Iowa’s Odd Couple

Chris Cillizza of The Fix had an interesting post today, in which he pontificated upon a reader’s question regarding what state had the most politically opposite Senatorial tandem. He answered "Iowa." Here’s the rub (and having worked in Iowa politics a couple of years ago, I can tell you there’s probably no state as politically charged — and engaged — as the Hawkeye State):

In last week’s first official Fix chat — every Friday at 11 a.m. — we got a question that intrigued us.

"Which state’s senate delegation is the most politically schizophrenic, i.e., has the two senators who are the most diametrically opposed politically?" asked a Fixista from Jackson, Mississippi.

These are the very sort of political debates we L-O-V-E. So, we spent the weekend thinking about the Mutt and Jeffs in the Senate. (Yes, we are aware how dorky that sounds.) Add your own in the comments section below and we’ll update the post to create a full list!

The most obvious Mutt and Jeff tandem is in Iowa where Tom Harkin (D) and Chuck Grassley (R) are on opposite end of the partisan spectrum. In National Journal’s 2008 vote ratings, Grassley ranked as more conservative than 82.3 percent of the Senate while Harkin scored as more liberal than 76.5 percent of his colleagues.

Interestingly, despite their disparate ideological views, both Harkin and Grassley have proven to be unbeatable in the Hawkeye State. Grassley, first elected in 1980, has won his re-election races with 66 percent, 70 percent, 69 percent and 70 percent; Harkin, who claimed his Senate seat six years after Grassley, has had a tougher time of it but has repeatedly beaten back quality foes and was re-elected in 2008 with 63 percent of the vote. 

U.S. Senators: Auto Bailout No-Go for Now

The proposed $14 billion auto bailout, which passed the House, was defeated in a procedural vote by the U.S. Senate last night. However, both Indiana Senators, Richard Lugar (R) and Evan Bayh (D), voted in favor of allowing a vote on the measure.

Lugar says:

“A new Congress will be in place in a little more than three weeks and will be able to again consider options. In the meanwhile, the Administration has the funding and ability to extend credit to the car companies as they have already done in the financial sector,” Lugar said.

“In 1979, at the brink of collapse, the Chrysler Corporation came to Congress asking for aid. Senator Paul Tsongas and I worked more than six months to forge a deal based on tough love: assistance would be provided, but only on condition of substantial compromise by all parties,” Lugar said.