It seems that Oklahoma's conservative Tom Cole is the left's latest hero. He has urged immediate accommodation with the Obama administration and congressional Democrats on an extension of middle-class tax cuts--with which no one, other than David Stockman, takes issue--leaving contentious issues such as high-end marginal rates and entitlements cuts for the new year, and the new Congress.
Finally, says the left about Cole, here's a man of conservative principles and pragmatic impulses--no game-playing, no mindless kowtowing to reckless radicals, no reflexive opposition to Obama's argument merely because the argument is Obama's. Tom Cole is that rare conservative of genuine honor, swoons the left. And Tom Cole agrees:
Some people seem to think this is leverage. I think that’s wrong. You don’t consider people’s lives as leverage. I live in a blue-collar neighborhood. I’ve got a retired master sergeant as my next-door neighbor, police officer across the street. These are working folks, they’re great people, and the idea that I would ever use them as leverage is just wrong.
Ever? He already has. Speaking on the House floor, in July 2011, Cole said that "This body should never raise the debt ceiling again automatically." What was he using? Leverage, and people's lives--veterans, police officers, blue-collar workers. So much for Tom Cole's empirical honor, when it really counted; when the nation's economy teetered, the federal government trembled, and congressional Republicans, including Tom Cole, held a knife to everyone's throat.
If Tom Cole were to resign his seat in protest of House Republicans' ceaseless depravity, or at the very least renounce his party and join the Democrats' conservative wing, then I could forgive Tom Cole and muster some respect. But as things are, the only true Republican is an unforgivable Republican.