Thursday, January 12, 2006


The senate voted 20-19 yesterday to keep Russ Potts as Chairman of the Education and Health Committee. You would expect Potts to vote for himself, of course. But now we have on record which Senate Republicans condone open disloyalty to the party they allegedly support and from which they have no problem seeking support themselves. The three GOPers to side with Potts were John Chichester, Fred Quayle and Charles Hawkins. Perhaps these three fell for the Democrats' line that:

stripping a senator of a chairmanship solely for political reasons would upend the centuries-old seniority system that determines rank and station within the tradition-bound chamber.
Only one problem here. Potts effectively left the Republican Party and ran as an independent in an election against a Republican. Potts threw away his seniority within the majority when he opted out of the majority party. This isn't a political reason -- this goes to the very heart of the seniority system the Senate seems to cherish so deeply and profoundly. Kilgore could have won the election and the reasoning would still be the same and Potts still should have been removed. Chichester, Quayle and Hawkins should all be pressed by their constituents on why they support an independent over a Republican being a committee chairman. And Quayle's constituents should be twice as persistant since Quayle would have assumed the chairmanship if Potts had been defrocked.


At 1/12/2006 11:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Chairman, Quayle would have had the opportunity to increase his standing in the majority party and perhaps bring more back to his district. He voted against that. I'd agree that his constituents deserve an answer for that

At 1/12/2006 12:18:00 PM, Anonymous Bushwick Bill said...

Absolutely infuriating. Why do we stand outside of the polls, try and convince friends, give $, etc., for a Republican majority when Potts is allowed to maintain his Chair? This will be very demoralizing to those of us in the trenches.

At 1/12/2006 12:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Potts could have remained a "good Republican" by challenging Kilgore in the primary. Had he lost, accept the defeat and continue on for the sake of the party. I was furthur to the left than Kilgore on social issues, but I am willing to work within the party to see it be more reflective of my perspective. I would never run as an independent to break apart the party that got me elected to office.

So far as I am concerned Potts gave up his rights as a member of a political party when he chose not to run in the primary. That's why he wasn't in the debates, didn't get campaign contributions from GOP organizations and ultimately got 2.2% of the vote. On the plus side, he got to be the media darling. He can't have it both ways. If he wants to be the maverick then fine. He can't expect to get the benefits of that, and still keep the benefits of a major party - in this case chairmanship.

At 1/12/2006 01:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing the Senate GOP leadership decided that these 3 Senators were probably the safest next election, and thus could vote for Potts ... I'm sure there are a few more who were willing to vote for him.

I'm tired of Quayle though ... he continues to hide during his tenure on the Ed. & Health committee... he walks away from important pro-life votes and now he won't take the Chair of the committee- why? Aside from being a moderate and supporting Potts, he won't be able to easily hide during pro-life and other conservative legislation before the Ed. & Health comm.


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