Friday, March 19, 2010

Question: Representin'

Just a simple question tonight, to ease you into a lazy weekend, where nothing at all significant is going to happen. Do you think Congress types should vote their own beliefs, seeing as how they were chosen by the voters to represent their districts, or should they vote the way the majority of the voters in the district want, seeing as how they were chosen by the voters to represent their districts. Or would you choose some middle ground? Perhaps random voting? Thoughts?

39 comments:

Tam said...

Represent, dammit! I read somewhere today (Michelle Malkin?) a comment questioning what will happen to our vote after this weekend. A Texan commenter replied "We will have a vote in Texas, even if it is for secession." I believe that this "historic" weekend could bring on the 2nd American Revolution.

Tennessee Jed said...

While elected officials should take the wishes of their constituents into consideration, ultimately they must do what they believe to be in the overall best interests of the country.

AndrewPrice said...

So you're undecided Tam? ;-)

It is rather a strange thought that these people would go against the obvious anger of so many Americans isn't it?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I would generally agree with you, but isn't there a point where the public is so upset that you have to take that into consideration even if you think what you're doing is best for the country?

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Tam, you know what's so amazing about this whole administration and their cronies in the Congress? They've angered people such much that people who've never said the words "second American revolution" are suddenly saying things like that. That's should be a huge sign that maybe this health care plan is a bad idea.

Tam said...

Andrew, if an issue is 50-50, then as Jed said, ultimately they must do what they believe is in the best interests of the country and use their best judgment. But if the constituents clearly state an opinion one way or another, I repeat my earlier sentiment.

Tam said...

and P.S. my dad is an older conservative guy who has never uttered the words 2nd American Revolution until recently.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, I think that's a good solution to the represent v. vote your conscience dilema.

I'm hearing it a lot too from people who never said it before. People are furious -- even people who were never really political before. This is going to be an interesting election. The Democrats may be about to remake America in ways they never expected if all of these people remain politically active.

Skinners 2 Cents said...

I'd have to agree with Tam most of the people I talk to about this very subject think that this is going to end with bullets flying. Which was somewhat shocking to hear from some of the people that I spoke with.

To answer the question I think there does come a time when doing something because it's right vs. public opinion is necessary. That being said I don't think health care is one of those times.

Many elected officials are pretending not to hear the voice of the people. They know Americans are angry they just don't think we have the nerve to act. I know they're wrong. I just hope they realize they are wrong before the shooting starts.

Writer X said...

If elected Representatives don't represent the majority of their constituents then why have elected officials? I guess that's what elections are for. Unfortunately we can't trust most politicians to think in terms of the best interests of their country, especially when most have shown time and again that their own self-interests and self-preservation are more important.

Update to those watching at home: A Rasmussen poll this week shows that the gap between McCain and Hayworth is now 7 percentage points, down from 22 points in January.

AndrewPrice said...

Skinner, I suspect that the next election or two will probably reduce the frustration level. . . but of course, you never know. We might change people but not direction -- though I doubt it at this point. I think anyone who is not an elected Democrat is hearing the public pretty loud and clear.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, That's pretty interesting. . . encouraging really. It sounds like the public isn't going to buy into the "wait, I really am conservative" sales pitch anymore. There goes the Democrats' biggest election strategy.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - I did say they should take their constituents' desires into consideration, bit I do not want a government governed by polls. One of Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage" was titled, if I correctly recall, "I look down into my open grave." It was about the Congressman who voted not to impeach Andrew Johnson even though it cost him his political career.

One of the things I most admired about George W. Bush is he believed the Iraq War was the right thing to do to protect our country. Whether that was true is a subject of legitimate debate. However, unlike Bill Clinton, I feel Bush was much more likely to do what he considered best.

What bothers me about this Health Care is too many of the Congressmen seem to have their votes for sale. If a Democratic Congressman truly believes this bill is good for the country, I would not have much respect for him or her if he or she voted against it just to remain in office. The operative words here are "truly believe." If that is the case, they should vote their conscience, then be prepared to stand tall and run for re-election and explain exactly why they did so. What turns me off is all the crap about getting political cover. There is too much obsfucation. Most politicians lack courage.

