President Barack Obama used to love to utter the phrase “Elections have consequences,” reminding America that his team won, and thus, they controlled the legislative agenda. He essentially ignored his own catchphrase after Republicans dominated the 2010 mid-term elections. When he won reelection as President in 2012, Mr. Obama blew off calls for cooperation from Congressional Republicans, again uttering that same phrase, “Elections have consequences.”
Someone apparently forgot to tell Democrats in the Texas legislature about Obama’s oft-repeated line. Instead, Texas Democrats and some in the adoring liberal media have demonstrated just how far they have drifted away from democracy.
In case you missed it, Texas Democrat representatives are being paid taxpayer money to represent their constituents in the state legislature. That job includes showing up, debating issues, and casting their vote for what they believe is in the best interest of those they represent. Instead, about forty Democrat representatives recently refused to show up. Instead, they spent lots of extra taxpayer money flying around on private jets and basking in praise of the liberal media for their alleged effort to save democracy.
It seems the Democrats didn’t like the way an issue was going to shake out in Austin. The Republicans have the majority there, and it was anticipated the GOP would win the legislative vote in the Texas House of Representatives on that issue. As Mr. Obama would have said, elections have consequences. Texas Democrats, however, have a different view on what democracy is. They apparently believe it is a win at all costs.
The last time I checked, our form of democracy worked like this… the public votes for representatives. Those representatives gather and vote on issues. The side with the most votes wins, and that legislation becomes the law of the land. Texans voted for their legislators. When Democrats don’t show up simply because they are in the minority on multiple issues, that’s not democracy.
Toss in the side story that those same Democrats flew to Washington DC on their taxpayer-funded private jet service with no mask on - a clear violation of the FAA rules, which require masks on private flights as well as on scheduled commercial ones, and you have the makings of a huge scandal.
The media, however, doesn’t seem to care. The same media that chastised President Trump after his COVID-19 stay at the hospital for not wearing a mask as he stood alone on the White House porch balcony didn’t seem to care when roughly three dozen rogue state legislators crammed onto a small jet with no masks and a few cans of beer. It was party time.
Never mind when several of those same legislators tested positive for COVID-19 in the days following the party plane excursion to DC. CNN and MSNBC weren’t particularly concerned when members of the Biden White House staff and Speaker Pelosi’s staff who met with the Texas Democrats also tested positive for COVID-19. What about Vice President Harris coincidentally making a trip to the hospital during this same time period? Move along—nothing to see here.
Can you imagine the media outcry if a Republican group of beer-guzzling state representatives had bolted their state and brought COVID-19 to DC? It would have been the only story all day, every day for a week.
But that isn’t really even the big story. The crazy part of this whole scene is that many on the left are lauding the “bravery” of the Texas Democrats. Ignoring your job isn’t brave. Ignoring the democratic political process isn’t brave. Drinking beer on a private plane isn’t brave. Spreading COVID-19 among state AND federal elected officials by flaunting federal laws isn’t brave.
Intentionally obstructing governmental business should immediately disqualify those representatives from serving. Vote only when you agree, otherwise disrupt the entire business of the state? That’s the kind of tactics one might find in a third-world country. In fact, some would say it’s criminal behavior.
The no-show Texas Democrats should apologize to the public, resign their post and return their paycheck for the job they failed to do. Rather than quarantining for the next 14 days because of COVID-19 infections, perhaps they can step down from the job they refuse to do and self-quarantine for the next 14 months. That would be brave.
• Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times and hosts “The Capitol Hill Show” podcast every week from Washington, D.C.
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