In the end, 40 Democrats were joined by Senator James Jeffords of Vermont and two Republicans, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Mike DeWine of Ohio, in blocking the bill. Mr. Frist brought the total to 44 when he switched his vote for procedural reasons. Four Democrats supported the drilling.
“I’m glad that my colleagues stood up to say that the legislation and process was wrong,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, who led the opposition.
Senator DeWine of my home state is no Lincoln Chafee. He gets most big votes right, though today he stumbled badly. There is no coeherent argument against exploration in ANWR, so Senator DeWine enters a difficult re-election year branded as the only GOP senator as light in the thinking department as Lincoln Chafee. It isn’t an enviable place to be. If DeWine helps Judge Alito, though, all will be forgiven, though not forgotten.
Senator Cantwell has clearly telegraphed to the people of Washington State that she is from the far side of the left side of American politics. The state is closely divided on political lines. Perhaps it will want some responsible representation in D.C.?