I took Dick Harpootlian to task a bit earlier today for his implied assumption that any Democrat is better than any Republican. Now it’s the GOP’s turn.
Just got this release from SC Senate Republicans:
Reform doesn’t come easy, even when we have a majority in the Senate.
Senate rules, arcane procedures, and the like let single senators or blocks of Democrats wield extraordinary power to block good reforms from becoming law.
We have a chance to change that. We have to go from a majority to a filibuster-proof majority…
To do that, not only do we have to pick up two seats, we have to maintain Republican control of two other critically important seats that will be heavily contested by Democrats – the seat held by Senator John Courson and the seat that was vacated by former Senator Glenn McConnell.
The bottom line? We need your help.
Yeah, OK. But here’s the thing: How does electing more Republicans automatically give you a stronger majority for “reform?” Let’s consider what one Senate Republican said himself within the last 24 hours (in a missive from the Senate Republican Caucus, by the way):
June 26, 2012 (COLUMBIA, S.C.) - Senator Jake Knotts (R-Lexington) today released the following statement:
“Michael Haley should be ashamed of himself for invoking the memory of dead soldiers just to make a partisan political point. As a commissioned officer in the South Carolina National Guard, Mr. Haley should know that he is not permitted to engage in partisan rhetoric. Yet he continues to participate in contentious partisan issues. Mr. Haley should immediately apologize to the families of those brave heroes for using them as political cover. As my friend and fellow veteran Senator Phil Leventis said from the state Senate floor this week, if Mr. Haley insists on being involved in politics, he should consider resigning his commission. The two cannot be mutually exclusive.”
“Everybody makes mistakes, including myself, but the important thing is to admit to being wrong, apologize for those mistakes and refrain from making them again. I call on Mr. Haley to do the honorable thing in this situation.”
First set aside Jake’s assertion that “The two cannot be mutually exclusive,” when I think he means “The two are mutually exclusive.” Or something, other than what he said. I’ve been scratching my head over that, but never mind; it’s irrelevant to the point at hand.
And the point at hand is this. Republican Jake is categorizing a push for “reform” by the Republican governor as “partisan rhetoric” and “contentious partisan issues.” In taking this position, he finds more common ground with Democrat Phil Leventis than he does with the GOP governor.
So… considering that Jake is a Republican (and he is a Republican, despite the fantasies of many Republicans to the contrary), how does it follow that electing more Republicans moves you closer to “reform,” even the GOP definition of reform, as limited as it may be?
Again, the whole logic upon which the routine assumptions of political parties rests falls apart. Despite his shaky ways of expressing it, the way Jake Knotts sees the Senate is a lot closer to reality than the way his party officially views it. Senators often do tend to form alliances based more upon whether an individual member agrees with them on a given issue than upon whether he has a D or an R after his name. Still. After roughly a decade of being organized along partisan lines (which happened as soon as Republicans had a majority).
And I’ll go farther: Not only is that the way it is, it’s the way it should be. Parties maintain that their members should always agree with anything said by a member of Party A, no matter how stupid, and always disagree with anything said by a member of Party B, no matter how wise. And that way of looking at things is indefensible.