Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hooray for BOTH of my Senators!

So, the shutdown's least this particular fight is over. We'll probably be right back here in a few months because they only managed a short agreement, but whatever. This image sums up what I, and I think many Americans, are thinking:

Hat tip: Twitchy
Anyway, in the various conservative corners of the internet, a lot of the most impassioned discussion has focused on the roles of certain Republican members of Congress and whether they were "sellouts," "unrealistic," "radical," "RINOs" or a million other unflattering descriptions. Far too much of this chatter was not only petty, it was unproductive or even destructive.

My friend Kathleen McKinley has written a very thoughtful piece for the Houston Chronicle today, focusing on the two Senators from the great state of Texas:

Houston Chronicle | TexasSparkle blog | Why We Need Both Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Ted Cruz
Sen. John Cornyn has taken a lot of heat from the right for not supporting Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee when they filibustered a House-passed bill that would fund the federal government but defund Obamacare. It was a complicated mess, but anyone who has followed Cornyn’s career knows he has fought against Obamacare from day one. The difference here was a difference in strategy. Cornyn has been in the Senate for 11 years. Cruz has been in the Senate for less than a year. I think Cornyn knew that strategically this wouldn't work, and he ended up being right about that...
I think both of them are great men. I think both of them care about this country very deeply...Do we need someone like Cruz in the Senate? Yes, we do. Do we need someone like John Cornyn in the Senate? Yes we do.
We need Cruz to shake up the status quo, but we also need Cornyn to fight these battles with calm energy and thoughtfulness...
In this toxic political atmosphere, I’m glad we have Senator Cornyn, who by his thoughtful presence keeps fighting the good fight. He  never gets the media attention that someone who pushes the envelope does, and that’s too bad. But I’m also glad we have Sen. Ted Cruz, who promised that he would fight this good fight in a ‘no holds barred way.’ And that is exactly what he is doing.
Both men serve Texas well. There is a reason Texas is so great. We elect fantastic leaders. My fellow conservatives need to understand that it’s not necessary to pit one good man against another. We need both personalities. We benefit from both personalities.

I couldn't agree more with Kathleen. Senator Cruz has been very effective at drawing attention to issues and getting conservatives fired up. I've spent the last few years working  in politics and have traveled all over the country, and what I've witnessed is an increasing mood of anxiety, fear, sometimes even anger, but also determination to make things better. Cruz has been a great messenger for encouraging conservatives to hold on to that determination and not give up the fight.

But I also have a lot of respect for Senator Cornyn. The times I've spoken to him, I've always found him to be very gracious and thoughtful. I've met a lot of politicians, and far too many of them have mastered the art of shaking your hand and smiling, pausing just long enough so they can move on. Cornyn looks you in the eye, listens to your question, and is focused on your conversation while you're speaking with him instead of looking around for someone more important. It may be a little thing, but sadly all too rare. 

At a recent work-related trip to D.C. for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, it was obvious to me that Cornyn had done a lot of independent reading on the issue (revisions to federal mandatory minimum sentences for certain qualified nonviolent drug offenders). He asked intelligent, thoughtful questions and clearly paid close attention to the testimony. Cornyn takes his job as a Senator very seriously, and is inquisitive and detail-oriented to bills brought before his committees. (No "you have to pass the bill to find out what's in it" nonsense from him.)

We should be happy and appreciative for Ted Cruz's energy, passion, and enthusiasm, but it's a mistake to believe that he is our only hope for victory, or our only champion for conservative principles. 

God bless Senator Cruz. God bless Senator Cornyn. God bless Texas. God bless America.

Follow me on Twitter at @rumpfshaker

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