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The Anti-ANWR Exploration Republicans: Who Is Vulnerable in 12 Months?

Friday, November 11, 2005  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Michelle Malkin did some digging to come up with a list of GOP House members who are reportedly pro-Saudi/Chavez oil dependence and thus anti-ANWR exploration. This list hasn’t been verified, but it is a good place to start digging, and the eventual vote on ANWR exploration will depend on this group.

Note that most of these Members come from overwhelmingly Republican districts, and won in 2004 with huge margins, making them indifferent to what their Republican base actually thinks.

But some of them are vulnerable, including especially Gerlach, Reichert, Shays, and Simmons. Those four will no doubt be targeted by serious conservatives and national security-minded Democrats a year from now. The GOP can afford to lose four or five seats to make an enduring point that there are some votes on which national security trumps personal preference. ANWR exploration is one of them.

Take a moment this weekend to contact these four as a way of starting to convey to the GOP caucus that it is expected to govern as a majority party, and to put the interests of the country and the party ahead of their own posturing on caribou.

For reference, here is the “margin of victory” numbers for the anti_ANWR exploration Republicans:

Member, State, District, Margin of Victory in 2004

Charles Bass, New Hampshire, 2nd; 20%

Sherwood Boehlert, New York; 24th; 23%

Jeb Bradley, New Hampshire; 1rst; 26%

Mike Castle, Delaware; 1rst; 39%

Vernon Ehlers, Michigan; 3rd; 36%

Mike Ferguson, New Jersey; 7th; 16%

Mike Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania; 8th; 13%

Rod Frelinghuysen, New Jersey;11th; 37%

Jim Gerlach, Pennsylvania; 6th; 2%

Wayne Gilcrest, Maryland; 1rst; 52%

Bob Inglis, South Carolina; 4rth; 49%

Nancy Johnson, Connecticut; 5th; 22%

Sue Kelly, New York; 19th; 34%

Mark Kennedy, Minnesota; 6th; 8%

Mark Kirk, Illinois; 10th; 28%

Jim Leach, Iowa; 2nd; 20%

Frank LoBiondo, New Jersey; 2nd; 32%

Jim Ramstad, Minnesota; 30%

Dave Reichert, Washington; 8th; 4%

Jim Saxton, New Jersey; 3rd; 28%

James Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin; 5th; 34%

Christopher Shays, Connecticut; 4rth; 4%

Robert Simmons, Connecticut; 2nd; 8%

James Walsh, New York; 25th; 80% (really)


Bruce Kesler has a thoughtful post on why an anti-ANWR vote ought not to lead to retribution against GOP Congressmen who walk out of the caucus on the issue.

Thoughtful, but wrong.

If exploration in ANWR does not emerge from the Congress in the next few weeks, an opportunity to take a hugely important step towards securing necessary supply against deeply injurious disruptions will have been missed. When that disruption inevtiably comes –next year, five years or 15 down the road– we will not be in a position to scramble and start the oil flowing. Our national security and our economy will suffer greatly…because of the pose struck by a handful of self-indulgent GOP caucus members.

Chair of the House Rules Committee David Dreier, himself a proponent of ANWR exploration, explained on the program yesterday that these anti-ANWR exploration Republicans have held these (wrongheaded) views for some time, but that pro-exploration Democrats had bolted to their party’s benefit despite their personal views because of the opportunity to mark up a major political defeat against the GOP. The Democrats understand how, on rare occasions, party must trump individual views if the party is to govern effectively and as a majority. Evidently the anti-ANWR exploration Republicans are unwilling to sacrifice their image of themselves to the benefit of the majority remaining a majority —and on a national security issue!

Which is why a defeat on this issue has to lead to retribution. If the party isn’t dedicated to being a majority party organized around the core issue of national security seriousness, it won’t last as a majority anyway. Exiling the weak-kneed on a national security issue is exactly the sort of action that will underscore the seriousness of the party on these issues.

So would be the stripping of some committee and subcommittee chairs from a couple of unreliable-on-national-security Members.

Pro-ANWR exploration Republicans from competitive districts ought to realize that their “colleagues” are endangering not only the majority but their seats as well. It might be unpleasant to deal out some party discipline, but a whole lot less unpleasant than having Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker.

Couldn’t happen? That’s what Democrats said in 1994.

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