In impeachment, Toomey voted for what was right

DAVID E. DALE/HeraldU.S. Sen. Pat Toomey talks with the press during a 2018 business roundtable at the Mercer County Courthouse.

Let’s be clear.

Republican Pat Toomey twice won election to represent Pennsylvanians in the United States Senate.

Pat Toomey was not twice elected to the U.S. Senate to represent Pennsylvania Republicans.

There is a significant difference. Sadly, it seems that doesn’t matter in today’s political climate.

Party above all else. Or else.

Last week, counties across Pennsylvania offered a formal rebuke of Toomey, who has already announced he will not seek another term in 2022. 

In its proclamation censuring Toomey, unanimously approved, the Snyder County Republican Committee said the senator “voted against acquitting President Donald J. Trump in the politically motivated Senate impeachment trial, inflicting tremendous damage to the Pennsylvania GOP and the Republican committees of all 67 counties in the Commonwealth. Combined with his previous attacks on America’s Second Amendment, Senator Patrick Joseph Toomey, Jr. continues to use the Republican banner while actively working against conservative values, principles, and elected Republicans in public office.”

In a statement from party chair Todd Robatin following the vote, he said the move was made for his “continual actions taken against his constituents and the constitution.”

Washington County GOP committee chair took it a step further.

“We did not send him (Toomey) there to vote his conscience, we did not send him there to do the right thing, whatever he said he was doing. We sent him there to represent us, and we feel very strongly that he did not represent us.”

The key word there is “us.” It is very specific who “us” is.

“Us” in this context is the Republican Party only. Apparently the 2,951,702 votes Toomey got in 2016 and the 2,028,945 votes Toomey got in 2010 were all Republican votes.

Sure, the majority of those votes were from the GOP. But Toomey, like all elected officials, doesn’t get to represent just the people who supported him.

He has to represent everyone from Pennsylvania and in some regard, all Americans.

The tricky part of a republic is that elected officials often face these difficult questions: Do I vote for what the majority of my constituents or my party thinks is right? Or do I vote for what I think is right?

The answer should never be the party.

We understand Toomey didn’t have much to risk because he is not running for reelection. But he nonetheless deserves credit for choosing what he felt was right over what he knew the Republican party wanted him to do.

We only wish more Republicans would have taken that path instead of adhering to the party line and voting for outrageous, QAnon-spouting Republican colleague Marjorie Taylor Greene to remain on the Education and Budget committees, as 11 Republicans did.

The Daily Item (Sunbury, Pa.) | CNHI News Service

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