Tennessee Jed said...

Regarding the Healthcare issue, I had a thought. Given the excesses of the Obama administration and the encroachment on states rights under the constitution, Justice Kennedy may become an increasingly important player.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: As a student of history and the Constitution, I find myself defending the principle of a republic (a representative democracy). The closer we get to direct democracy, the more nervous I get. The principle behind a representative democracy is that the public listens to what the candidates have to say, then vote on the person best qualified to make those decisions in Congress. If they were there merely to serve the will of temporary majorities, we could simply get rid of the House and Senate and go straight to direct voting on every issue.

I want my representative to represent me, but so does my ultraliberal neighbor. A good elected representative will try to determine what the majority of his constituents want, and if he finds no moral or conscientious objection to it, he should probably vote for it unless he is truly convinced that the people are wrong. That's what elections are for. It's messy, but it's better than all the other systems.

The Founders didn't want direct democracy, and either do I. That doesn't mean I'm not furious about the dirty tricks and lies that surround the current process over socialized medicine. In fact, my post tomorrow is about two sleazebags who have switched their votes from no to yes for a cheap political bribe. I think what they are doing is wrong, contrary to the wishes of their constituents, and dangerous. But I also don't want puppets for "the people" testing the wind and voting however they think the majority who will re-elect them want them to vote on a particular issue at a particular time. They are our representatives, not our proxies.

Courage, honor and integrity are seriously lacking in a great many of our representatives. So let's get rid of them in the next election, and do so in a way that says "whoever gets this seat next time had at least better listen to what we're saying and if we're wrong, tell us why we're wrong." No more backroom deals. No more bribes. No more sellouts.

Joel Farnham said...

I want them to stop telling me it is raining while whizzing on my boots.

I want them to believe in small government and stand up against enemies large and small, and strive to what is best for the country.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, You make some good points.

I think you're right about not becoming a country based on polls -- especially because so few people really understand how government works. Could you imagine, for example, handling something as complex as banking regulation by popular vote? It would be pretty disasterous.

And I understand your point about truly believing. If you elect someone and you know their beliefs, it's hard to say that you weren't warned.

On the other hand, it would seem that when the public is a vehemently opposed to something as they are to health care, maybe our representatives should respect the public's wishes?

It's a good question, with excellent points to be made on both sides.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, The problem with demanding honesty is that most politicians are born liars, and the public has encouraged that behavior by forgiving their lies too easily in exchange for pork projects.

StanH said...

Like was said up-thread if the vote’s 50/50 use your own judgment. However as we are talking about the House, not the Senate, if their constituency 75% against something, they damn well better vote their constituency. This is what the Senate is for to simmer down the political rhetoric, and is supposed have broader latitude, philosophical debate. But this is being circumvented by the 17th Amendment and the wicked witch of the west the “Nancybeast!”

2nd Revolution, Civil War is being discussed openly, and from completely unexpected places. I’ve never seen people so pissed off in all my life at Washington, they had better pay attention, and begin too walk this country back from rapture!

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Good points. I think you and Jed are making the same point about truly believing in something.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: You hit the nail on the head in your reply to Joel. And it explains why I rail against direct democracy. Jefferson and Hamilton were on opposite political sides, but they both realized that the entire process of a republic can be derailed when "a majority of the citizens discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury." Fancy language to describe "pork."

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I've never seen this level of anger before either. I read today that they are getting more than 100,000 calls an hour on Capital Hill, and that they've clogged the phonelines for four days now -- which is more than even Reagan managed to achieve when he asked people to call the Congress (two days). That's stunning.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I'm not a fan of direct democracy either, for the very reasons you mention.

patti said...

they are the voice of the people, not of their own desires.

and as i root around the internet, the river of anger is rising. i fear the crest will bring more destruction than imagined if washington marches forward in their own desires...

BevfromNYC said...

I'll be in Washington tomorrow at the "Red Alert" rally, and will report on the temper of the crowd.

