Rogues or Statesmen

By Beacon Staff
By John Fuller

One definition of a “statesman” is a politician who just lost an election. Another is a Republican who just broke ranks with his party and voted with Democrats.

In the Montana Legislature this year, on several critical issues, a block of Republican senators abandoned their party and voted with Democrats.

Since Republicans represent those who support lower taxes, less government in our lives, economic policies that lead to prosperity, free exercise of religion, private property rights, defense of life before and after birth, strong traditional families and personal accountability, by definition, voting with Democrats is voting against those principles.

Since Democrats represent those who would destroy our economy, our families, freedom of religion (Obamacare), our liberty, and even want to kill people before birth (abortion) and when they are too old (assisted suicide); it would seem that any nominal Republican would never consent to vote with such policies.

The people elected a majority of Republicans to the Senate to represent Republican principles and those members of the “crossover coalition” who abandoned their party should be classified as cowardly RINOs.

Obamacare mandates coverage for transgender operations. Abandoning one’s party is just as eviscerating.

By Joe Carbonari

A great many of our legislators come from “safe” districts where the ultimate winner is determined in his or her party primary. Because the primary turnouts tend to be so small, party activists and “hard liners,” often holding very strong views, are disproportionally represented. This is true on both sides of the aisle.

It takes a good deal of courage for someone so elected to “compromise” those views, even if they do not accommodate the more moderate positions of the electorate as a whole.

“Strayers” know that they will be held to account in primaries to come. They best have well-considered, good reasons, and the skills to explain them, or, justified or not, they can kiss their political careers goodbye.

Our legislators are generally better positioned than we, the average voters, to be informed on the issues that come before them. Many of these issues are heavily nuanced, with competing values, costs and rewards hidden within.

Forging an agreement based on subtle “shades of gray” is hard to do – to do nothing is often much easier. To move forward requires hard work, courage and compromise.

“Crossover votes” are indispensable to the workings of fully representational government. We must be prepared to question, of course, but also to salute when respect is due. It’s the only way it will work.

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