As I write this post today I am reminded that a federal judgeship for Wisconsin remains open, due to the antics of Republican Senator Ron Johnson. He blocked two of President Obama’s nominations to fill the vacancy, insisting that both law professor Victoria Nourse and former state Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler were ‘too liberal’. Granted, with the arrival of Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin in Washington there is now a consensus on three names for the bench, but let us recall the opening was announced in 2009 when Judge Shabazz retired.
During the time Johnson has served in Washington this judicial vacancy in Madison was declared to be an emergency by the administrator of federal courts. No matter how one slices or dices politics this type of continual disagreement over allowing government to operate is nauseating. And it needs to cease.
The same is true when it comes to the continual drumbeat from Republicans over the health care law. There is seemingly never enough rhetoric from Republicans about repealing the law that will allow millions of Americans, many for the first time, to have coverage.
The latest bluster comes from congressional Republicans who insist they will not sign a needed continuing budget resolution unless it contains a clause to defund President Obama’s signature legislation. Some are even threatening to shut down the government if they can not sink the funding.
I find it curious how so many Republicans who think only of the bottom line can not see the harm to our economic standing by such a foolish move.
Senator Johnson needs to do more than just howl against a health care plan that not only passed both houses of congress but also legal hurdles at the Supreme Court, He needs to put forth a workable national health care idea as an alternative to the one he finds so politically expedient to punch away at.
Yesterday former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made some very pointed remarks about elected officials such as Johnson on this issue.
“I will bet you, for most of you, you go home in the next two weeks when your members of Congress are home, and you look them in the eye and you say, ‘What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?’ They will have zero answer,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich blamed the problem on Republican culture that rewards obstruction and negativity instead of innovation and “being positive.”
I am willing to listen to ideas Johnson might have, but up to now he seems more content to sing from the Tea Party hymn book than ante up with constructive dialogue.