When Senator George Voinovich mocked some of his Republican colleagues from the South over the summer, we hoped it might be the start of something. Given the length of his public service, his reputation (in the media, at least) for being a moderate and the fact that he's not seeking re-election, Voinovich is uniquely positioned to take on the megalomaniacs battling for control of the GOP (while the "leadership" cowers in the corner).

Sadly, aside from his fairly tepid southern-accent dig, Voinovich has shown little enthusiasm for sparring with the crazies. Is he afraid of them? Or does he just not care where all of this is headed? Whatever the case, as long as he remains silent, he's guilty by association for his fellow Republicans' behavior. Like this:

In the world outside the Senate, time is money; inside it, time is everything. Senate Republicans are taking full advantage of that reality, using every parliamentary device at their disposal to slow down an extension of unemployment insurance benefits — even after Democrats added billions for big business to sweeten the pot.

The saga is a cast study both in the difficulty of passing even popular legislation in the Senate and the lengths to which the GOP is going to slow down the process. …

The report goes on to add that while Republicans were playing games, "according to a Senate Democratic ticker, more than 185,000 people have lost their unemployment benefits." Real people are suffering real consequences while Republican elected officials — in no danger of missing a paycheck or losing their health insurance — play games with legislation. (How else to characterize it when in the end the bill passed unanimously?)

Voinovich hasn't retired yet. All of this is happening on his watch. And every day that he fancies himself detached and blameless is another day that his party crumbles, his nation suffers and his legacy is tarnished. When madmen are howling, silence is an endorsement. — Frank Lewis

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