Remember in early 2009 when the recently elected President Obama uttered the now famous snub “Elections have consequences” when meeting with Congressional Republicans shortly after his inauguration? He quickly added “I won”. Rumor has President Obama adding “Get over it” but I cannot validate this part of the quotation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed the same divisive and caustic sentiment.
I can’t pinpoint where this partisan rancor became so dominant in the Washington, D.C. “swamp” but it has certainly changed dramatically in the past 40 years. Remember back in the eighties when the Republican conservative Ronald Reagan was President and the Democrat liberal “Tip” O’Neil was Speaker of the House. They worked together for the good of the country, put patriotism over partisanship, agreed to disagree, met socially and individually or together were both recognized as national leaders.
Today, votes, like elections, have consequences. In particular, I am wondering about U.S Senator Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) recent “No” vote on the confirmation of SCOTUS Justice Amy Coney Barrett. While I had heard nothing but glowing and laudatory comments about the SCOTUS nominee, maybe Senator Baldwin voted “No” because of Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic religion or because she has seven children. Neither of these characteristics disqualifies a nominee for the Supreme Court. Amy Coney Barrett very clearly stated that she would put aside her personal beliefs and rule on what was in the Constitution; following the Rule of Law. It is too bad that Senator Baldwin didn’t have the same values when she voted “No”. I wonder if Senator Baldwin was one of the many Democratic Senators that didn’t have the common courtesy to meet with this SCOTUS nominee.
Senator Baldwin represents the people of Wisconsin in the Senate, but I believe she failed. Republicans have a majority in the State Senate, the State Assembly, and five of the state’s eight Representatives to Congress are Republican. In 2016 the State went for the candidate that promised to put conservative judges on the federal courts, President Trump. With all this Republican success at Wisconsin’s ballot boxes, it could be argued that Senator Baldwin failed to fairly represent the people of Wisconsin. Instead, Senator Baldwin joined every other Democratic Senator and voted “No” on the confirmation apparently blindly following party leadership rather than doing her job. I would be curious what constituent communications she received on this matter.
Senator Baldwin is not up for re-election until 2024. I hope the voting citizens of Wisconsin remember her vote against Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation and remind her that votes have consequences too. Maybe she will explain her vote.