The things you learn watching Stephen Colbert. 27 Republican Senators voted this week to condemn their own votes in favor of raising the debt ceiling and saving the country from default, and a worldwide economic catastrophe.
Apparently, as part of the deal to avert a default on the national debt a few weeks ago, Republicans demanded that the Senate hold a second vote, a few weeks later, in which Republican Senators could publicly disapprove of the deal they just voted for.
The intent, of course, is to trick GOP primary and general election voters into thinking that Republican Senators voted against the debt ceiling deal, when in reality they voted for it.
Sadly, this is rather typical behavior for the Hill, and particularly among Republicans. Senators and House members are always looking for ways to negate their real position, permitting them to be everything to everyone.
When I worked in the Senate, it was common practice to tell constituents that you “cosponsored” legislation that you never intended to vote for. “Cosponsoring” is a symbolic way of voicing your support for legislation, short of actually voting for it, and with no requirement to actually support the bill when it comes up for a vote. Thus, members of Congress would “cosponsor” something, but not actually vote for it – enabling them to pick and choose their answers for various constituents. If you like the bill, they tell you they cosponsored it. If you don’t like the bill, they tell you they voted against it.
Trusting that most Americans don’t understand the arcane workings of the Congress, the 27 Republican Senators who voted for the debt ceiling increase are going to tell constituents, come the next election, that they voted against the budget deal. And they did. In a non-binding resolution, sure – but they won’t tell you that. They’ll simply say “what do you mean I supported the debt ceiling increase? I’m on the record, on October 29, opposing the debt ceiling deal.” And you the constituent will dutifully scratch your head all confused.
It’s not about the truth. As I’ve written before, the Republicans have learned that they do far better in the polls when they lie. If voters new the truth about Obamacare (that it actually does lower prices for a lot of people), the stimulus (that it saved millions of jobs and averted a depression), about climate change (it’s real, and we caused it), and about President Obama (neither commie nor Kenyan), they’d support the Republican position and party even less than the meager amount they do now.
So, Republicans lie. Because GOP voters can’t handle the truth.
My favorite GOP hypocrisy story was the time in the early 1990s when I was riding up the elevator to the Senate office where I worked. The elevator door opens to let someone out, and I see a well-known moderate Republican northeastern Senator scamper by with aides in tow. One aide earnestly tells the Senator, just as my elevator door is about to close: “Remember, Senator, today you’re pro-choice.”
And today they’re pro-shutdown, once again.