Many political commentators from various media sources have advanced the notion that based on the vote on the "Final Debt Deal," the Republican Party in the House of Representatives is fractured and dominated by extremists.
The repetition of this opinion in the media by commentators ignores the actual vote and is intellectually lazy. Let us look at the vote and then draw some conclusions.
The 112th House of Representatives has 242 Republicans and 195 Democrats. It is safe to assert that since Representatives stand for election every two years by a specific district, then the House of Representatives more acurately reflects the mood and direction of the people than does the Senate.
Because of the party affiliation of each Representative it is safe to say that the center of the 112th House of Representatives is within the Republican Party. I think we can agree that the political "extremes" can be located within each party. The "exteme right" is within the Republican Party in the House, and the "extreme left" is within the Democratic Party in the House.
The "Final Debt Deal" passed in the House of Representatives with vote of 269 in the affirmative and 161 in the negative. Three Representatives did not vote, and no judgment is made about those positions.
Republican Representatives supported the "Final Debt Deal" by a vote of 174 - 66. Democratic Representatives were split on the "Deal" by a vote of 95 - 95. Three Democrats did not vote. Speaker of the House Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and Minority Leader Pelosi voted in the affirmative.
The broad, bipartisan center for the "Final Debt Deal" - 62.6% - spanned both parties. The bill would not have passed unless it had the support of both parties' leadaership and the bipartisan support of the majority of Representatives.
If we assume that the "extreme" on both ends of the spectrum voted in the minority opposition, and that the "extreme right" is found among the Republican Representatives and the "Extreme Left" is found among the Democratic Representatives, then what conclusions can we draw from this very important vote?
- The center of the 112th House of Representatives is within the Republican Party.
- The Republican Party in the 112th House is not dominated by the "Extreme Right." Based on this particular vote the "Extreme Right" is 27.3% of the Republican Party - an important, but not dominant minority.
- The Democratic Party in the 112th House is split by those in the broad center and those on the "Extreme Left." Based on this particular vote the "Extreme Left" is exactly 50.0% of the Democratic Party - making neither the center, nor extreme the majority or minority.
- The Democratic Party in the 112th House is the party that is fractured and dominated by "Extremists."
Before making rash and lazy statements based on their own wishful thinking, commentators should look at the facts.