Like RS's Erick Erickson and TNR's Ironman, I instinctively shy from a boycott of the NRCC because they had eight members out of one hundred and seventy eight who flunked a test vote. Some of the names on that list hurt to see, and a couple are exercises in teeth-grinding; but perfect is the enemy of the good, and Congressional Republicans have done a good job in using our lopsidedly minority status to the best effect possible. Nobody's pretending that this was passed with bipartisan support. Nobody's even trying. That's better news for next year's elections than what I was frankly expecting, back in December 2008.
That being said: this was a test vote, and these eight represent eight 'Blue Dogs' that could safely vote No on this bill and keep pretending to their constituents that they believe in fiscal responsibility, and there needs to be some sort of response to that.
I have a modest suggestion along those lines, and his name is Anh "Joseph" Cao (LA-02).
If there is a Congressman who should have gotten a signed note from Boehner excusing him from voting the GOP line, it should be Cao: we took that seat through [a metaphor that is unfortunately not really approrpriate when discussing New Orleans] in 2008; he's going to be running for re-election in a district that is D+28; and his opponent's candidacy is going to be fueled by outside Democratic money outraged at the sight of a Republican in that seat*. Despite that fact, Cao's voted with the GOP on the first two test votes ('stimulus' and cap-and-trade), very possibly at the expense of his long-term Congressional prospects**. In other words, there's some loyalty there.
Now. Mike Castle of Delaware and Mark Kirk of Illinois are widely believed to be contemplating Senate runs in 2010. To do that, they're going to be needing money and support, because it's certainly not guaranteed that they'll win. So I ask you: if you have twenty dollars that you had assigned to 'speculative races,' who do you think needs it more right now? Heck, who do you think has earned it? Castle and Kirk, who'd like a promotion - or Cao, who'd like to keep his job?
Well, after you contribute to Cao, do one last thing: call up Rep. Castle's (202-225-4165) and Kirk's (202-225-4835) office and politely tell them that they lost that speculative money, because you've decided to reward loyalty. And if they want you to find space in the budget for another twenty dollars to support their Senate races, they had best start taking seriously the 'R' after their names.
I think that this is a constructive way to handle the situation.
*Doubly outraged at the sight of a non-white Republican in that seat, but that's the Northeast for you.
**This is usually the point where a certain type of commenter starts looking for a heretical vote that Cao's cast to justify not supporting him. Don't bother: he has. But I'm not going to make it easier for the Democrats to take this or any seat, and neither should anybody else.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.