Thursday, September 21, 2006

Running from Bush, Walsh Changes Tune on Torture

Jim Walsh (R, NY-25) is clearly feeling the pressure.

According to this article in today's Syracuse Post-Standard, Walsh is one of  four senior House Republicans who are bucking Bush on detainee torture:

Walsh and his colleagues called for Bush and Republican leaders to maintain the U.S. commitment against prisoner abuse as spelled out in the Geneva Conventions.

"It's sort of an issue of conscience for me," said Walsh, R-Onondaga, noting that he differed with the Bush administration last year on issues surrounding the use of torture.

Quite a turnaround for a man who has voted with Bush 9 out of 10 times in the last 6 years.

Interestingly, neither the Post-Standard article nor the AP story identify any of the other "senior House Republicans" who are opposing the torture bill. Which suggests to me that the impetus for the letter must have come from Walsh's own office, meaning he's feeling the pressure from the Dan Maffei campaign, which has recently been highlighting Walsh's voting record.

There haven't been any polls released lately on this race, though I understand the Maffei campaign is working on one. My guess is the Walsh campaign has done a poll and is none too pleased with the results.

Update: The other four are identified in this AP story:

Bush also faced problems in the House, where GOP moderates Christopher Shays, R-Conn., Michael Castle, R-Del., Jim Leach, R-Iowa, and James Walsh, R-N.Y., publicly threw their support behind the bill opposed by the White House. The four Republicans told Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, that any House bill must maintain the dissidents' principles.

I haven't checked yet, but I will not be surprised to find out that Shays (CT-04), Castle (DE-AL) and Leach (IA-02) are in tough races.


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