This bill seemed to be one of those occasions where the interests within the Democratic party diverged along geographic lines. Here is how Slate described it:
Despite the landmark passage, roundly heralded as a major victory for President Obama's legislative agenda, the vote pitted liberal coastal Democrats against heartland Democrats whose constituencies depend heavily on manufacturing jobs.Given this description of the dynamics, how should we interpret Kagen's voting yes on cap and trade?
Perhaps Kagen forgot that he was sent to Congress from the heartland. Maybe he just wishes he was a coastal Democrat. This isn't as far-fetched as it sounds given his fundraiser featuring the Boston Red Sox!
I have routinely seen Kagen described as one of those Democrats from a competitive district that is given latitude by Pelosi and the leadership to stray from the party line due to local concerns. Does this vote mean those days are over? If so, that might indicate the way the Democrats feel about their chances in Wisconsin in 2010 & 2012. Maybe this vote was so close that Kagen didn't make Pelosi's list of 'members free to vote against the party leadership and in their constituents' interest.'
In fairness to Kagen, Wisconsin's other Democrats also voted yes. But there were heartland Democrats that voted no: Three from Illinois; two from Ohio (OK, one of these was Kucinich); two from Indiana; and four from Pennsylvania. So 11 of the 44 Democrats that voted no are from the Great Lakes region. It's too bad Kagen didn't prove his independence from the national Democratic leadership by joining them and opposing cap and trade.