What’s the use of being elected or re-elected if you don’t stand for something?
I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.
G.K. Chesteron, 1923
Yesterday in the Washtington post Chris Cillzza lamented that the political middle had disappeared.
In 1982, there were 344 Members whose voting records fell somewhere between the most conservative voting Democrat and the most liberal voting Republican in the House. Thirty years later, there were 11. That means that in 1982 the centrists — or at least those who by voting record were somewhere near the middle of their respective parties — comprised 79 percent of the House. In 2012 they made up 2.5 percent of the House. So, yeah.
I find it interesting that apparently the left has become just as liberal as the right has conservative yet is never called “extreme” but I think Cillizza is his lament and chart seems to miss something about politics.
It’s not a fraternal order. It’s not the Elks, the Eagles or the Lions club. All are decent clubs that do good things but there really isn’t much of a difference between one or the other,
A political party isn’t supposed to be like that. A party has a platform and a particular beliefs. In theory a person joins and supports a political party because of those common beliefs and values and votes for one party over another because he or she wants to advance those ideas or values.
If people are however in a party because it happens to be the club they joined then belief and principles becomes “flexible” because the purpose is to serve the “club” rather than the people.
For example, consider this quote from Tip O’Neill’s autobiography:
Sam Rayburn: Now I don’t give a rat’s ass whether or not you like the legislation. If it’s a party issue, your obligation is to get it on the floor. Once it gets there, of course, you’re on your own and you’re fee to vote your conscience—or your district. But on the Rules Committee, if we need your vote, you’ll give it to us–even if you hate the bill , and even if it goes against the economy of your Area.
Now to a Chris Cizilla and to those who miss the good old days when things got done there is absolutely nothing wrong with he concept. This is simply how things were done and it’s same they aren’t done that way again. It’s no big deal.
Think about what that actually means.
It says that to get power and advance what the bosses want you are expected to ignore the voter who you work for, the principles you believe in and the region you represent to serve what others want, you are not a public servant, you are the servant of the bosses.
It doesn’t bode well for the people but it’s perfect for special interest, you don’t have to buy dozens or hundreds of members of congress, you just have to buy a few leaders and you’ve got whatever your client wants.
Now if you have a leader like Sam Rayburn whose primary thought was the good of the people that enormous power to make or break will usually be advanced for his interpretation of the common good.
But how often do you actually end up with such people in leadership, how much more often does such power go to those who wish wealth for themselves and the hell with the people along as they and theirs get it, remember even Tip O’Neill another man of the people was famous for these words to Democrats when he needed a vote and believed he was wrong: “I don’t need you when I’m right.”
Me I’d much rather a person who works for me, stands with me and fights for the best possible deal for me, government of the people rather than government of the interests. Look at the large Unions and you’ll see where that leads.
If that’s the type of government that the left pines for it says something about them, and it isn’t good.