By Becky Hogan
Sometimes just being present isn’t enough.
Newly-elected Senator Ed Markey found this out the hard way after he voted ‘present’ in his first crucial vote since he was sworn in to office two months ago replacing John Kerry’s Senate seat.
Markey was the only senator on the 18-person Senate Foreign Relations Committee that didn’t actually vote “yea” or “nay” on a resolution approving the use of force against Syria.
That Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved President Obama’s resolution on Syria without Markey’s vote by a 10 to 7 vote Wednesday. But that hasn’t stopped political observers and social media from scratching their heads at Markey’s “vote.”
Twitter lit up with the news right away—with 577 mentions of Markey as after the vote counts were reported in the media Wednesday.
Former Senator Massachusetts Scott Brown responded this way on Facebook, saying that the people of Massachusetts “did not send him down there to vote ‘present'”:
Markey explained his decision in a statement Wednesday, saying he needed more time to review classified information and cited concerns with language in the resolution.
But what some may call thoughtful deliberation, other may call indecisiveness.
Facebook data shows that Brown’s assessment of Markey’s ‘present vote’ resonated with Facebook users…a lot.
Brown’s post condemning Markey not only received 1,865 shares and 1,521 comments, but Brown also saw major upticks in Facebook Likes and Facebook Talked Abouts.
Why can’t Facebook stop talking about Scott Brown in light of the Markey vote?
While Brown’s Facebook presence is much larger than Markey’s, Markey is certainly no political novice. In fact, he’s a House veteran whose career spanned almost 40 years in the lower chamber before winning John Kerry’s Senate seat this summer in a special election.
And, more importantly, Markey will face reelection in 2014. By voting ‘present,’ Markey may have given an opening to anyone who wants to paint him as incompetent at representing Massachusetts in the Senate–and Scott Brown is leading the charge.
Check back here to see how Markey, Brown, and others are resonating on social media.