By Steve Benen
‘Tis the season for over-the-top partisan harangues from leading officials who should know better (via Hunter).
As Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan sat down Sunday on “Meet the Press” discussing their bipartisan budget deal, a virulent, attack-dog Christmas season GOP fundraising letter went out over the signature of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a colleague of Murray’s in the Washington congressional delegation.“This is a Democrat party that has no interest in working with Republicans – one that’s openly hostile to American values and the Constitution,” said McMorris Rodgers.
Look, I realize politics ain’t beanbag and politicians aren’t always going to use a civil tone. I generally don’t even mind – I do, after all, work in cable news.
But Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the chair of the House Republican Conference, a member of the House Republican leadership, and ostensibly one of the House GOP’s more responsible officials.
So why on earth would she put her signature on public correspondence saying, “This is a Democrat [sic] party that has no interest in working with Republicans – one that’s openly hostile to American values and the Constitution”? A week before Christmas, McMorris Rodgers decided it’s time to attack the patriotism of the entire Democratic Party?
As for the notion that Democrats have “no interest in working with Republicans,” I’ll assume this was some kind of odd attempt at humor.
What’s more, given the seriousness of allegations like these, one would hope the congresswoman would be able to back up her attack. Instead, all McMorris Rodgers could offer was this: “Just look at President Obama’s actions on Obamacare and immigration – he has been using unprecedented executive power to rule by decree.”
It’s often hard to know whether politicians believe their own rhetoric, but if this is McMorris Rodgers’ proof that Democrats are “hostile to American values,” she’ll have to do better. On health care, President Obama isn’t “ruling by decree”; the Affordable Care Act was approved by the House and Senate, and then withstood a challenge at the Supreme Court.
And on immigration, the White House is deferring deportations by relying on prosecutorial discretion, but plenty of other presidents have used the same power in similar ways, and it’s hardly the stuff of scandal.
Given the talk about finding bipartisan solutions in a time of divided government, one wonders if McMorris Rodgers thinks she’s helping with tirades like these.