While those on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were asked to vote "yay" or "nay" on President Obama’s use of force resolution against Syria, one voted "present." That's why he had the Worst Week in Washington. (The Washington Post)
Chris Cillizza
Reporter September 6, 2013

Sometimes, just showing up isn’t enough in life.

Witness newly installed Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). Markey, who took the former seat of Secretary of State John Kerry, sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That committee approved President Obama’s use-of-force resolution against Syria by a 10 to 7 vote Wednesday. The committee has 18 members.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House. View Archive

What happened to the 18th vote? That was Markey. He voted “present.”

In a statement afterward, Markey explained his move: “The people of Massachusetts expect their representatives to have analyzed all of the facts prior to making a decision of this magnitude.”

Lots of people in Massachusetts disagreed.

“He gets a check, he should vote,” said former senator Scott Brown (R).

“I think what really sticks in the craw of people of Massachusetts is you just took John Kerry’s Senate seat, and you sit on the committee he chaired,” Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh told The Washington Post.

“Ed Markey Annoys Literally Everyone by Voting ‘Present’ on Syrian Resolution,” blared a headline on Boston magazine’s Web site.

Markey’s “present” vote, particularly on such a weighty matter as using military force in Syria, created an unflattering comparison to the “not proven” vote that then-Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) cast — citing Scottish law! — on President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the late 1990s.

Ed Markey, for keeping the bat on your shoulder during your first at-bat in the big leagues, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at chris.cillizza@washpost.com.

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