Archive for Friday, August 10, 2007

Brownback absences rank No. 3

Presidential hopeful Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., steps off his campaign bus at a stop in Adel, Iowa. Brownback kicked off his summer road trip Monday, a 1,200-mile, four-day, 27-stop tour through Iowa.

Presidential hopeful Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., steps off his campaign bus at a stop in Adel, Iowa. Brownback kicked off his summer road trip Monday, a 1,200-mile, four-day, 27-stop tour through Iowa.

August 10, 2007


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— U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a conservative Republican running for president, has missed nearly 40 percent of his Senate votes this session.

Many of those absences stem from campaigning in Iowa in preparation for that state's leadoff presidential caucus in January and the Iowa Straw Poll, which is Saturday.

Brownback's campaign did not return a telephone call or e-mail seeking comment about his voting. In a June teleconference with reporters, Brownback said he was trying to do the best he could at balancing his campaign and Senate duties.

And, he said then, some of his missed votes were a consequence of a trip he took to Iraq and Afghanistan and a visit to Greensburg to inspect tornado damage.

Brownback has missed 123 of 310 Senate votes this session, or 39.7 percent, according to a Washington Post database.

That ranks him as the third-most-absent senator behind Tim Johnson, D-S.D., who suffered a brain hemorrhage on Dec. 13, 2006, and hasn't returned to the Senate, and John McCain, R-Ariz., another presidential candidate, who has missed 48.1 percent of votes.

Behind Brownback are three more presidential candidates: Joseph Biden, D-Del., at 25.2 percent; Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., at 23.9 percent; and Barack Obama, D-Ill., at 19 percent, according to the database. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., another presidential contender, missed 3.5 percent of votes and Kansas' other senator, Pat Roberts, a Republican, missed 3.9 percent.

Brownback has missed votes on the Iraq war, minimum wage, the budget and ethics reform.

Last month, he issued a news release praising the passage of legislation to help recovery efforts in tornado-ravaged Greensburg, but he wasn't there to vote for it; he was campaigning in Iowa.

The Kansas Democratic Party has criticized Brownback's campaigning on Senate time.

"Sam Brownback continues to shirk his duties as a U.S. senator so he can campaign in Iowa," state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Gaughan said. "But skipping a vote that would help the people of Greensburg is unacceptable. And taking credit for that is downright misleading."

Brownback and Roberts said Brownback worked on the legislative amendment aimed at benefiting Greensburg. The legislation passed easily, 89-4, and was part of a larger bill that included funding for border control and homeland security programs.

Joe Aistrup, head of the political science department at Kansas State University, said voters can excuse a presidential candidate who is a member of Congress from missing some votes, but missing 40 percent is excessive.

"Kansans elected him and, as a consequence, they expect him to be there," Aistrup said. "On the other hand, most Kansas voters recognize that a person running for president is going to miss a few votes. The question is what is a reasonable number to miss."

After Saturday, Aistrup said, Brownback may have more time to tend to his duties at the Capitol.

That's the day of the Iowa Straw Poll, an early test vote where Republicans buy tickets for their supporters to vote for them.

If Brownback finishes lower than third place, his presidential campaign could end, Aistrup said.

"He better come in first or second," Aistrup said. "Mitt Romney and Brownback are pulling out all stops, but Brownback needs to come out of the pack of secondary candidates.

"Iowa is farm country, and Brownback is a farm-state senator," he said. "If he is not going to do well in Iowa, he is not going to do well anywhere. Third place may be acceptable."


Doug Fisher 8 years ago

Brownback doesn't stand a chance. He's way too conservative for America. Not only that it's time for a party change!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

So, exactly which part(s) of this article do you dispute as factually incorrect, RT and manslagt?

jonas 8 years ago

Does anyone know how this compares to the votes missed by Kerry during his presidential run? I only ask because it was brought up many many times, I believe by the posters here, as a sign of his weak sense of duty and flawed personality.

manslagt: This seems like your venue. Dig us some links, will ya?

Godot 8 years ago

Anyone in Congress who seeks higher office should be required to resign at the moment candidacy is announced. Taxpayers should not subsidize the campaigns of these blood suckers by paying them their salaries while they fail to do their jobs while seeking higher office.

atavism 8 years ago

It would seem that if anyone, regardless of political affiliation, were to miss 40% of the days they were supposed to be at work, they would be fired. Even academics have to show up more than that.

warthog 8 years ago

The senators in this article, as well as all the others, are elected by us to do a job in Washington. And yet, here they are, getting paid to campaign for President. I have to agree with Godot's idea. They should drop out of congress and someone could be appointed to complete their term. And if they lose, they don't get their job back. Might give some of these doofuses a bit of pause about running essentially hopeless campaigns if it would hit them in the pocket book.

