"When Senate Republicans (recently) killed expanded background checks on firearms purchases, they were taking a political risk...
...So why did GOP senators put aside common sense and popular will? According to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who co-authored the bipartisan measure, it wasn't just about the gun lobby--some of his Republican colleagues didn't want to 'be seen helping the president.'
'In the end it didn't pass because we're so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,' Toomey admitted on Tuesday in an interview with Digital First Media editors in the offices of the Times Herald newspaper in Norristown, Pa...
...(This) puts the debate over gun reforms in a fresh light. You'll recall that two weeks ago, much of the political commentary surrounding the Senate vote focused on holding President Obama responsible--he didn't 'twist arms' enough; he didn't 'lead' enough... Blame the White House, we were told, for Republican intransigence.
According to Toomey--who presumably has a pretty good sense of the motivations of his own colleagues in his own party--the media's blame game had it backwards. No amount of presidential arm-twisting can overcome the will of lawmakers who want to defeat the president's agenda because it's the president's agenda...
...Indeed, according to Toomey, some Senate Republicans might have considered simple steps to prevent gun violence, but it was more important to them to play a partisan game--they were invested in pure politics, positioning themselves vis-a-vis the president, and the GOP was unconcerned with any particular outcome for the country.
This is unsustainable. The American system of government is dependent on a series of compromises--between the two parties, between the two chambers of Congress, between the executive and legislative branches--and governing breaks down when one party decides policy no longer has any value and there's simply no need to consider concessions with those on the other side of the aisle.
Mr. Benen's final paragraph says it all. And I have to put the blame squarely on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who not only condones this kind of "anti-governing", but has actively encouraged it beginning with his 2010 interview in the National Journal when he said "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president".
The Republicans have become a one-note party with Mitch as the band leader. And the country be damned.