Around the Block responds to an Op-Ed published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
(Note: A 150-word version of this post was sent to the Sun-Sentinel as a letter to the editor.)
Just when I thought I’d read it all, the Sun-Sentinel publishes a syndicated (Tribune Group) Op-Ed from Ramesh Ponnuru of Bloomberg Opinion, “Why can’t Democrats work with Republicans?” I actually had to read the headline three times before I realized that it wasn’t a typo; that “Democrats” and “Republicans” hadn’t been somehow juxtaposed by the typesetter (yes, I know typesetters have gone the way of the steam locomotive fireman, but I digress). Despite the baffling headline, I read the article.
Mr. Ponnuru is is an American conservative political pundit and journalist. A visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute since 2012 he is also a senior editor for National Review magazine, a columnist for Bloomberg View, and a contributing editor to the domestic policy journal National Affairs. Needless to say, we are not kindred spirits.
Here is his Op-Ed:
I’m not going chapter and verse challenging Mr. Ponnuru’s thesis. I’ll only mention two names: Merrick Garland and Amy Coney Barrett. I’ll only mention the dozens (hundreds?) of bills passed by a Democratic-controlled house that Republican Majority leader Mitch McConnell wouldn’t bring to the Senate floor. I’ll only mention that same Majority leader who, after voting to acquit Donald Trump in Trump’s second “Democrat” (sic) sponsored impeachment trial – you know the one where Trump was impeached for inciting his supporters to hold an insurrection against the United States, coming close to decapitating the government and resulting in five deaths – went on the floor of the Senate literally minutes after the trial ended, excoriating Trump for being responsible for the precise acts for which he had voted to acquit.
I will mention this. Mr. Ponnuru writes: “Obama and several other Democrats also complained that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had announced at the start of his first term that his top priority was preventing a second one,” concluding, “McConnell’s remark, meanwhile, was made well into Obama’s term, right before the midterm elections of 2010.”
Mr. Ponnuru is correct; McConnell made his remarks in an interview in the National Journal in October 2010. But whether the remark was made in 2008 or 2010, Mr. Ponnuru misses the key point. The GOP was going to do whatever it could to undermine Democratic President Obama’s agenda. McConnell’s comment is proof positive that his headline needs to be revised, “Why can’t Republicans work with Democrats.”
Now that I posed the correct question, the answer is easy: Craving power is more important to the GOP than working together and governing!