June 1, 2017 at 2:15 pm EDT | by Peter Rosenstein
Republican lawmakers only pretend to care
Republicans, gay news, Washington Blade

Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) (Photo by Maryland GovPics; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

It’s time to call out and defeat those Republicans who pretend to really care about anyone other than rich white straight people. For too long we have given them a pass if they just speak out against the worst rhetoric and actions of the far right. Speaking out isn’t enough when their actions don’t match the moderate records they try to convince us they have.

One example of the pitfalls of believing someone who pretends he is a moderate occurred recently when Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a bill that would have benefitted hundreds of thousands of workers. Another is how Virginia’s 10th District Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock casts her first vote each congressional term for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) thereby allowing him to set the House of Representatives’ agenda and appoint committees making any challenge she would like us to believe she made to what he is doing worthless.

In the case of Hogan, he vetoed a reasonable bill passed by the Maryland Legislature mandating earned sick leave of five days for workers in all companies with more than 15 employees. Having managed and been CEO of organizations with from 3 to more than 50 people I always gave my employees at least five days of earned sick leave, it was never an issue.

Hogan suggested it apply only to organizations with more than 50 employees and said he would sign some executive orders on the issue and look to compromise with the Democratic legislature. But the Washington Post reported, “Delegate Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore) who was lead sponsor of the bill said Hogan’s executive orders were the actions of a governor who ‘is just pretending to care’ about the hundreds of thousands of workers who would lose paid sick leave under his veto.” Clippinger said despite the governor’s call for a compromise, he has never received a call from Hogan or his staff in the past three years to discuss the issue. The idea that workers don’t have the right to earn sick leave is nothing other than obscene. How many sick days did the governor use for his recent illness?

Then there is Comstock, who pretends to care about the people in her District, but refuses to hold a town hall to converse with them. Her first vote each term has been for the Republican speaker who then sets the agenda and appoints the committees of the House. That vote allowed him to pass the Affordable Care Act repeal bill through committees he appointed. In fact we know during the first effort to pass the ACA repeal legislation she actually committed to vote ‘yes’ before the bill was pulled. Then in the final version of the bill, which passed by one vote, they didn’t need her vote so she could get away with pretending she actually opposed it.

Other issues that her vote for Ryan impacted include LGBT civil rights. While the Equality Bill now has more than 190 co-sponsors in the House, Speaker Ryan has the right to decide it will never be brought to the floor. So her vote for the speaker means the bill will never see the light of day. Her vote for Ryan also allows the far-right’s agenda to determine the discussion on every issue. So while she tries every-so-often to pretend to be moderate her vote for Ryan allowed Trump and his minions to prevail. If we continue to be fooled and reelect the likes of Hogan and Comstock we shouldn’t be surprised at what we get.

The time has come for Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents to vote in every election and to vote for the candidate with the real chance to beat Republicans. That may not be your ‘perfect’ candidate but it will allow a Democratic governor in Maryland and a Democratic Speaker of the House to set the agenda. It would stop the far right and Trump in their tracks.

Only you can elect a Democratic governor of Maryland who would sign the bill giving 700,000 Marylanders the right to earn sick leave and a Virginia Democratic congressperson who would vote for the next Democratic Speaker of the House.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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