Here at The Data Port we continue to receive explanatory and, he hopes, exculpatory e-mails from “Fighting Ron.” One paragraph in his latest letter particularly caught my eye:
“I fought for commonsense solutions every day during this crisis and I am encouraged that tonight we finally came together to end this shutdown.”
Not sure what those solutions were, or how he fought for them, but we’ll let that pass.
What happened last night was not a “coming together” in the sense of a common agreement on basic policy. Rather, some Senate and House Republicans, faced with the disastrous consequences of ultra conservative Republican policies, were dragged across the aisle.
The only “coming together” Barber is currently remembered for is the one that has so enraged his ardently Democratic base…voting to delay the penalty for not having health insurance. This was part and parcel of the Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act.
We hope the Congressman doesn’t sucker for the dippy notion that last night’s vote to re-start the government heralds the coming of a new, more moderate, Republican party.
Of course there will be individual Republican House colleagues with whom he might come together on isolated issues.
But he should always remember that the Republican Party is the party that from the moment of his election was committed to frustrating President Obama…that wants to privatize Social Security…that wants to reduce Medicare to a voucher system…that has fought Medicaid expansion…that still wants to repeal or frustrate the Affordable Care Act…that is committed to strategies of voter suppression… that uses its control of state legislatures to gerrymander itself into perpetual election.
It is the party that has worked systematically to dismantle controls on the financial industry…that gives tax breaks to the corporate world…and pays for it by reducing programs devoted to the health of women and children.
For the remainder of his term Barber is going to have to sharpen his political sensitivities so that his desire to ‘come together’ doesn’t lead him, unwittingly, into support of over-arching Republican goals. If he can’t do this he had best adopt the practice of the Gilbert and Sullivan character who…
“Always voted at his party’s call, and never thought of thinking for himself at all.”
Nothing he can do will make him palatable to Republicans and a too ardent pursuit of reelection by attempting to do so will lose him the full-hearted support of the Democrats who got him elected.