Nancy Pelosi proposed an unlikely candidate as Barack Obama's running-mate yesterday -- Texas Rep. Chet Edwards. Edwards represents the 17th district, a heavily Republican area with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+18. He's also notable as the only Democratic congressman targeted by Tom DeLay's 2003 redistricting plan to survive.
While the appeal of picking a Texas Democrat, especially one who has beaten back adversaries like DeLay in past elections, is understandable, Edwards would be a poor choice. Not only did he vote for the Iraq war authorization in 2002, a vote which could undermine the Obama campaign's emphasis on foreign policy judgment, he has an, at best, mixed record when it comes to votes on withdrawal.
While he voted for the House leadership's Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act in 2007, he also voted for a Republican resolution in 2006 rejecting an "arbitrary date for withdrawal or redeployment", and for a 2007 emergency appropriations bill for the war without a timetable for withdrawal (he even voted against an amendment adding such a timetable). The latter two votes, along with his votes in 2007 and this past week for telecom immunity have led to his inclusion on Matt Stoller and Chris Bowers' list of "Bush Dog Democrats".
His conservative record doesn't stop with national security issues; he voted to make permanent the repeal of the estate tax, in favor of the Bankruptcy Reform bill, for drilling in ANWR, and against the 2007 House renewable energy bill. Perhaps most egregiously, he was one of thirty-six House Democrats to vote in favor of the the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004. Is it really too much to expect the Democratic vice presidential nominee to be, at least, not to the right of John McCain on LGBT equality?
For what it's worth, Edwards has said he would not turn down the post if asked, but that he hasn't been contacted by the Obama campaign. I'm pretty sure it will stay that way.
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