Politics & Policy

423 to 4

When I was coming of age, learning about Congress, I was always fascinated by lopsided votes — 425 to 3, let’s say. Or 428 to 1. (There are always some abstentions or absences.) The majorities were boring. I was always interested in the 3 or the 1! Who were they and why?

My usual finding — this was the early ’80s — was this: The handful of No votes would be a couple of left-wingers and Ron Paul. Let’s say, John Conyers, Ron Dellums, and Ron Paul.

Usually, the issue would concern foreign policy — support of Israel, for example.

The House has just voted to affirm America’s commitment to NATO, and in particular to the principle of collective defense. The new president has been wobbly or evasive on this subject, and the House apparently felt the need to make a statement. The vote was 423 to 4.

Naturally, I was interested in the four. Turns out, they are all Republicans: Biggs (Ariz.), Duncan (Tenn.), Jones (N.C.), and Massie (Ky.).

Even Maxine Waters voted for NATO and Article 5! Even Jerry Nadler (my congressman, alas)! Even José Serrano!

What times, what times . . .

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