The establishment media rap on Pat Toomey, propagated by reporters like Colby Itkowitz, Patrick Kerkstra and (to a lesser extent) Keegan Gibson, is that he’s just an aww-shucks center-right budget wonk who just wants to cut a deal, and isn’t really invested in the broader culture war that the tea-infused Republican Party has been waging in Washington.
In reality, this Toomey mythology is wholly unsupportable by the facts. Toomey may eschew the kind of explosive rhetoric that gets his fellow hardliners into trouble, but anybody’s who’s been paying attention to his actual votes, instead of projecting onto him their own personal wishes for a less crazy Republican Party to cover, knows that Toomey has in fact earned his ranking as the 5th most conservative Senator, and he has been on board with the whole tea program all the way down.
The latest piece of evidence that Toomey, and the Tea Party more generally, are not just motivated by fiscal politics, is Toomey’s vote to scale back the Violence Against Women Act to protect dudes who rape Native American women from prosecution by tribal courts:
The amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) would have stripped out language in the bill that allows tribal regions to prosecute non-Native Americans accused of committing crimes against Native Americans.
“What we’ve done with this solution is to trample on the Bill of Rights of every American who’s not a Native American,” Coburn said. “And I have no doubt — I am a hundred percent certain that this portion of the bill is going to be thrown out by the first federal judge that hears it.”
It was voted down by a 31-59 margin.
“Less than 50 percent of domestic violence cases in Indian Country are prosecuted because of a gap in the legal system,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Indian Affairs Committee, said before the vote. “We shouldn’t strip out this provision. We should move forward.”
(via Sahil Kapur)