When our daughter was growing up, in the age of Newt Gingrich, her father and I tried to explain that he was an aberration, that back in the day, Republicans and Democrats usually disagreed but often found ways to work together. We told her that many Republicans cared about the good of the country, that some supported and voted for civil rights bills and the minimum wage. Minnesota had good Republicans, we said. We might not agree with them or vote for them, but they were not corrupt or evil or committed to making the rich richer and the poor poorer.
She did not believe us.
“Where are these mythical good Republicans?” she asked.
Looking at the U.S. Senate today, I echo her question.
Trump shut down the government in a temper tantrum over being denied a boondoggle of a border wall that no border Congressmember, Democrat or Republican, wants. He told Republicans in December that he would sign a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open and then, when the Republican Senate unanimously passed that CR, he turned around and said he wouldn’t sign. Since then, he has held the entire country hostage and forced government employees from TSA screeners to prison guards to work without pay.
The Republicans in the Senate can stop this craziness. They can vote on the CR that the House. has already passed or vote again on the CR that they passed in December. If the current occupant of the White House vetoes a CR, they can override his veto.
Republicans in the Senate have that power. They can reopen the government.
Instead, in a cowardly abdication of their public duty, they allow Mitch McConnell to tell them that they cannot even debate or vote on a budget bill.
Where are the Republican Senators who care more about country than about party or pique? Where are the Republican Senators with courage to be leaders instead of followers? Do the mythical good Republicans exist any longer, or have they gone the way of unicorns and fairy dust?