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Jerry Moran: Bad cop

For 20 years or more, I've been used to thinking of Jerry Moran as the "good cop" in a state full of bad cops. Some of that's personal: He's got a background among Kansas Mennonites, like I do, and I was predisposed to the tribe, I guess. When I'd encountered him in a professional setting, he was far more congenial than, say, Pat Roberts, whose good humor leaves a sour aftertaste.

But after his vote today to proceed on a Senate healthcare bill that doesn't exist, I must finally concede: He is a congenial coward. The Hamlet act he pulls is a way of luring moderates and the occasional liberal (guilty!) to his side even as he votes conservative when push comes to shove.

This is possibly purely a fault of my own interpretation: Moran has never claimed to be anything but conservative. But his unwillingness to commit until very late on controversial issues — the characteristic that defines his political career — fooled me into thinking maybe it was possible to peel him away on the occasional issue of importance. The "good cop" is only the good cop until the interrogation is over and the episode is concluding ... and, suddenly, you realize he was on the bad cop's side all along.

Whatever. It's late now. But he doesn't get the benefit of the doubt from this constituent ever again.


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