-By Warner Todd Huston
So, it was claimed to be the end of the world if Congress didn't vote on the debt bill. But not every Illinois Republican voted to support GOP leader and House Speaker John Boehner's bill. Let’s see how the Illinois GOP delegation voted, shall we?
The most vocal opponent of the bill was the 8th District's Joe Walsh. He said that he could not, in good conscience, vote yes on the bill. Amusingly, he said in a radio interview on WLS that if he saw Speaker Boehner headed his way with the intent to change his mind, he'd turn and run the other way.
To his credit, Walsh did not try and claim that he would stand fast in the face of a direct Boehner appeal, but he did say that he was voting his conscience regardless.
So, we know that Joe Walsh voted against the compromise bill, but what about the other GOP congressmen from the Land of Lincoln? How did they vote?
A look at the final roll call vote for S 376 shows that Walsh wasn't the only one to vote no.
Joe Walsh, 8th District
Randy Hultgren, 14th District
Tim Johnson, 15th District
Peter Roskam, 6th District
Bob Dold, 10th District
Adam Kinzinger, 11th District
Judy Biggert, 13th District
Don Manzullo, 16th District
Bobby Schilling, 17th District
Aaron Schock, 18th District
John Shimkus, 19th District
Now permit me a few seconds of wild speculation. Why did Randy Hultgren oppose this bill? My guess is the up coming election against Joe Walsh is the reason.
As we all know, the Democrats in this state have rejiggered the congressional districts and Walsh and Hultgren may be forced into a primary against each other next time out. Walsh has sort of announced that he'll be running in the new 14th District (Hultgren's) instead of the 8th District (his current District) because the new 8th is going to be heavily Democratic.
So, this takes us to Hultgren's vote against the debt deal. Why did Hultgren do it? Was it perhaps because Walsh, a Tea Party favorite, may be challenging him for the 14th? Walsh has been telling everyone that will listen that he was not going to be supporting the bill. The Tea Party loves Walsh for this stance. Further, the Tea Party was a large part of how Walsh won his 2010 election.
Hultgren likely cast this vote as a way to help neuter some of Walsh's Tea Party support, at least on the debt deal. Call it a bit of triangulation on Hultgren's part.
At least, that is my speculation.