Our Opinion: Do-nothing Republicans take pay under false pretenses
Imagine getting up and going to work in the morning knowing that your goal will not be to accomplish anything of value but to prevent your colleagues from doing so. How sad and unfulfilling.
No wonder Washington Republicans always seem to be so angry.
Washington's do-nothing party has actually managed to exceed its own low standards in recent weeks. The most high-profile abomination, of course, is the unprecedented refusal of Senate Republicans to even consider filling a Supreme Court vacancy for no reason beyond spiting the Democratic president. This could leave the court short a justice for a year or more.
In attempting to defend the indefensible following President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland, the kind of safe, moderate choice Republicans would normally support, some congressional Republicans have claimed that Democrats would do the same if the situation was reversed. They don't know this to be true, of course, but if majority Senate Democrats did refuse to hold hearings for a Republican president's Court nominee they would be absolutely wrong in doing so. A speculated wrong doesn't make right the Republicans' grievous, unconstitutional wrong.
Washington Republicans are also proving unable to produce a budget proposal for the coming fiscal year after mocking Democrats in the past for failing to do the same when they held the majority. The problem once again begins with the destructive tea partiers intent on tearing down government while collecting nice government salaries and claiming the kind of health care benefits they would deny their constituents. The failure of Republican "leadership" to stand up to the radicals in their ranks contributed to the rise of Trumpism, and obviously nothing has changed.
There are any number of reasons why Donald Trump is on his way to securing the Republican presidential nomination, but certainly high among them is that Mr. Trump has convinced primary voters that he will actually do something. That much of what he says he will do — such as ban Muslims from entering the country or force Mexico to build a giant wall along the border — is racist, shameful, costly, impossible or all of the above hasn't troubled the many conservative voters weary of their elected officials wasting space in Washington.
Mr. Trump has been fortunate in his opponents, especially as the field was whittled down. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is such a negative force that even his Republican colleagues can't abide him. His mercifully unsuccessful efforts to shut down government personify the philosophy of a senator who has offered nothing constructive to make America better place. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, somehow once regarded as the moderate hope of the Republican Party, was exposed by Mr. Trump, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie as an empty suit with no record of accomplishment and only sporadic interest in showing up to vote.
In contrast, John Kasich can actually point to accomplishments as governor of Ohio. That includes ignoring party ideology and accepting Medicaid expansion money under the Affordable Care Act to benefit his less fortunate constituents. The governor is an honorable individual, but his positive campaign has gained only modest traction in an election year dominated on the Republican side by irrational anger, bigotry, bitterness and intolerance of competing viewpoints.
While the presidential and congressional campaigns grind on toward election day, the nation's business will stagnate in Washington DC. President Obama, who is beginning his Cuba visit today, will continue to work hard, and Senate Democrats are at least busy making the case for Judge Garland. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and company, meanwhile, will continue to be derelict in their duties, raising the obvious question — beyond the pay and health and retirement benefits, why are they even there?
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.