David Mora Marín 8 years ago

I'm just grateful for every vote he's missed. The more people like Brownback stay out of the Senate, the better off we are...maybe we can just get him to stop going all together and get someone new to represent us.

jantammuz 8 years ago

The least amount of time Sen. Brownbeck spends in Washingon the better. I say, let him miss as many votes as he possibly can.

kugraddc 8 years ago

Senator Kerry missed 72.3% of the votes in the 108th Congress (the session in which he was running).

Senator Clinton missed more votes than Senator Brownback in the 109th Congress (2.5% to 2.0%, respectively).

Perhaps the emphasis on "convergence" by the LJWorld should include links to where they get their reporters get their data. Let the readers decide for themselves how to interpret the data.

If you go to this web site: you will be able to view the voting records (attendance and whatnot) by selecting House or Senate under the different sessions of Congress.

It should also be noted that these votes may not include all roll call votes, which are good indicators of actual participation in the House or Senate.

Hope this helps.

coneflower 8 years ago

Brownback is just a political opportunist. He uses his religion for political purposes.

Why a bunch of evangelicals would support someone who found God in a couple of different ways and finally converted to Catholocism beats me. I guess they'll support incompetence and hypocrisy, not to mention his sitting at the right hand of Bush all these years, if he wears his religion on his sleeve.

Read the Rolling Stone interview of Brownback a few months back, entitled "God's Senator." You can Google it up. It will tell you all you need to know about this man.

Just as well he skips out on votes. He always votes with Bush anyway.

trinity 8 years ago

i so do not care that he's missed votes; but i do care that he's doing it on somebody else's dime. Godot nailed it.

packrat 8 years ago

I slammed Kerry during the past election for his neglect of duties. I think that it is terrible that Brownback is doing the same. I won't change my vote, I'll only vote for him if he is running against Hillary.

werekoala 8 years ago

A few points:

1) kugraddc - if you are a college grad, you should be ashamed by your post comparing Clinton to Brownback. Not just because it's a blatantly dishonest attempt at misdirection, but because it's so high school.

Funny how THIS Congress, Brownback is gone just under 40% of the time. And Clinton is gone 3.5% of the time. So your solution is to bring up a time several years ago when neither one was running for president, and try to ignore the facts as they are.

I swear sometimes I think we should use the right-wing spin as alternative energy.

2) More stirring the pot - despite being in congress much more than Brownback, did anyone catch that Obama is polling in third place in Iowa? Among REPUBLICANS? If the Dems don't nominate him, they are retarded.

justthefacts 8 years ago

i usually try to stick with "just the facts" and not get personal, but on this topic I shall make an exception.

I am a practicing Christian and usually on the conservative side of things. Thus, Brownback (as someone who says he espouses the same principles) should be my favorite candidate in this race if not ever. He is not. Not by a long long long shot.

Why not? Because I have had personal encounters and experiences with him. I have found him to be a politically motivated ambitious opportunist, at every turn. I could give countless examples that are factual and clearly show that he is much more interested in attaining power then he is in doing "the right thing." His platform is designed to please the people whom he believes are in the majority and are most likely to vote in national elections. He and Hillary are cut from the same exact cloth. They are just betting on different voting blocks coming through for them. His personal conduct and priorities do not match the platitudes he speaks. Not showing up for Senate votes is only the tip of the hypocrite iceberg!

50YearResident 8 years ago

We won't have to worry about Brownback (for a while) after the Iowa straw poll on Saturday when he finishes dead last. He probably will begin his Kansas re-election campaign on Sunday and still won't vote. Maybe a Church will hire him as a Preacher after his Kansas defeat.

Scott Tichenor 8 years ago

You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years ago

Wow,123 votes. So that's 246 times he could have voted and didn't. That's not what your constituents on both sides of the fence want to read about, Sam.

Kookamooka 8 years ago

Brownback is CATHOLIC!! He can't just go be a preacher anywhere.

He, allegedly, changed his religious affiliation after he was recruited by a very conservative branch of the Catholic Church called Opus Dei. (Anyone remember these guys? The DaVinci Code?) They are a real order and exist to lobby the political leaders of powerful countries. I'm sure there is a link on the internet to this somewhere. I think I heard it on NPR.

