Bush Dog – Vic Snyder AR-02 (Revised and Extended)

Note: This is an updated version of an earlier post. This post is in response to, and support of the “Bush Dog” project at Open Left. This, like all the other profiles, is a work in progress. If you have any insight or information to add to this profile, please do so in the comments.

Vic Snyder is a Democratic Representative from Arkansas. First elected in 1996, Snyder was viewed as a liberal choice due to his work in the state legislature to have state sodomy laws repealed among other things. Both 1996 and 1998 were hard fought campaigns largely due to his positions on Arkansas sodomy laws, but since he has seen little competition winning around 60% of the vote in his past 3 elections.

According to the Washington Post, Snyder votes with Democrats 95.7% of the time, making him the third highest rated “Bush Dog” of the 41. He has a Progressive Punch Index of 77.65%. Snyder is a member of the New Democrats. He serves on the Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committee. A former Marine and veteran of the Vietnam War, Snyder began practicing medicine as a family physician in 1982. He earned a law degree from the UALR Law School in 1988. He entered politics in 1990, running for State Senator, where he served in the State Senate until 1996 with his election to the US House.

Snyder has a fairly progressive voting record, receiving high marks from organizations like NARAL and the AFL-CIO. Additionally, Snyder has consistently voted to protect Social Security, to increase federal funding for Health care, and to protect public education. He receives low marks from right wing groups such as the NRA and the Christian Coalition, and has consistently voted against the Bush tax cuts. He voted against making the PATRIOT Act permanent, and electronic surveillance without a warrant, which makes his more recent vote on FISA puzzling. Additionally, Snyder voted against the original AUMF for Iraq, which makes his capitulation vote even more disappointing.

Inquiries made to Snyder’s office concerning the votes in question (FISA and Capitulation) have netted this response:

There are no simple solutions to resolving the crisis in Iraq. I have recently concluded a series of hearings examining alternative strategies for dealing with the Iraq crisis. Retired generals, think tankers, and academics who study the Middle East were invited in to offer alternative solutions for stabilizing Iraq, or minimizing the negative impact of a withdrawal, and to evaluate the impact on our national security. These hearings will help shape future legislative efforts, and may lay the groundwork for a bipartisan solution to the Iraq crisis. Without a bipartisan solution Congress cannot force a change of course before the next Presidential election.

As of this writing, Snyder has no primary or general opponent. If either is to emerge, it would probably be January before anything specific is publicly known based on past campaigns.

AR-02 is the most urban district in the state of Arkansas. Comprised of 8 counties in Central Arkansas, AR-02 is also the smallest district geographically in Arkansas. Pulaski Co. constitutes 52% of the population of AR-02 and has consistently given Snyder significant support. Of the counties in AR-02, only one, Saline, the third largest county in the district reported less than a majority for Snyder. AR-02 has a Cook rating of R+.1.

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