No Room for Renegades
By Robert Romano
For a two-party system to operate effectively, there needs to be a loyal opposition—not a supine pack of whining lapdogs.
The former calls for working with the majority when and where appropriate, and yet adhering to a certain set of principles that will not be compromised under any circumstances. Unfortunately for Republicans, even when the GOP was in the majority, it was more like the latter. The world was upside-down. It was as if they had not even won elections.
Most acts were guided under the prism of gaining consensus. As such, they were not rooted in principle.
And now, as the GOP moves into its third year of a dwindling minority status, two Republican Senators appear committed to preserving the GOP's lapdog, “go-along-to-get-along,” consensus-driven agenda.
Let us be plain: Depending on the outcome of the Minnesota recount, in the coming session there will be 41 or 42 Republicans Senators. And in order to avert one-party rule, the Senate Republican Caucus will need to be unified under a set of steadfast principles.
Case in point: Senator Patrick Leahy is planning to hold a hearing for Eric Holder to be the next Attorney General on January 8th. To its credit, the Senate Republican Caucus is nearly united in telling Mr. Leahy that is simply not enough time to prepare for the hearings. Mr. Holder, known for his anti-Second Amendment proclivity and his leading the charge in bogus pardons at the end of the Clinton Administration, has a number of background issues that the Senate minority wants to openly explore.
According to top Capitol Hill sources, Senate Republicans want the hearing delayed. And there would be consequences for not giving the opposition enough time to question Mr. Holder and to explore his background if the hearing is held on January 8th.
A letter objecting to the process has been signed by every Republican Senator—even moderate Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins—except for Senators George Voinovich and Richard Lugar of Ohio and Indiana, respectively.
Mr. Holder may ultimately be confirmed. But, if these Senators cannot even sign on to a vital process letter—if they cannot even agree to perform their constitutional duty to offer “advice and consent” on presidential appointments—then the Republicans are in for big trouble in the coming session. And the American people are in for even bigger problems to boot.
A Republican minority that cannot even pull together cohesively enough to do its constitutional duty—that refuses to relinquish the “shake-a-tail”, supine behavior that reduced it to minority status to begin with—is jeopardizing the very validity of the two-party system.
And in 2009, one Senator doing that is one too many.
Senators Voinovich and Lugar must realize the stakes involved: It is up to Senate Republicans to maintain a two-party system in this country. With only 41 or 42 Senators in the coming session, one or two Republican renegades are all it will take to leave the nation languishing under one-party rule.
And as they say well south, that lapdog won't hunt.
Robert Romano is the Editor of ALG News Bureau.