The Hill reports–Colorado’s senior U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, who has a reputation for being polite and soft-spoken, rained uncharacteristic fire today after a floor speech by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz overtopped Bennet’s BS threshold:
Bennet, a typically subdued and moderate senator, unloaded on Cruz after the Texas Republican joined other GOP lawmakers to introduce a bill to pay members of the Coast Guard during the partial shutdown but not reopen the government.
“I seldom rise on this floor to contradict somebody on the other side,” Bennet said during his speech. “I have worked very hard over the years to work in a bipartisan way with the presiding officer with my Republican colleagues, but these crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying for first responders are too hard for me to take.”
“When the senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013, my state was flooded. It was under water. People were killed. People’s houses were destroyed. Their small businesses were ruined forever. And because of the senator from Texas, this government was shut down for politics,” Bennet shouted, referring to a series of floods that hit killed eight Coloradans.
The historic flooding that impacted Colorado in September of 2013 has been a flashpoint involving Colorado politicians several times since the event, including a round of absolutely toxic press that only New York-area news outlets could deliver directed at Colorado Republicans who voted against disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy victims after the nation rallied to our aid. But it’s also true that immediate relief for Colorado’s flood victims in 2013 was hampered by a government shutdown forced by Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz over funding for the Affordable Care Act.
Although more Americans oppose the GOP on the shutdown than support them, the opposition is not yet lopsided enough to compel Republicans to back down on poll numbers alone–at least not yet. Cruz’s attempt to carve out a safe haven for a favored interest, in this case the Coast Guard, is just one among innumerable little hypocrisies that have kept the present historically long shutdown grinding on without a total collapse in public support for Republicans.
But it was enough to get Michael Bennet to flash some genuine anger, which itself is no small thing.