Five Republican senators have announced that they will not run for re-election next year. They are Rob Portman (Ohio), Richard Burr (North Carolina), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), Richard Shelby (Alabama), and Roy Blunt (Missouri). I found the reason Burr gave for his decision to retire particularly interesting:
“I think the country in the last decade or so has sort of fallen off the edge, with too many politicians saying, ‘If you vote for me I’ll never compromise on anything,’ and the failure to do that — that’s a philosophy that particularly does not work in a democracy. We’ve seen too much of it in our politics today at all levels, and rather than spending a lot of time saying what I’d never do, I’d spend more time saying what I’d try to do and be willing to move as far in the direction of that goal as you possibly could rather than saying, ‘I’ll never do this.’ ”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what he’s talking about.
Rob Portman is one of the more reasonable Republicans in the Senate, if any can be said to be reasonable, and his stated reason for retiring was …
“… honestly, it has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy, and that has contributed to my decision.”
I wasn’t too concerned about Portman’s retirement until this morning when I read that none other than Geraldo Rivera is strongly considering running to replace Portman next year. I see this as a sign that our Congress is turning into a three-ring circus and has been ever since the former guy, who was far from presidential material and more of a circus act, took over the Oval Office in 2017.
Like the former guy, Rivera has zero qualifications for the job: he is not an intellectual, he is not a thinker, he is not a humanitarian … he is an entertainer and not a particularly good one at that. He is a sensationalist rather like Alex Jones or Sean Hannity, and in fact has worked for Fox for a number of years now. The controversies surrounding Rivera are numerous, from giving away military secrets that got him expelled from Iraq, to shoving aside a woman so he could have a photo op. But the one that made me the angriest was when he claimed on March 23rd 2012 that Trayvon Martin would not have been shot if he had not been wearing a hoodie. No, this is not the ‘man’ I want to see replace Rob Portman in the U.S. Senate!
The five who are retiring constitutes 25% of the Republican senators up for re-election next year, and I won’t be surprised to see a few more decide it’s time to leave. I think that sends a loud, clear message about the current state of the Republican Party. What will be left will be the those who would turn the United States Congress into a spectacle that would rival anything Barnum & Bailey ever did.
From where I sit, it seems obvious that the time has come for the Republican Party to step back and assess their values, or lack thereof, to make some changes in their ideology rather than blindly throwing their lot in with entertainers who will do almost anything to stay in the limelight, to get attention. This nation needs two viable political parties … competition is a good thing and leads to compromise that benefits everyone. But instead of trying to improve the party, to remedy past mistakes, their tactic is to rob the people of this nation of their voice, their right to vote. If that is the only way they can win elections, then they are already a failure. Just like back in college, some find it easier to cheat than to study.