So...there you go.

P.S. Clinton and Obama are both managing to run for President AND serve their constituencies. I think Brownback just thinks the people of Kansas are a bunch of morons who don't need representation. He couldn't be more wrong. If the Republicans still held the majority, I might forgive him but the people who voted for him counted on him to be there, and he isn't. Well....I agree with jantammuz, the longer he stays out of congress, the better off the entire country is.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 8 years ago

Brownback, McCain, Dodd and Obama should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for missing so many votes. It truly says a lot about their lack of concern for the constituents.

Keith 8 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kookamooka 8 years ago

Yep, I was right. Just google Sam Brownback Religion and there are a bunch of articles written by such notables as The Washington Post and Rolling Stone. We don't get this information, in Lawrence, because the more conservative "World" is the gate keeper but other people in the U.S. know about Brownback. Unfortunately, having as much information about a person BEFORE you vote for them is key to having a good Democracy. But who cares about that...we just trust their spin. It's easier.

Joe Hyde 8 years ago

In our high-tech society, can't a secure, encrypted communication procedure be devised that allows elected politicians to cast votes in absence? We voters enjoy the right of absentee voting during election years when we are away overseas in the military or otherwise far removed from our registered voting places. Why can't registered presidential candidates who already hold elected office enjoy the same freedom to vote on House and Senate bills when they're "out of town"?

We all appreciate that canditates running for president travel all over the country, which takes time, which pulls the candidate physically out of his or her home state, or far from their normal office whether that office be in Washington or their state capitol.

Presidential candidates should be granted equal treatment by being allowed to cast votes in the House and Senate, even when they're away. If "inability to vote" during the campaign is the issue, then we should modify the system so they can vote. Thinking, and then voting, is the job we hired them for.

werekoala 8 years ago

I don't think it's a hit piece to say that our junior Senator is only doing 60% of the job we hired him to do. I call that basic accountability in government 101.

But any information that reflects poorly on your guy HAS to be a "hit piece", doesn't it? And trashing a guy's church -- seriously? That's just sad.

And I really don't give a damn if a reporter is a fanatical Dobson follower, as long as he (or his editor) can keep his bias out of his stories). I really don't see any evidence of bias in this article - it's a pretty bare bones, just-the-facts-ma'am piece.

But, quoting Colbert, I suppose reality has a well-known liberal bias, doesn't it?

kugrad 8 years ago

Although I do not generally support Senator Brownback and oppose all candidates who are literalist fundamentalists in any religion, I think this is a non-story and a non-issue. ALL candidates who are in the Senate or the House miss a LOT of votes. Many of the votes taken in Congress are virtually meaningless anyway, and there are only a couple of dozen votes a session that make any difference anyway. It is not like our Congess is a workhorse accomplishing a lot of important things. This same sort of charge was leveled against Kerry. The percentage of votes missed will change with who is doing the counting. Brownback has many far more serious issues that should prevent him from being elected than the number of votes he missed. He probably missed some because he thought the rapture was going to happen that day.

chet_larock 8 years ago

"Rothschild's hit piece probably has more to do with that. It's a preemptive strike."

Cruising for another banned username. The piece is about Brownback and his missed votes. Give us the facts you dispute, otherwise quit whining.

guesswho 8 years ago

This is a pretty stupid article, as it does take a lot of time to run for higher office. I'm guessing it is highlighted here only since Sammy is from Kansas.

kugraddc 8 years ago

werekoala: no need to get defensive about HRC...the only reason I cited that comparison was to point out HRC's consistency between the last session and this session.

I in no way support her (or ever would, as I would never vote for a Democrat), but I'm appalled that you would think my data leaned one way or the other.

Godot 8 years ago

My guess would be that Clinton and Obama have millions of dollars more in their campaign accounts than Brownback does; they can afford their private jets and limos to get them back and forth between Iowa and all over the USA and Washington DC. Brownback has to limit his travel to fit his budget.

People should give Brownback kudos for having a much smaller carbon footprint than those of his jet-setting opponents.

jasonc_22 8 years ago

anyone- Democrat or Republican- who runs for higher office while ignoring their duties to the people who put them in office in the first place should be roasted over the coals. While Senator Brownback does a poor job representing me, I would encourage him to stop his ego-trip run for President and get back to where the people of Kansas put him.

justthefacts 8 years ago

Every single person has some bias in them. No one is completely objective. Including reporters, journalists, or commenters. That is why people who want to make up their minds on any given topic or subject do well to research the issue themsevles, from all possible angels and sources, rather then relying only or largely upon those sources or persons with whom one might already agree. Keeping an open mind, and doing ones homework, is not easy for most people. It takes work, and time, to become better informed. It's far easier to make up ones mind based upon preconceived "facts" or by relying upon news sources (or reporters) who have shown a track record of saying things you already believe to be true. But in this day and age, it's far easier (watch the OTHER TV shows, read the OTHER newspapers, listen to the OTHER radio programs). You might learn something new, or at least better understand "the OTHERS."

