Tourists at the Capitol (Washington Post)

It is easy these days to be down in the dumps about the quality of our elected officials. They demagogue. They deflect blame. They are untruthful. But in the middle of a dreadful week, there was one person who stood up to a bully and, yes, “spoke truth to power.”

As several news outlets reported, in the Senate Republicans Wednesday lunch Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) took on fellow freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), demanding to know what his endgame was and whether he would apologize. (He hasn’t got one and no are the respective answers.) Once she began her interrogation, the former prosecutor’s colleagues began to chime in. Pretty soon the bully had been knocked down to size and the grown ups were back in charge. She laid bare what we suspected — Cruz had no purpose other than advancing himself. For those in and out of Congress who hadn’t figured out what he was up to, this was a revelation. That will have consequences in the House’s balance of power through these next few weeks and potentially beyond the current standoff.

It is a potent reminder that every person counts and that it sometimes takes one person to encourage others to do the right thing. Whether she will personally benefit from this is unknown. But she did the right thing, told the truth (rather, she revealed it by Cruz’s answers) and didn’t wait for others to do it. That is rare in politics. It was an example, in a town bereft of it, of leadership.

So for that we say, well done Sen. Ayotte.