So it's getting to be that time, the time when you enter that little curtained half-cubicle, and you're left alone with the monumental decision as to who deserves to get your vote. You've read IndustryWeek's profile of Senator McCain's and Senator Obama's views on key manufacturing issues, and you've watched all the televised debates and listened to all the bloviating analysis on what the candidates *really* meant, and maybe you've figured out who to vote for, or maybe not.
And then there's the equally important question of whether your local Congressperson and Senators are sufficiently qualified to make the hard decisions on all the issues that affect your livelihood. Maybe you're thinking, "Is *anybody* out there supporting U.S. manufacturing?"
Perhaps, if you're willing to take NAM's word for it. The National Association of Manufacturers has compiled a list of all the Senators and Representatives whose voting records consistently support manufacturing in America (at least, as NAM defines "support"). All those who support key manufacturing votes 70% of the time or more (and again, remember that it's NAM who determines what is a "key" issue) are given the NAM Award.
As John Engler, president of NAM and a former politician himself (he once served as Governor of Michigan), puts it, "In this era of increasing economic uncertainty, NAM Award recipients have demonstrated a true understanding of manufacturing's key role in the strength of the American economy and have acted to protect and create manufacturing jobs."
In the current Congress, 43 senators and 181 representatives earned the NAM Award, and 33 members who voted 100% of the time in favor of NAM's pro-manufacturing agenda were named to the 100 Percent Club. Just in case there's some confusion as to how important any given issue is, all members of Congress are notified in advance when an upcoming vote is designated a "key vote" by NAM. You can see the entire list by clicking here.
NAM insists that it is a non-partisan organization, but taking a look at the list of award-winners, it's rather striking that of the 224 legislators on the list, only 1 is a Democrat (0.4%). So that means that 99.6% of the NAM Award winners are Republicans, and 100% of those in the 100 Percent Club are from the GOP. My guess is that Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) will have some explaining to do to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when word gets around he's the only Democrat on the list.
Oh, by the way, in case you were wondering, Senator McCain is not on the list at all (and obviously, neither is Senator Obama). Doesn't exactly make that moment of truth at the ballot box any easier to confront, does it?