Following the vote on the Blunt-Nelson amendment that would allow Americans to opt out of Obamacare's health benefits mandates for moral or religious reasons, Senate majority leader Harry Reid said the vote showed Republicans are beholden to an "extreme ideological" faction.
But what about the three Democratic senators--Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania--who voted the same way as Republicans on the Blunt amendment? "I have the greatest respect for what Senator Ben Nelson did, what Bob Casey did, and what Joe Manchin did," Reid said. "That's their privilege. We don't demand everyone vote the same way."
But Reid couldn't explain why Republicans were extremists by voting for the Blunt amendment and Casey, Manchin, and Nelson were not extremists for voting the same way. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York similarly struggled to explain the apparent contradictions.
"This is one of the most extreme amendments that's come up," Schumer told reporters. One reporter then asked what Schumer thought of Bob Casey's vote for the Blunt amendment. "Well, Senator Casey has extreme--you know, Senator Casey, if you look at his overall record it's a lot different than Scott Brown's," Schumer replied. "The bottom line is he's a person of conviction, he wrestled with this. Everyone knows his views on the issue of choice. ... But they're heartfelt and they're out of conviction, and I respect it."
Schumer couldn't explain during a follow-up exchange with THE WEEKLY STANDARD why three Democrats weren't extremists if they voted the same way as Repubilcans:
TWS: How are Republicans extremists but Democrats aren't for voting for the same piece of legislation?
SCHUMER: Well, I don't even get your question.
TWS: You [said] Republicans are voting for an extreme bill.
SCHUMER: Well, this is an extreme piece of legislation. Ninety-eight percent of Americans participate in contraception. Every poll has shown by large majorities that the American people don't want to let employers decide contraception.
TWS: And therefore Republicans are extremists, but 3 Democrats are not extremists?
SCHUMER: Okay. Next.
Schumer moved on to another question.