Saturday, July 10, 2010

The "Bullworth" Republicans

In the space of 24 hours, two stories have come out about two Republican lawmakers who lost their chances for re-election.  The first is from Congressman Bob Inglis who had some choice words for "demogogues" like Sarah Palin.  The outgoing Utah Senator Bob Bennett said that incumbent Democrat Harry Reid will probably win in the Nevada Senate race over Republican/Tea Party challenger Sharon Angle. 

All of this truth-telling by Republicans having to look for new jobs has some people wondering why they never said anything while in office.  This is what one person said responding to a blog post at the Moderate Republican:

So, Bob Inglis finally joined Bob Bennett and Dede Scozzafava in going "full Bulworth." I'm conflicted...

While he expresses opinions that are clearly shared by a significant portion of what remains of moderate Republicanism, I have to stop short of calling him "brave" for stating them.

Brave will be a politician that lets us in on what they're really thinking while they're STILL in office, not after they've left, or as a lame duck. When that starts happening, we may get somewhere.

There is a bit of truth here. It's pretty common for Republican politicians to spill the beans only after they are out office. The become "Bullworth" Republicans, named after the 1998 movie about a senator that has a nervous breakdown and starts telling the truth. But they tell the truth from a place of safety.

I'm  a little wary of judging these politicians too harshly.  I don't think it's very easy these days to be a Republican legislator that, well...wants to legislate.  I tend to think there is a climate of fear among these politicians, and they know that if they do anything that upsets the base, they will get a challenger come election time.

On the other hand, what have they got to lose?  Yes, they could lose their office, but that's politics.

At some point, a Republican in office is going have to say "enough."  They are going to have to stop living in fear and having to say the stupidest things just to keep the Tea Partiers at bay.  They might go down in defeat, but if one GOP office holder speaks up and then another, and then another...well, we might have a revolution on our hands.

I commend Inglis and Bennett for saying what they said, but give me some legislator that says this while in office. 

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