Yesterday, Michael Hiltzik wrote, More Than 20 Texas Representatives and Senators Voted Against Sandy Aid. How Will They Vote on Harvey? He isn’t alone. A lot of people have written about the same thing. The focus of it is that Ted Cruz voted against Hurricane Sandy aid, but the moment Cruz’s home state of Texas was hit by Hurricane Harvey, he ran to President Trump asking for aid and he will doubtless vote for whatever aid package Congress approves.
But here’s the thing: Cruz will never admit to hypocrisy. It doesn’t even make sense to talk about. Cruz was interviewed by Katy Tur, and he had exactly the justification that I knew he would, “Two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy. What I said then and still believe now is that it’s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster when people are hurting to pay for their own political wish list.”
This is exactly the point I made a few years ago that Josh Barro couldn’t figure out. A politician can always come up with a reason not to vote for a bill. The fact is that bills are never perfect. So if you want to, you can find something. This is talked about at length in the book Winner-Take-All Politics.
A politician will say, “I would love to vote for this legislation, if it just weren’t for… whatever.” And we know that they are disingenuous because we have so many examples of “whatever” being changed to get the politician’s vote, and they always end up finding something new that stops them from voting for this bill that they would so like to vote for. We saw this many times during the debate to pass Obamacare.
Republicans Don’t Do Their Jobs
So I don’t really care about Ted Cruz’s hypocrisy. What is vile about him is his original vote. We don’t need to wait and see that he will vote for aid to his own state — despite all the problems with it that he could use to justify voting against it. And, of course, Cruz is just a high profile Republican.
Hiltzik laid out the numbers in his article. There are 24 Republican Texas representatives who were in Congress at the time of the Hurricane Sandy vote. All but one voted against it. We know they will all vote for it this time. There are 12 Democratic Texas representatives who were in Congress at the time of the Hurricane Sandy vote. Other than one who did not vote, they all voted for Sandy aid.
These are the politicians who the people of Texas think are okay. They are the problem. Let’s face it: they love these faux-noble stands against bad government. And in the end, it doesn’t matter. These politicians and voters knew that the people of New York and New Jersey would be taken care of. They knew it because people like me vote for politicians who actually take the job seriously — who don’t figure they were sent to Washington to prance around making “principled” votes while others do the hard work of governing.
Republicans’ “Principled” Votes
I don’t believe in compromise as a good in itself. But like most liberals, I understand that not everyone agrees with me about everything. So every law that the government passes will be a compromise. The biggest piece of legislation passed in the last couple of decades, Obamacare, is a great example of that. It’s not something that any liberal was that happy with, but it is a hell of a lot better than what we had before.
What really angers me is that conservatives think that they don’t need to do anything. As a group, they are like that guy you work with who does almost nothing — rightly figuring that others will do the work if they don’t.
And now, with complete power in Washington, the Republicans show that when there is no one else to do the work for them, they are incapable of doing it themselves. How is it that the people continue to vote Republican? How many times can they be burned?
I suppose we know the answer to that. The Republicans know that when it comes down to it, they can depend upon the Democrats to come in and save them. We are fast reaching the point where the government will have to pass a budget and raise the debt ceiling. And it will be done only because almost all of the Democrats vote for it. Meanwhile, people like Ted Cruz will prance around showing just how “principled” they are.
Without liberals like me to elect Democrats to Washington, there might as well not be a government.