A recent letter writer took some embarrassing liberties in claiming that Sen. Warner voted with President Obama 97 percent of the time. As the Richmond Times Dispatch (RTD) pointed out, this statistic only deals with 419 of Warnerâ??s 1,473 roll call votes. RTD notes that broad voting studies by National Journal and Open Congress rate Warner as one of the most conservative Senate Democrats.
Even more embarrassing to your correspondent, more than half of the 419 votes on issues in which the President staked out a â??clear positionâ? were to confirm presidential nominations for positions such as career ambassadors, or inspectors general. Warner is lucky to have been able to cast those 226 votes as the Republicans, who closed down the government in 2013, work hard to put lengthy holds on any ordinary presidential appointments. Career ambassadors have languished for as much as a year (Niger!?). We all are scratching our head why in the middle of the Ebola outbreak America has no Surgeon General.
For these 226 votes to be taken, the Republicans not only lifted their holds but also cast votes for these nominations. How do we judge a Republican vote to send a career ambassador to an embassy? Does he suddenly become a Democratic presidential partisan as your correspondent suggests, or a supporter of Americaâ??s overseas interests?
The RTD study also notes Senator Warnerâ??s persistent but unsuccessful efforts to build a bipartisan consensus for debt reduction â?? efforts that never came to a vote.