Election 2008

Congressional scorecard in the news

Peace Action West’s congressional scorecard, which grades every member of Congress on issues like Iraq, Iran and human rights, is getting the attention of the media and members of Congress.

I spoke with a reporter from the Colorado Springs Gazette about the fact that Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO), candidate for Senate, went from a 100% in 2003 to a 45% in 2007:

Udall has gradually moved to the center, voting with the country’s most prominent business organization more than half the time and the country’s largest peace advocacy group less than half the time…

…Udall has gone the opposite way on peace issues, says Rebecca Griffn, political director of Peace Action West, which gave him a 100 percent rating in 2003 but just a 45 percent mark last year.

In 2003, he backed a number of pro-peace initiatives that failed, including an attempt to reduce the budget for nuclear-weapons development and an attempt to cut money for Colombian counter-drug activities and increase funding for HIV and AIDS programs. In 2007, even as the war in Iraq grew more unpopular, Udall refused to tie continued funding to a withdrawal date or to cut funds for missile defense.

Udall, who once supported the creation of a federal Department of Peace, obtained a seat on the House Armed Services Committee in 2005.

"The world changed on 9/11. Colorado changed on 9/11. I changed on 9/11," he said.

Apparently Rep. Udall hasn’t noticed that since 9/11 his voting record has gone in the opposite direction of public opinion, with a majority of Americans thinking the war in Iraq was a mistake and we should withdraw US troops.

After Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) sent out a press release rightfully touting his perfect score on our scorecard, I was invited to write a guest blog post about the scorecard for The Hill’s Congress blog:

According to a poll conducted by Public Agenda in Spring 2008, “two-thirds of Americans want to withdraw from Iraq.” Also, “seven in ten believe we need to emphasize diplomatic and economic efforts rather than military to fight terror.” As the 2008 election approaches, now is a critical time to evaluate whether our representatives in Congress are delivering the new foreign policy vision America wants to see.

To assist voters in determining how well their voices are being heard by Congress, Peace Action and Peace Action West have released our 2007 congressional scorecard. We chose eleven votes each in the House and Senate, grading members of Congress on Iraq, Iran, weapons spending and human rights. Click here to download the 2007 congressional scorecard.

An election year is a critical time to make sure our representatives have been doing what we elected them to do, and pressure them if they’re not.  Click here to write a message to your representative or senators and tell them what you think of their grade.