Why is it that so many discussions on news stories end up in attacks on the source, not the facts in the article?

werekoala 8 years ago

"the only reason I cited that comparison was to point out HRC's consistency between the last session and this session."

Sorry if I misinterpreted that - it was phased to sound like you were trying to draw comparison between the two in a past session. I must say that despite the fact that HRC is not my first choice (or even third), I'm impressed by her ability to miss less votes than Pat Roberts (who isn't running for president).

I suppose being the front-runner may have its advantages. Plus, she's got Bill to run around campaigning for her.

"I in no way support her (or ever would, as I would never vote for a Democrat), but I'm appalled that you would think my data leaned one way or the other."

Again, it sounded like an irrelevant point to bring up last Congresses' performance when we're talking about the current one. Sorry if I flamed you, though.

I would say, though, that the idea of never voting for someone with a (D) behind their name makes you much less valuable to your own party -- if they don't have to worry about losing your support to the other side; they have no reason to care about you and your pet issues. See: the Religious Right and abortion.

kugraddc 8 years ago

Actually, if you approach it from another way, werekoala, I just do not vote for a race at all when Republicans upset me. Witness 2006: Republicans forgot why they were in office--many Republicans (including conservatives) stayed home or skipped that race on the ballot.

Don't really consider myself part of the "religious right" (although I will, to quote Voltaire, defend to the death their right to believe what they want); rather, I find myself in the fiscal conservative ranks.

Thanks for the debate, werekoala. (=

acg 8 years ago

"I in no way support her (or ever would, as I would never vote for a Democrat)".....

Exactly what is wrong with this country right now. Saying you would never vote for someone because of the political party they belong to is about the dumbest thing a person can do or say.

Godot 8 years ago

I used to vote for Democrats; I will not vote Democrat for Congress in this current political climate; I would not want to give any more power to the likes of Clinton, Biden, Kerry, Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Murtha, Hoyer, Schumer, et al. If all the old guard were cleaned out of Congress, then I would consider looking at new, totally "unconnected" Democrat candidates, based on how they stand on issues. But as long as the old guard is in there calling the shots, collecting the dough, doling out favors, and building their wealth at taxpayer expense, there is not a chance I would cast a vote for a Democrat for Congress.

Godot 8 years ago

And that pretty much goes for Republicans, too. The difference is that much of the Republican old guard has been cleared out already.

chet_larock 8 years ago

"But as long as the old guard is in there calling the shots, collecting the dough, doling out favors, and building their wealth at taxpayer expense, there is not a chance I would cast a vote for a Democrat for Congress."

And so you vote for a Republican for Congress, because they don't do any of those things.

chet_larock 8 years ago

Ah, thanks for the clarification =) I don't like many of the Dems, but the Republicans I just don't see as much better, even if the old guard, as you say, has been cleared out.

Godot 8 years ago

I say anyone who has been in Congress more than 12 years needs to go. That is longer than most people stay with the same employer in the private sector. We have got to remove "lifelong career in public office" as an option.

coldandhot 8 years ago

Rothschild is the most partisan writer at the Journal World and he is the political writer. He hates R's. Even when they do good things. This is why the new Pew Research Study shows that people don't trust reporters and in fact say that they don't tell the truth most of the time in their reports.

acg 8 years ago

I'd get on board with that Godot. Clear it all out! That goes for supreme court justices, as well. We need to stop keeping those old farts on for life. Some of them have been around since before cars or electricity. How can they possibly be in keeping with an ever changing society?

chet_larock 8 years ago


If you can show where he is being partisan or dishonest with his reporting, then contact the LJW and I'm sure they will take steps to correct it.

KansasPerson 8 years ago

Kookamooka says about Brownback....

"He, allegedly, changed his religious affiliation after he was recruited by a very conservative branch of the Catholic Church called Opus Dei. (Anyone remember these guys? The DaVinci Code?) They are a real order and exist to lobby the political leaders of powerful countries. I'm sure there is a link on the internet to this somewhere. I think I heard it on NPR."

