Exhibit A: The defenestration of Tom Cole. …

But Cole is right for a larger reason: The Republicans’ negotiating position is morally indefensible. They are holding 98 percent of Americans hostage by refusing to spare them a tax hike unless the wealthiest 2 percent are included.

“Some people seem to think this is leverage. I think that’s wrong,” Cole said. “You don’t consider people’s lives as leverage. I live in a blue-collar neighborhood. I’ve got a retired master sergeant as my next-door neighbor, police officer across the street. These are working folks, they’re great people, and the idea that I would ever use them as leverage is just wrong.”

In defying the party purists, Cole is taking a novel approach: doing what his constituents want him to do. His staff reports that calls and e-mails to his Washington office are running 70 percent favorable, and calls to his south-central Oklahoma offices are 90 percent positive.