Crowds at the D.C. airport gave GOP lawmakers quite the send-off.
Imagine that you’re a Republican senator. (Sorry. I know it isn’t pleasant. This will only take a moment.) On Thursday, after spending weeks locked in a room crafting a health care reform bill that would overhaul one-sixth of this country’s economy, your colleagues finally unveiled a proposal that, incredibly, managed to be even worse than the one that your president has dismissed as too “mean.” While your office has been inundated with angry calls asking why you want to take insurance from millions of Americans, you’re still trying to find time to read the thing. You’re tired, you’re frazzled, and as you trudge wearily into Reagan airport to head home for the weekend, you breathe a silent prayer of thanks that, at last, you get enjoy a few precious hours of peace and quiet.
And then, as you sit at the gate and flick idly through Twitter—scrupulously ignoring your mentions, of course—you hear a commotion. You look up. And you see this:
Well, so much for getting Qdoba.
Here’s Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, who is no stranger to being publicly roasted on the subject of health care reform, silently fleeing the check-in area because he’s so afraid of having to answer questions like, “Do you support anyone losing coverage, Senator?”
Just to be clear: No, senators are not owed some vacuous, tut-tutting, Sorkin-esque duty of civility that obligates you to “show some respect” and allow them to wait for their flights in peace. They are public servants in a public place, and the choices they make have consequences. Especially at a time when Republican lawmakers are developing increasingly creative strategies to cravenly duck face-to-face meetings with outraged constituents, it is perfectly legitimate to (peacefully!) confront them and to share your opinions about the job they’re doing. They’re adults! They can handle it.
Also, remember that your tax dollars pay for their salaries and their plane tickets, so if you see Mitch McConnell sipping a Jamba Juice and listening for his boarding group to be called, the least he can do is hear you out in the meantime.