The 9/12 Teaparty was very congenial, not a whole lot of underlying anger. Tomorrow may be a new beast entirely.

I think our representatives should have the country's best interests determine their votes. That's what's frustrating about the healthcare debacle. It is not about our best interest. It's about winning.

We need an amendment to the constitution that mandates a national vote for major entitlement programs like healthcare. We can no longer trust our elected officials (if we really ever could) to do what is best for the country.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, This:

"That's what's frustrating about the healthcare debacle. It is not about our best interest. It's about winning."

Is a great point!

Good luck tomorrow, let us know how it goes. . . have fun storming the castle.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I think the warnings are there that they better start getting responsive.

Anonymous said...

Andrew
You and the commentators have failed to identify the major fly in the ointment.
Where it is reasonable to allow our representatives would ,in a close call situation, choose what is best for our country the caveat is they are reasonable clear thinking Americans.
Our present gaggle of ? are not reasonable nor are they American.
They are to a person self serving greedy scum. We could do better, but our uneducated self serving electorate are in a serious want mode. That is if you will promise to feed, house and buy me $200.00 tennis shoes then you are the most qualified to run our Govment.
I am armed and can be dangerous.
So "Don't tread on me".
JB

AndrewPrice said...

JB, You make a good point. Representative government assumes that the representatives have some level of ethics, and that the people will actually act in the best interests of the country as well as themselves. Unfortunately, too many voters today do exactly what you say, they vote for whoever promises them the most stuff.

There was a quote, I can't think of who said it, but it was basically: democracy will work until the people realize that they can vote themselves goodies from the treasury.

We're at that point and it's getting worse. And now we've reached a point where the deficit is so out of control that it's become a threat to our economy and government, yet 40 some percent of the people keep wanting the government to give them more.

This is not a good situation.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I think you just read that quote a few comments above: Jefferson and Hamilton were on opposite political sides, but they both realized that the entire process of a republic can be derailed when "a majority of the citizens discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury." I know you like to ignore me (like many others), but now my feelings are hurt. LOL

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I knew it sounded familiar! LOL! I did read that and I promptly forgot. My apologizes. Having seven 20 hour days in a row is enough to turn your mind to mush.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Excuses, excuses.

LOL

Individualist said...

Andrew

I guess that I feel that a representative should usually vote their conscience. We elect them in part not just on the positions they hold but their judgment. I don't want a politician waffling in the wind they way Clinton, McCain and Spectre did.

That being said I think that I require of them honesty in telling the voters what they think during the campaign. If they violate that then they should be held accountable. So if you say your a blue dog democrat whose Pro life, Pro Business and less Speding then you don't vote for the Stimuls plan or a HEalth Care proposal that undoes the Stupak amemndment. Why! Because you said that is who you are!

The one difference when I think they should throw this all out the window is when they have a revolt of all their constituents as we do now.

Tennessee Jed said...

Individualist - as a former constituent of turncoat Senator Arlen (the magic bullet) Specter, I have to ask: Was it merely a typo or did you purposely spell his name to match that of James Bond's long time enemies, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (The Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion.? Either way, I couldn't resist.

Individualist said...

TennesseeJed

Well I could tell you it was a typo as I am prone to that when I don't put a response together in Word.

However know that you point it out I am thinking maybe a Freudian Slip. Either way it works for me. LOL! Good Catch

BevfromNYC said...

I have to ask myself, is there such a thing as "A politician with a conscience? And I regret to inform you that my answer is "Not many".

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think the problem is that people who go into politics often do it because they have a need to be liked. Those are the kinds of people who will run to the front of every bandwagon and will so or say anything to get people to love them. Sadly, it's the nature of the business. Same thing with actors.

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, I think you make an excellent distinction. We do elect them theoretically because we trust their judgement, but there are moments where you literally face a revolt.

AndrewPrice said...

Everyone, Excellent answers! All very thoughtful.

I don't think there is necessarily a right or wrong answer except that people obviously want a mix of some judgement and some attention to the people.

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