How the Democrats voted on Iraq in 2002

(What do BMG readers think of Hillary Clinton? - promoted by Bob)

A bit of recent history since, until I was corrected by 2.5 cats in a comment below, I was under the incorrect impression that a “vast majority” of Democrats in Congress supported the 2002 Iraq war resolution. Turns out it was only a substantial majority of Democratic Senators.

Yet more proof, if any were needed, of the incredible self-policing instant-verification and correction system of the blogosphere. The future belongs to journalism with comments.

For the record, according to a very useful and concise discussion on Wikipedia, “The 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public law 107-243, 116 Stat. 1497-1502) was a law passed by the United States Congress authorizing what was soon to become the Iraq War. The authorization was sought by President George W. Bush. Introduced as H.J.Res. 114, it passed the House on October 10, 2002 by a vote of 296-133, and by the Senate on October 11 by a vote of 77-23. It was signed into law by President Bush on October 16.”

In the House, 215 Republicans voted Yes, 6 No and 2 Present; 81 Democrats voted Yes, 126 No (61% of the delegation) and 1 Present; the sole Independent voted No. The final vote was 296 Yes (69% of the House), 133 No, and 3 Present.

In the Senate, 28 Democrats voted Yes (56% of the delegation, including Senators Clinton, Kerry, Edwards, Biden, Bayh, and Daschle) and 22 voted No; 49 Republicans voted Yes and one voted No (Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island). Note that the Democrats controlled the Senate and could have postponed a vote on the Resolution until after the November election.

Thanks 2.5 cats!

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5 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. In the Senate

    The significant vote in the Senate was the one on cloture.  Everyone knew the bill would pass if it came to a vote, so Senators Feingold, Kennedy, and Byrd tried to organize a filibuster.  They needed 40, the vote was 75-25 - not close, but actually better than I expected at the time (depressing though that was).

    Here are the Senators who voted no on cloture: Akaka (D-HI) Bingaman (D-NM) Boxer (D-CA) Byrd (D-WV) Carper (D-DE) Chafee (R-RI) Conrad (D-ND) Corzine (D-NJ) Dayton (D-MN) Dodd (D-CT) Durbin (D-IL) Feingold (D-WI) Hollings (D-SC) Inouye (D-HI) Jeffords (I-VT) Kennedy (D-MA) Kohl (D-WI) Leahy (D-VT) Levin (D-MI) Murray (D-WA) Sarbanes (D-MD) Specter (R-PA) Stabenow (D-MI) Wellstone (D-MN) Wyden (D-OR)

    I called Kerry's office shortly before this vote (1 or 2 days before it), and they gave me the impression that he would join the filibuster, though they said he hadn't decided.  He didn't, and I doubt I'll ever forgive him for it.  Notice that Specter did support the filibuster.  Interesting, eh?

    Oh, one other thing: the lead sponsor of the cloture motion (IOW, the chief proponent of "let's move this forward to a vote") was Joe Lieberman.

  2. The selling of the Authorization resoluation

    Quoting the President:

    It has also clearly communicated to the international community, to the United Nations Security Council, and, above all, to Iraq's tyrannical regime a powerful and important message: the days of Iraq flouting the will of the world, brutalizing its own people, and terrorizing its neighbors must -- and will -- end. Iraq will either comply with all U.N. resolutions, rid itself of weapons of mass destruction, and in its support for terrorists, or it will be compelled to do so. I hope that Iraq will choose compliance and peace, and I believe passage of this resolution makes that choice more likely.[Emphasis added]

    The President's speech of October 7, 2002:

    Later this week, the United States Congress will vote on this matter. I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable. The resolution will tell the United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized world mean something. Congress will also be sending a message to the dictator in Iraq: that his only chance -- his only choice is full compliance, and the time remaining for that choice is limited.[Emphasis added]

    I was reading Krugman at this time. He found an awful and convincing parallel between how the Administration had just sold the tax cut and how it was then selling military action against Iraq. However, Democrats who argued against voting for this awful bill were constantly being told that it did not mean a vote for war.

    • resolution, not resoluation

      Someday I'll learn to type.

    • not buying it

      And yet, we knew, very clearly, that it was a vote to let Bush invade Iraq and that Bush very much wanted to do so, and thus it was a vote for invading Iraq.  There would still be opportunities to stop him, but they'd be limited opportunities with little hope of success.

      • I knew that; you knew that

        I knew Bush was heading for war no matter what. However...

        I'm inclined to take our Democratic Senators at their word. As I've said on another comment, if President Al Gore had asked for authorization for military force, Kerry would also have voted for that figuring that President Gore would have used the authorization as a diplomatic lever rather than as a sort of Enabling Act. On some sort of "fairness" test, if he would have voted for it under Gore, he should vote for it under Bush.

        I've read a lot of what seems like pure speculation as to why Democratic Senators voted as they did in 2002. I would like to read or learn the actual facts. Some of our suspiciousness of Democrats comes from the toxic media environment we are in that scrutinizes every word and gesture of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry but is breezely unconcerned by the string of contradictions that Senator McCain (R-Maverick) has left behind him on Iraq policy. The presumption is that when those authentic Republicans speak, we take them at their word and when the scheming, partisan Democrats speak, we weigh whether they mean what they say or whether some petty or partisan or short-sighted political purpose lies beneath.

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