As moms, we generally have our priorities straight. Our kids are our highest priority in almost every respect. There is very little dispute in this respect, and although we often make different choices as to work, child-rearing, and education, we mothers love our kids beyond measure. It is no wonder that, as Sarah wrote, we get all excited when politicians want to hold or kiss our kids--it is more than just an acknowledgment of how cute junior is; it is a visually powerful gesture of just how important caring for our kids is.
Luckily, as we make our final assessments about which candidates to vote for in this election season, how much those kid-kissing politicians actually care about our kids is not beyond measure. In January of this year, the Children's Defense Fund issued their Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard based upon the voting records of members of Congress that directly impact the lives of our children. This is a quantifiable measure of how much our representatives have voted for measures that were in the best interests of kids. An organization called Mothers Acting Up recently brought this powerful scorecard to my attention. Let me recite some of the highlights of this informative report, then I will share some of the key scores!
Thirty Senators and 167 House Members scored zero percent in voting in favor of legislation that would positively impact the lives of children in America. Twenty-three Senators and 90 House Members scored 100 percent. The report strongly chastises the 2005 Congress as being one that "values the rich more than the poor; corporate and special interests more than mothers and children; and the gun industry more than child safety." Furthermore, the report points out that while many budget choices voted on by the congress cut vital children's programs, at the same time, they were giving tax cuts to billionaires and millionaires. The utterly searing conclusion issued by the report was that "The United States of America does not have a money problem; we have a profound values and leadership problem."
I'd like to highlight the heros of this report--those under-recognized congressmen who were battling to protect our kids and losing dramatically to the Republican majority--but I'll let you look at the report itself to see who those were. Here for your review, in the bright light of day, are the 30 Worst US Senators for Children who VOTED ZERO PERCENT (0%) to help your kids: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO), Sen. George Allen (R-VA), Sen. Robert Bennet (R-UT), Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond (R-MO), Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-ID), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), Sen. Michael B. Enzi (R-WY), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Jon L. Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO), Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY), Sen. John R. Thune (R-SD), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).
Uh, does anyone notice a trend here? All Republican? In addition, not a single Republican Senator made it onto the list of the Best Senators for Children, those who scored 100%. Those are all Democrats!
Here are the 167 Worst Representatives for Children who VOTED ZERO PERCENT (0%) to help your kids (by state):
Alaska: Don Young (R)
Alabama: Robert B. Aderholt (R), Spencer Bachus (R), Jo Bonner (R), Terry Everett (R), Michael D. Rogers (R);
Arizona: J.D. Hayworth (R), Jim Kolbe (R)
Arkansas: John Boozman (R)
California: Ken Calvert (R), John Campbell (R), Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R), Christopher Cox (R), John T. Doolittle (R), David Dreier (R), Elton Gallegly (R), Wally Herger (R), Duncan Hunter (R), Darrell Issa (R), Jerry Lewis (R), Dan Lungren (R), Howard "Buck" McKeon (R), Gary G. Miller (R), Devin Nunes (R), Richard Pombo (R), George P. Radanovich (R), Dana Rohrabacher (R), Edward Royce (R), William M. Thomas (R)
