Very interesting read in the Washington Post, regarding how some Republicans feel freer to vote their conscience now that they are in the minority and they don't have peoplel like Tom Delay threatening them to vote a certain way.
According to the Post, some Congressional Republicans are starting off the new year by voting with the new Democratic majority on important issues, and showing they are more moderate than some of their leaders.
From the Post:
House Republican leaders, who confidently predicted they would drive a wedge through the new Democratic majority, have found their own party splintering, with Republican lawmakers siding with Democrats in droves on the House's opening legislative blitz.
Freed from the pressures of being the majority and from the heavy hand of former leaders including retired representative Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), many back-bench Republicans are showing themselves to be more moderate than their conservative leadership and increasingly mindful of shifting voter sentiment. The closest vote last week -- Friday's push to require the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare -- pulled 24 Republicans. The Democrats' homeland security bill attracted 68 Republicans, the minimum wage increase 82.
"You're freer to vote your conscience," said Rep. Jo Anne Emerson (R-Mo.), who received an 88 percent voting record from the American Conservative Union in 2005 but has so far sided with Democrats on new budget rules, Medicare prescription-drug negotiations, raising the minimum wage and funding stem cell research. "Or, really, I feel free to represent my constituents exactly as they want me to be."
It's very interesting (and sad also) to see a member of Congress such as Rep. Emerson admit that some Republicans were not voting their conscience while they held the majority. In other words they were putting their party before their country and their constituents.