In the end, Dan Coats got it right.
Indiana’s Republican senator made it clear he wasn’t happy about the way things turned out. But on Wednesday Coats cast a vote to end the government shutdown and pull the nation away from the looming abyss of default.
So, of course, did Sen. Joe Donnelly and the two other Democrats in Indiana’s congressional delegation, as well as two Hoosier Republicans.
But in a breathtaking leap of irresponsibility, five of Indiana’s Republican representatives, including our own Marlin Stutzman, voted against ending the shutdown and against preventing default.
In a statement, Stutzman said he voted against the measure because it did nothing to provide relief from the job-killing mandates of Obamacare or from the national debt. Rep. Jackie Walorski, who represents the South Bend area, said she was happy the government reopened and didn’t default, but voted against the bill because it didn’t address spending cuts or budget reforms.
To add to Indiana’s shame, former Hoosier congressman Chris Chocola’s Club for Growth urged lawmakers to vote no. Now presumably it will target the Indiana Republicans who voted yes – Susan Brooks and Todd Young.
Chocola’s club, Heritage Action and other conservative action groups demand ideological purity from those they support – or try to unseat. That dig-in-your-heels dogma is what brought on the crisis and what led 144 House Republicans to oppose ending it Wednesday night.
But as Coats acknowledged, the shutdown and the danger of default should have outweighed even the most ardent conservative’s ideological concerns. Wednesday night the nation was a couple of hours from a default-induced economic disaster. Continuing the shutdown would have put us just a few days away from the real and immediate suffering that would have ensued if veterans’ benefits and Social Security checks had not gone out for November.
And yet ... and yet Marlin Stutzman voted no.
For that reckless vote against America’s interests, he will probably get a gold star from the Club for Growth.
What do you think he deserves?