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Carr’s Case Against Lamar Alexander Lacks Context

“If Lamar Alexander is voting with Barack Hussein Obama 62 percent of the time, he’s voting against Tennesseans 62 percent of the time,” state Rep. Joe Carr told a Nashville radio station last week. You’ll be surprised to know that Carr left a bit of context out of his comments in his primary challenge to the Volunteer State’s senior senator.

Carr’s remarks suggest that all votes “with” Obama are bad votes, for Tennessee and for the country. But that means Carr should be aiming his fire at virtually all of the GOP senators in the country, not just Alexander.

While Alexander voted with Obama 62 percent of the time in 2012 and 63 percent in 2011, according to CQ’s rating system, his record isn’t all that far off from many senators considered conservative heroes.

For example, Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, former president of the Club for Growth, voted with the president 42 percent of the time in 2012 and 58 percent in 2011. Utah Sen. Mike Lee scored just 17 percent with Obama in 2012 but 51 percent in 2011.

Other conservatives senators voted “with” the president anywhere from one-third to more than one-half of the time.

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn supported Obama 41 percent of the time in 2012 and 52 percent in 2011. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul voted with the president 34 percent of the time in 2012 and 41 percent in 2011. And Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson matched the president 47 percent of the time in 2012 and 51 percent in 2011.

Carr’s comments probably draw plenty of applause from tea party activists and could make for a nice attack ad. But he really misses the mark and how Washington works. Come to think of it, maybe he’d fit right in.

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