Ideas inspire both philosophers and legislators, but the two jobs differ considerably thereafter.
That distinction is critical to understanding the current dust-up between the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara and several Republican lawmakers.
A thoughtful, assertive voice for liberty, Caldara is a friend and an ally. He and the Institute advocate tirelessly for personal freedom and limited government – principles that are as dear to me now as they were when I served in the Colorado Senate.
Caldara’s job is to turn up the heat on lawmakers when they are being cajoled to compromise. His job is not, however, to consider those same lawmakers’ prospects for re-election or to balance the competing interests that lawmakers face back home.
So, when Caldara calls for the Republican Party to purge lawmakers who, in his view, don’t sufficiently toe the line, it’s time for all of us to take a deep breath and assess the realities that lawmakers must face – or ignore at their own peril.
Legislators have a responsibility to the people they represent. They are responsible for governing, particularly when their party is empowered with a majority.
In Colorado, Republicans hold a one-vote majority in the state Senate. Democrats hold a nine-vote margin in the state House, and they’ve held the Governor’s Mansion for more than a decade.
The reality is that Republicans cannot pass legislation without some cooperation from Democrats – and vice versa.Read More