It’s not too late for Ohio’s two-term Washington Senator Rob Portman to rebuild his sorry and sullied reputation as one of Ohio’s many career Republican no-where men – misunderstanding all he sees. To get back on the path to saving his mortal soul, and his political backside in the process, Rob can become the unlikely last minute hero from Ohio.
The “commonsense conservative” has been out of his mind and divorced from the daily plight of real working Ohioans by helping the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee he’s a member of to construct the terrible tax cut bill Washington Republicans of his ideological ilk want to force feed the Senate before the arrival of Christmas so Santa can deliver goodies to the greedy.
The multi-millionaire Cincinnatian should take the advice of his lame-duck political brother, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and stand for something. Standing for the right thing couldn’t have come at a better time for Rob, who could earn a set of angel wings with lots of people, especially the 11.5 million Ohioans he represents in Washington who will mostly be harmed by the bill. Democrats like Rob’s liberal legislative counterweight, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who would cheer him on for preventing this egregious bill from going to the desk of a desperate president ready to sign what ever monumental monstrosity shows up on his Oval Office desk.
Carpe diem, Rob, your chance to be an unlikely hero is here. But it won’t last long. All you have to do is get prickly principled about some detail of this terrible tax cut bill you and your party want to jam through the Senate (without one hearing just to make it even more unfair) and use it to say no. Keeping yes votes to 49 leaves Vice President Pence and his tie-breaking power on the bench.
Be a hero, be against something you were totally for before, Rob. You’ll earn a set of matching hero wings in the process. Be the third Republican to say no to passing an widely unpopular bill, that one lawmaker could be damned for, for letting Pence break the tie, and another legislator who keeps bad bills from becoming bad law can earn all the goodwill that goes along with being a maverick at the right time. Ask Sen. John McCain and Kasich about being mavericks since it’s been so good for them. Voting no on a very unpopular and very unfair bill that all but guarantees to increase the precarious level of living in America actually says yes to the public interest.
Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has his bid on the table: Adding more dollars to his favorite issue, children’s tax credits, or he’s voting no. Utah U.S. Sen. Mike Lee has similar concerns, while Tennessee U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he’s worried about the deficit (not many other Republicans are still ringing that bell).
Two other Republican U.S. senators, McCain of Arizona and Thad Cochran of Mississippi, have physical problems that might prevent them from showing up to vote, which only exacerbates the path to 50 and Pence entering to dispense, leaving the president so adored by Mother Russia’s favorite son, Vladimir Putin, to sign it into law.
Rob, you’ve run this play before when it came to talking opioid treatments then voting against funding for that treatment because it adds to the debt. Find some excuse, any excuse, to be principled about. All the trash talking you’ve gotten from some mainstream media megaphones back in your home state won’t be forgotten, but it can be drowned out. You can live off the fat of this vote for a long time.
Rob, if you don’t want to be a yes vote, don’t vote at all. Plunderbund has written extensively about how voters elected the wrong candidate last year, you, when they should have picked Ted Strickland instead. What’s happening now wouldn’t be happening because your team would have had one less vote to risk losing.
You know former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, he’s the guy who saved Ohio from what you and President Bush did to it with all your unpaid for tax cuts. Strickland would have lined up with Ohio’s senior senator to make the reconciliation game your conference is playing that so much more risky business. Losers on the health bill, like yourself, should think twice about doing it again on this bill, which eliminates the individual mandate so central to Obamacare.
Republicans added about 100 amendments to the Affordable Care Act in committee. Your bill hasn’t seen a committee schedule yet, which is pretty pathetic and something you’d go apoplectic about if the tables were turned. At a minimum, Rob, you can always claim it didn’t have one hearing, not one. For the world’s great deliberative body to have not deliberate about this monumental monstrosity, through a fair and open committee process, is un-American and downright un-democratic. Be a patriot and a hero at the same time. Just say no.
As your political buddy John Kasich loves to say, ;live a life larger than your own. Stand for something, Rob. Stand for all the hard working people living in Ohio who are not now and won’t be millionaires without hitting the lottery or inheriting their family’s fortune. Be a hero, Rob, for the middle-class, you know, those Buckeyes earning the state median household income of $51,075. And show you care for the growing segment of seniors, because this bill puts a dark cloud over them that will surely rain on their retirement parade. The tax giveaways in the bill you love will turnout to mean less money for retirees faced with more and higher expenses.
If you’re on-board with reforming what you and Kasich pejoratively call entitlements – you know, those historic, advanced-nation programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Food Stamps, and others that you want to bleed dry even though they’ve proven to be so helpful and popular over time – you’re indeed a lost soul. What you’re doing now won’t be center stage when your term ends in 2022, so you have years to carry on with the commonsense conservative act. But if you want to put yourself on the path to regaining your political soul and respected reputation, the time is here to stand for the right thing – even if it’s for the wrong reason.
Learn from your elder brother, Kasich. He accepted expanded Medicaid when most GOP governors were turning it down for wrong reasons like debt and dependency, and he’s been living off the political royalties ever since. When legend becomes fact, print it, and John Kasich printed his legend of being the good guy who delivered all the good things that Medicaid delivers, even though the concept of social-safety programs like Medicaid or Medicare are foreign to Ohio’s petulant teenage leader.
If the private sector isn’t at the heart of it, Kasich will whine about it. He’s a fan of weaning people who need help from becoming dependent on government social programs that help them in their time of need. But after 40 years in politics, John Kasich saw the economic benefit and the political light that would shine on him if he took a couple billion dollars in cost-free federal dollars. He muscled it into law, and now he’s famous for being a rogue Republican governor who accepted Medicaid when so many others didn’t. He includes it in his “people living in the shadows” speech. He even wrote a book about it.
You have a political moment at hand. Carpe diem and God Speed Rob Portman. Democrats will cheer you and so will media. Sen. Brown will laud you like he lauds Kasich for taking free federal money.
You can win this round, Rob, if you knock this bill out now.