after every Republican in the House save Anh Cao voted against reform; even Cao’s vote didn’t come until after the bill already had the 218 votes it needed to pass from Democrats.
Your high-school civics teacher no doubt told you that you should “vote for the person, not the party.” Madison and Hamilton, who hated what they called “faction,” would have agreed. All three of them were wrong. Party is the only mechanism by which voters can influence actual outcomes.
Alas, the idea that nonpartisanship is somehow the morally superior position lingers in our civic religion. Just the other night an otherwise intelligent dinner companion proudly informed me that she was an independent.
Even if you prefer to vote for a politician who genuinely thinks for him- or herself, at the national level that option is no longer available. There used to be genuine Republican liberals (such as Jacob Javits, Mac Mathias, Mark Hatfield). No more.
Every Republican on the Hill was happy to stand back and let the Beloved Leader and his wrecking crew trash the Constitution.
When push comes to shove the Republicans all vote like reactionaries, and the “centrist” Democrats are mostly worthless opportunists with “for rent” signs on their foreheads, on the Joe Lieberman-Ben Nelson model.
On Election Day, there’s only one question to ask: “Which side are you on?” If the Democratic candidate in your district is a flat-out crook or lunatic, good partisan hygiene may require that you vote against him. But don’t be seduced by a “moderate” Republican. As the yokel said when he saw the rhinocerous, “They ain’t so such animal.”