I'm trying not to laugh here. "Anyone remember these guys? The DaVinci Code?" How about "Anyone remember the DaVinci Code? As in FICTION???"

Of course Opus Dei actually does exist, but are you seriously going to form your opinions about it on the basis of a pot-boiler novel and something that you're "sure you saw a link to somewhere" or "think you heard on NPR"???

First of all:

"They are a real order."

No, they are not an order. Opus Dei is a personal prelature. This is similar to a religious order but not the same thing. You don't take vows, for one thing.

They "exist to lobby the political leaders of powerful countries."

No. Opus Dei exists to help people find increased closeness to God through their everyday work. Their philosophy (absolutely in line with mainstream, post-Vatican-II era Catholicism) is that one does not need to join a religious order or live in a cloistered situation in order to be close to God, but that one can increase in goodness and holiness while going about one's business as a student, an office worker, a soccer mom, whatever.

Additionally -- Opus Dei does not "recruit" people. It is entirely possible that Senator Brownback became Catholic after having met various Catholics, including people involved with Opus Dei, but that is not the same thing. I'm always happy to oblige someone who wants to talk religion with me, but that isn't "recruiting" people.

I'm NOT a member of Opus Dei -- I just want people to get the full picture and not just what Dan Brown made up!!

Godot 8 years ago

acg wrote: "Clear it all out! That goes for supreme court justices, as well. We need to stop keeping those old farts on for life. Some of them have been around since before cars or electricity. How can they possibly be in keeping with an ever changing society?"

The only thing they have to keep up with is the constitution. The "old farts" that need to go are the ones who think it is their duty to revise the constitution.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years ago

Run MM Run. Find the pictures and run them with the motto "Vote for me, it's how you picked your wife". I'm telling you, it's a winner and you could be our next purple state Senator. I'm serious. A unique campaign from a unique new senator. I'm sick of these ugly old men. If I'd been in California when Arnold won I'd have voted for the porno star. AT least she'd been honest about telling you who she was screwing. With Brownback you don't even know which side of the issue he's on.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years ago

Ps: MM, I think that's Sheila Frahm(?) I know Fromm isn't right. Appointed by Graves, which makes me a little edgy, but then knocked out of the box by Brownback and his newly found religious conservatism. When he started he was one of the good ol' boy moderates, but found religion, or at least the backing of the religious right.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years ago

Come on folks, let's run someone with a little imagination. I'm so sick of supporting some clown who advertises that he's a boy scout only to find that he spends half his salary at Madam X's Hookeria.

Or how about the prim and proper Governor Roundheels. When she's not spouting cliches about her concern for the environment she's turning western Kansas into one gigantic coal fired power plant (see the latest Pitch) but only when she's not turning our health care system and the KU name over to her supporters in Missouri.

Morrison,you know he's just so tightly wound that he has to wear something pretty on the weekend to calm down, something Ron Thornburg doesn't need to do since he doesn't go to work to begin with.

Let's run someone, or something fun. A tree, someone like MM who comes on here with an open mind and nothing up her sleeve, if she has one. Like it would be any worse than it is now.

Where's your argument that you couldn't do better than a guy who never shows up to vote except when he votes on both sides of the issue. Now that's a serious presidential candidate. Sure, let's turn the keys to the White House over to him.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years ago

Oh sure, suggest that we elect someone fun and everyone goes home. Politics sucks.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years ago

Regarding a PEW Foundation poll on perceptions of the media:

The PEW Foundation is a left leaning charitable trust that does research on a variety of issues including the press. The results of their latest poll, sure to be trumpeted by the right, are available on the home page cited above.

Tychoman 8 years ago

Has Manslagt been booted off...AGAIN? I always miss the best days!

chet_larock 8 years ago

"Has Manslagt been booted off:AGAIN?"

Exactly. Shocker.

deec 8 years ago

How about let's help Kev think of a new name? Like clintondidit. Or truepatriot_man. or shrublover?

yourworstnightmare 8 years ago

Funny, I always considered Brownback a No. 2.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years ago

Brownback can't even win a poll in Kansas. Steve Kraske at the Star reported something about him losing a straw poll at a Republican event. I forget who the winner was, but Sam got buried. I think all of his flip flops are catching up to him.

Why is this guy always getting thrown off? I saw his stuff the other day picking on Rothschild for his religion and that's certainly in poor taste coming from someone on the right, but I didn't know that hypocrisy was grounds for removal, or there'd be a lot of other folks gone too.

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