---- — When America was looking for someone to step up and reach across the aisle for a common-sense compromise with universal background checks, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey did.
For that, he is being excoriated, even by Pennsylvanians of his own party who feel he sold them down the river.
Pat Toomey's credentials as a conservative are about as pristine as they come. Americans for Prosperity, a conservative organization that supports small-government Republicans, gave Toomey an "A" for his voting in the 112th Congress, one of just a dozen -- out of 47 Republicans in the Senate -- to get the mark. His score of 94 is only bettered by five other Republicans.
Of the 35 votes AFP tracked in 2011 and 2012, Toomey voted in accordance with AFP's stance 34 times. He voted to repeal President Obama's healthcare bill, against energy tax increases, for the Ryan budget and the Keystone pipeline. The only time he voted against AFP was on the fiscal cliff bill.
It doesn't get much more conservative than that. Yet, the same people who Toomey has so ably represented are now ready to throw him under the bus because he took a position reflecting what 90 percent of Americans believe.
Tuesday, at a gun rally in Harrisburg, busloads of commonwealth residents visited the capital -- assault rifles and all -- to not only make a stand for their Second Amendment rights but to rip on Toomey.
"Pat Toomey is done … I'd lay money on it," one of the people said Tuesday.
Really? Pat Toomey?
For at least a decade, cries from coast to coast have been for bipartisanship in Washington. Toomey offers some up on a silver platter and all of a sudden we want to make him walk the plank?
Toomey is also being targeted by office holders in his own party, or at least forcing people to pick sides.
On one side, you have Toomey and his record. On the other side are many of the Valley's other representatives, including Lou Barletta, Tom Marino, Fred Keller, Kurt Masser and Lynda Schlegel Culver. They are all Republicans who have drawn a definitive line in the sand on the gun issue.
Who is right is not up for debate here. What is worth knowing, however, is that Toomey has been on par with conservative sentiment from the very beginning and will likely continue to do so. He deserves respect from respectable people.