Last week on this page we wrote that we believed newly elected U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz had a bright future in the halls of the Congress. We still believe that to be true, but it’s clear the freshman congressman didn’t get off on the right foot last week in the wake of a seditious storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob.
After the mob dispersed, Bentz — who represents Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District — joined more than 130 GOP lawmakers who voted to object to Pennsylvania election results. The vote was based on shaky data that has been proven wrong.
The objection, rightly, failed.
Later, Bentz told the Malheur Enterprise newspaper in Malheur County — where Bentz worked for decades as lawyer — that he doesn’t believe President Trump should resign and he shouldn’t be impeached after the insurrection at the Capitol last week.
Bentz arguably represents one of the more conservative areas of Oregon, if not the nation, so his vote on the Pennsylvania results was no surprise. At the end of the day, he is an elected member of the Congress and can vote the way he feels best represents his constituents.
The only problem with such logic is that the Pennsylvania results were never really in question and legal protests to it were soundly defeated. To still vote in protest of the results after such legal proceedings calls into question the new congressman’s judgement and just exactly whom he believes he is representing.
If he believes he must only listen to his ultra right-wing constituents, then he must rethink his outlook. The 2nd Congressional District is home to a good share of ultra right-wing voters, but it is also filled with middle-of-the-road Republicans and many Democrats. Their views and concerns matter too.
Bentz’s views on what should occur after the president essentially incited a mob to storm the Capitol building are head scratchers. On a purely pragmatic road, he is probably correct that an impeachment of the president would be a waste of time. The president leaves office within the next two weeks, so spending valuable time in impeachment proceedings won’t move things along, especially since the U.S. Senate also plays a role in such matters.
But his comments the president will be held accountable for last week’s mob “in the proper way” is also mystifying. What does that mean?
Bentz made major missteps last week — miscues that raise questions about his political judgement. The voters of his district deserve better.