For the truly obsessed (like me), the New York Times has put together a map/graphic that separates the U.S. House into eight factions based on how each member conducted him/herself during the recent unpleasantness over the shutdown and the debt limit.
The categories are called “Democratic core” (the group that stuck together and voted the party line); “Independent Democrats” (who joined the Repubs on some of the defund/delay/change Obamacare votes); “Moderate Republicans” (a relative few who said all along that shutting down the government was a bad plan); a “GOP leadership” group (not all members of the leadership but those who followed the lead of the leadership); the “Defund moderates” (the biggest single group of Republicans who supported the defund-Obamacare strategy for a while but has little Tea Partyishness); the “Tea Party affiliates” (who belong to one of the Tea Party organizations but did not sign a particular group letter advocating the shutdown strategy); the “Shutdown strategy” group (they were hard-core in favor of the strategy, but they aren’t in the House Tea Party Caucus) and the “Tea Party core” group (members of the Tea Party caucus and who signed the letter promising to shutdown or defund).
In its cool infographic, the Times shows everyone on a map of districts, sorted by category. Play with it yourself if you like. I’ll just throw out a few observations:
The fact that the the Republicans are divided into six categories and the Democrats into just two says something about the relative unity/disunity of the two parties at the moment. In fact, 193 of the 200 House Democrats were in the first category that followed the Dem leadership all the way.
The majority of the moderate Republicans were clustered in just three states: Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. It will be interesting to see if any of them are challenged from the right in primaries, and also whether some of them try to find a formal way to distance themselves from the Republican caucus.
Minnesota’s House delegation was wholly contained within just three categories. Rep. Michele Bachmann was the lone Minnesotan in the “Tea Party core” group. In fact, she is the official leader of the House Tea Party Caucus, although most caucus members are southerners. The Times put the other two Minnesota Republicans, John Kline and Erik Paulsen, into the “GOP leadership” category because they followed the leadership’s lead throughout the imbroglio.
That means all of Minnesota’s House Dems were in just one category, “Democratic core,” which voted as a bloc along with the Democratic leadership. Our five Democrats span quite a wide spectrum, from some of the most liberal members, to an old Blue Dog Democrat like Collin Peterson. But the unity of the overall caucus was such that our five stuck together.