Colorado: Bob Beauprez (R), Joel Hefley (R), Marilyn Musgrave (R), Thomas G. Tancredo (R)
Florida: Ginny Brown-Waite (R), Ander Crenshaw (R), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R), Mario Diaz-Balart (R), Tom Feeney (R), Ric Keller (R), Connie Mack (R), John Mica (R), Jeff Miller (R), Adam Putnam (R), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R), Cliff Stearns (R), Dave Weldon (R)
Georgia: Nathan Deal (R), Phil Gingrey (R), Jack Kingston (R), John Linder (R), Charles Norwood (R), Tom Price (R), Lynn A. Westmoreland (R)
Idaho: C.L. "Butch" Otter (R), Mike Simpson (R)
Illinois: Judy Biggert (R), J. Dennis Hastert (R), Ray H. LaHood (R), John M. Shimkus (R), Jerry Weller (R)
Indiana: Dan Burton (R), Chris Chocola (R), Mike Pence (R), Mike Sodrel (R), Mark Souder (R)
Iowa: Steve King (R), Tom Latham (R), Jim Nussle (R)
Kansas: Jim R. Ryun (R), Todd Tiahrt (R)
Kentucky: Geoff Davis (R), Ron Lewis (R), Anne M. Northup (R), Harold Rogers (R), Edward Whitfield (R)
Louisiana: Rodney Alexander (R), Richard H. Baker (R), Bobby Jindal (R), Jim McCrery (R)
New Mexico: Steve Pearce (R)
Michigan: Dave Camp (R), Peter Hoekstra (R), Joseph Knollenberg (R), Thaddeus G. McCotter (R), Michael J. Rogers (R)
Minnesota: John Kline (R)
Missouri: Todd Akin (R), Roy Blunt (R), Jo Ann H. Emerson (R), Sam Graves (R), Kenny C. Hulshof (R), Candice Miller (R)
Mississippi: Charles "Chip" Pickering, Jr. (R), Roger Wicker (R)
Montana: Dennis Rehberg (R)
Nebraska: Jeff Fortenberry (R), Tom Osborne (R), Lee Terry (R)
Nevada: James A. Gibbons (R), Jon C. Porter (R)
New York: Thomas Reynolds (R), James T. Walsh (R)
North Carolina: Howard Coble (R), Virginia Foxx (R), Robin Hayes (R), Sue Myrick (R), Charles H. Taylor (R)
Ohio: John A. Boehner (R), Steve Chabot (R), Paul E. Gillmor (R), David Hobson (R), Michael G. Oxley (R), Rob J. Portman (R), Deborah Price (R), Ralph Regula (R), Jean Schmidt (R), Patrick J. Tiberi (R), Michael Turner (R)
Oklahoma: Tom Cole (R), Ernest Istook, Jr. (R), Frank, D. Lucas (R), John Sullivan (R)
Oregon: Greg Walden (R)
Pennsylvania: Charles W. Dent (R), Philip S. English (R), Jim Gerlach (R), Melissa A. Hart (R), John E. Peterson (R), Todd R. Platts (R), Bill Shuster (R), Curt Weldon (R)
South Carolina: J. Gresham Barrett (R), Henry E. Brown, Jr. (R), Joe Wilson (R)
Tennessee: Marsha Blackburn (R), William L. Jenkins (R)
Texas: Joe Barton (R), Henry Bonilla (R), Kevin P. Brady (R), Michael C. Burgess (R), John R. Carter (R), Mike Conaway (R), John A. Culberson (R), Tom Delay (R), Louie Gohmert (R), Kay Granger (R), Ralph M. Hall (R), Sam Jonson (R), Kenny Marchant (R), Michael McCaul (R), Randy Neugebauer (R), Ted Poe (R), Pete Sessions (R), Lamar S. Smith (R), William "Mac" Thornberry (R)
Utah: Chris Cannon (R)
Virginia: Eric Cantor (R), Jo Ann S. Davis (R), Thelma D. Drake (R), Randy Forbes (R), Bob Goodlatte (R)
Washington: Doc Hastings (R), Cathy McMorris (R)
Wisconsin: Thomas E. Petri (R), Paul D. Ryan (R), F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R)
Amazingly, all of these representatives are also ALL REPUBLICAN!
We've had a Republican majority in both houses of Congress--so what did Congress do with this power? As the Children's Defense Fund report states: It voted to undermine and cut guaranteed health protections for 25 million children who depend on Medicaid as their health lifeline at a time when nine million children lack any health insurance. They voted to cut billions from child support as hunger and homelessness run rampant. They voted to cut funding from an overburdened and underfunded foster care system. And they voted to weaken laws that would protect children from the guns that took 2,867 child and teen lives in the most recent year--about 8 lives a day. Well, if the fundamental thing that families are about is taking care of kids, I guess that puts the Republicans-being-the-party-of "Family Values" lie COMPLETELY to rest.