Last week I poked some fun at Tim Steller’s Politic Notebook column at the Arizona Daily Star in which he described Rep. Martha McSally as a “fence sitter.” ‘Fence Sitter’ Martha McSally has got to stand for somethin’.
In a letter to the editor today, Linda Horowitz makes a more pointed criticism of Steller’s column:
Tim Steller did not report on McSally’s votes – only her words. She has voted to give guns to the mentally ill in a district that witnessed the attack on Gabby Giffords. She voted against medicare, social security and Planned Parenthood. He ignored her vote to allow medical insurance companies to charge more for women than men.
McSally is not behaving like she feels she is between a rock and a hard place.
Ms. Horowitz is absolutely correct. The GOP-friendly local media in Tucson that routinely portrays Rep. McSally as a reasonable and rational “moderate” Republican is misleading the voting public with their fawning, while ignoring her actual voting record in Congress which demonstrates that she marches in lock-step with the Arizona House GOP Caucus.
Last Monday Nate Silver at 538 launched a useful “dashboard” for Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump with which our our local Tucson reporters should be required to acquaint themselves. Silver explains Before You Call Your Senator, Read This On How Our Trump Scores Work:
The caution is simply this: For the time being, these calculations aren’t based on very many votes. Therefore, they’re likely to bounce around over the next few weeks until more votes are taken. As of Monday, they included just four votes in the House and six votes in the Senate. It’s also important to note that we aren’t tracking all votes — only those on which Trump takes a clear position.2 So they represent a small sample size, for now.
Another unique feature of our dashboard is the plus-minus scores. The basic idea is to compare how often a member of Congress voted with Trump against others where the 2016 presidential vote was similar. For instance, you’d expect members to support Trump most of the time if they come from a state or district that voted for Trump by 30 percentage points, but not very often if they’re from one where Hillary Clinton won by that margin.
These estimates are calculated on a bill-by-bill basis.
Technically speaking, our projections are calculated by probit regression. For each bill, we run a regression in which the input (independent variable) is the presidential margin in each member’s state or district and the output (dependent variable) is the member’s probability of voting for the bill.
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Over the next few weeks, we’ll be adding some new features to the dashboard — for instance, pages allowing you to see a detailed list of votes for and against Trump for all members of Congress . . . And by later this year, after we’ve collected several dozen votes, we may place them into different categories. Do some members of Congress support Trump on key votes but oppose him in cases when their votes don’t matter much — or vice versa? Do some agree with him on economic policy but oppose him on expanding the federal government’s powers? Without any exaggeration, this year should be among the most important in the history of the U.S. Congress, and we’ll be covering what they do closely.
OK, with this caution in mind, and the limited number of votes taken in this Congress so far, where does Rep. McSally currently stand?
Despite coming from a “swing” district in which Democratic voter registration outnumbers Republicans and Hillary Clinton having carried her congressional district, Rep. McSally has voted with Donald Trump 100% of the time (so far). That’s a whopping +50.8 over her predicted score (you know, the “moderate” Martha from a “swing” district who exists only in the imaginations of the local media).
So Rep. McSally does stand for somethin’ — she stands for Donald Trump and “Trumpism” 100% of the time. (So does the rest of the Arizona House GOP Caucus: David Schweikert, Andy Biggs, Trent Franks, and Paul Gosar).
I assume Rep. McSally is comfortable voting this way because she knows that she is protected by a fawning GOP-friendly local media which will gloss over whatever she does in Congress, if they even bother to report it at all.
I am told that Rep. McSally is hiding in the chicken bunker again, avoiding scheduling any town hall (Congress on Your Corner) events with her constituents in her district. Could it be that she wants to avoid what Senator John McCain did to Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick last year, using video of Kirkpatrick leaving a Congress on Your Corner event after it was disrupted by rowdy Tea Partiers in 2010? This has now been happening to Tea-Publcans around the country. See, Unhappy crowd shows up at Mike Coffman’s regular meeting with constituents; McClintock exits with police escort after raucous town hall meeting in Roseville; The Art of Evasion: Republicans in Congress and Their New M.O.
A local group is expected to deliver a petition signed by 2,000 people to Congresswoman Martha McSally, demanding she participate in a town-hall style meeting with her constituents.
The Make McSally Take a Stand organization argues that for last three months, several groups as well as thousands of individual constituents have been contacting her office asking her to schedule meetings with voters.
McSally has refused to schedule any public meetings, they argue.
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[T]he list of public activities offered by McSally’s office does contain meetings with limited interaction with the general public.
A meeting at Raytheon Missile Systems, for example, had McSally talking to employees from the state’s largest private government contractor and members of the press.
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Members of the Make McSally Take a Stand organization are not currently asking any other member of the Southern Arizona congressional delegation for a similar public town hall-style meeting.
The request coincides with increased demands on various congressional offices for public statements and action since President Trump took office.