Sunday, June 10, 2007

The IAVA Senate Troop Support Scale

The Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) has graded all 100 U. S. Senators according to how their votes on the 155 items concerning military and veterans' issues actually supported them. The resulting table can be found at Bob So check it out and see how your Senators did. Alaska's Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski rated a rousing D.

To quote Jill at Brilliant At Breakfast, quoting Bob Geiger,
IAVA analyzed 155 Senate votes that have taken place since September 11, 2001 and, to calculate their ratings, looked at "…each piece of legislation that affected troops, veterans or military families." IAVA then matched each Senator's votes with the organization's own view of what constitutes true support for active troops, Veterans and their families.

IAVA assigned an 'A' through 'F' grade using the scale at left showing the percentage of time each Senator has indeed supported troops and Veterans. As someone who has watched Senate Republicans vote time and time again against legislation that would benefit military families, the results did not shock me in the slightest.

No Senator in either party was given an A grade by IAVA. Thirteen Senators received a rating of A- and all of those were Democrats. A total of 23 Senators were given a B+ rating and 22 of those were Democrats as well. The other was Independent James Jeffords of Vermont, who caucuses with the Democrats.

Cutting to the chase -- and, perhaps more than anything I've seen in recent years, truly defining the difference between the two parties -- is that the worst grade received by a Senate Democrat was higher than the best grade granted a Republican. GOP-lite Ben Nelson (D-NE) received the lowest grade of any Democrat with a B- while Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) managed a C grade from IAVA.

And, when I averaged the scores of both the Democratic and Republican caucuses by assigning the numeric midpoint of the letter grade received by each Senator, which party truly supports the troops was made remarkably clear: The 44 Democrats and Jeffords had an average military-support grade of B+, while the 55 Republicans, who beat their chests with disgusting regularity about how strong they are on military issues, averaged a pathetic D.

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