George Graham

Seven Democrats Who Just Don’t Get It

It’s not easy to find the names of the seven Democrats who joined Republicans to vote against the final stimulus bill in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. I imagine they’re trying to keep a low profile. But I finally dug up the list at

Most of these nay voters had a selfish reason: They represent conservative districts. And they hope that by pandering to their intellectually challenged constituents that they’ll hang on to their cushy jobs. Apparently, that’s all that matters to them. And don’t give me that nonsense about the stimulus package being too big to swallow. My fear is that it might be too small to do the job. When an economy seizes up the way this one has, there’s just one way to blast it loose, and that’s massive government spending. Please don’t mention tax cuts in my hearing. That’s been tried over and over, and has yet to succeed. So, of course, I’m not happy with Obama’s final stimulus plan. I think it’s too heavy on tax cuts, too scattered in its impact and too timid. It lacks critical mass.

But do you think I would vote against the plan? Not on your life. It’s the best we can get as long as there are enough Republicans in the Senate to sabotage President Obama’s efforts. With 41 votes, they can filibuster, which is a fancy way of saying they can delay the voting process until the time limit for the debate expires. In the absurd world of American politics that would kill the bill. And, sadly, the Republicans have those 41 votes.

One of the no votes came from Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, and you know Oregonians are much too smart to be conservatives. So he had other reasons for his vote. He has some of the same reservations I have about the final bill and he was protesting concessions to Republicans.  What he wants Democrats to do – instead of “reaching across the aisle” – is to vote away the filibuster.

The way I see it, the Democrats who voted no – for whatever reason – just don’t get it.

Without a stimulus plan, the American economy would continue its precipitous decline, plunging the global economy into chaos. That translates into starving kids and desperate families, violent protests and more bloodshed. That’s not the world I want to live in. It’s by the grace of God that a recovery plan – flawed though it might be – has managed to get through the House and the Senate (with grudging support from just three Republicans). Despite its shortcomings it might be enough to revive the economy (along with other measures yet to be explained). But if the plan succeeds, voters should remember that Republicans opposed it en masse, and that seven Democrats joined them.


Here they are (from left): Walt Minnick (Idaho); Parker Griffith (Ala.); Peter DeFazio (Ore.); Gene Taylor (Miss.); Heath Shuler (N.C.); Collin Peterson (Minn.); Bobby Bright (Ala.).

If you live in one of their districts – or know someone who does – it would be a patriotic gesture to vote against them in the next Democratic primary election.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for