In the past couple of years, Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado have touted their intent and ability to “work across the aisle to get things done”. Instead of standing firm on Democratic principles and working overtime to secure the policies their base wants enacted, they have yielded time and again to the more disciplined but less principled Republican Teabaggers who are under no such illusions to work with the other side. I’ve met and talked with with the staff of Sen. Udall many times since he was elected, trying to convince him to fight for what Colorado majorities and not corporate majorities want. Each and every time, I was told by his staff that Sen. Udall values my opinion but feels it is important to represent everybody. I have never received a sufficient explanation why it is more important to pay attention to what a minority of Coloradans want than what the majority wants. A similar story emerged with Sen. Bennet. So I have changed the way I evaluate the Senators’ performance. If they want to be judged based on their ability to work with the other side, I’m happy to do that.
The issue of whether or not to continue or let expire the 2001 and 2003 Bush Regime tax cuts has been in the news recently. Yesterday, Senators worked a rare Saturday session into their schedule to vote on those cuts. Faced with the opportunity to extend tax cuts for earners of less than $250,000 permanently but allow tax cuts to expire on those making more than that, Sens. Udall and Bennet had the chance to demonstrate their acumen in bringing bipartisanship to the table. If you look at this issue from the vantage point that Democrats hold the majority and a majority of Americans wanted the first $250,000 of every Americans’ income subject to continued tax breaks, Sens. Udall and Bennet failed. Only 51 other Senators voted with them.