Whew…. Back at home once again. After a month and a half or so filled with travel and family and all kinds of stuff, my life begins its return towards normal (or at least my own abnormal version of normal). I spent the weekend back in my hometown. I had taken my computer, hopeful of some quiet time with my blog. No such luck, the one hotel in town had no internet access. Which was actually kind of nice. So I spent some time at Gettysburg battlefield (I grew up about 25 miles from there) educating my son and wife on the historic battle. Visited a couple of old friends. Marveled at the town’s growth. And didn’t know a single political thing that happened for the entire three days. Tomorrow begins the adoption process for our new family dog from the local shelter. But other than that, things begin getting back to some semblance of normalcy. I had been thinking about this article prior to leaving, so I return to it now. It seems Howard Dean felt it necessary to remind our representatives that they don’t answer to their contituents….
They instead answer to the party first. Shocker, I know. But to make it so blatant, and it got no play from anywhere other than the one and only, liberal site “The Huffington Post” !
We can be honest with each other here. I know this because we have all built that kind of relationship. We all know that this is how things work. Our representatives don’t care what we think. They are not interested in representing us. They represent their parties. This is, again, not a partisan statement. It is true on both sides of the aisle. The parties control the legislation, not the representatives. We have seen it play out again and again. I will mention again that this is the behavior on BOTH sides of the aisle. However I am going to stick to more recent events in order to make my point, and this will mean the examples come from the Democratic party. I welcome everyone to offer other examples, especially those on the right, as I know that they do it to, I just don’t have their examples at the front of my memory.
You may recall, early on in the Presidency, that Obama told Republican lawmakers, “I Won”, essentially saying that the President was not interested in hearing ideas or objections from the Republicans. And that is a clear sign of how partisan politics play in Washington. It is a clear sign of how troubling our representation is that we are so concerned about the number of D’s and R’s in Congress. Because we know that no matter the letter behind their name, they will not go against their party, even in the interest of the constituents they are supposed to represent. I have pointed out several times that new Democratic Senator Kay Hagan from my home state of North Carolina voted FOR the giant increase in tobacco taxes, effectively voting against the interest of the state she represents. That is what I mean when I say the party controls the representatives.
We witnessed this first hand during the debate (what little there was) over the “economic stimulus”. The so called “Blue Dog” democrats (conservative leaning Dems) did not agree with the stimulus bill. And they were saying so. They made it clear they were not going to vote for the stimulus bill. That is until Nancy Pelosi took them into a closed door meeting and had some words with them. They came out of that meeting with 42 of the 48 voting “yes”. We all knew what was said, even though we weren’t able to hear it: Threats of ending political careers. That is how the parties work. You don’t work for the people who elected you. You work for the party, and you will vote for what the party tells you to vote for.
And now the old Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, has finally come right out and made it blatantly clear. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Dean fired the clearest warning he could fire. With many Democrats feeling hesitant to vote for the health care reform being proposed, Dean made sure they understood that it wasn’t the people they represent they needed to worry about, it was the party.
Dean stated that if the party was unable to produce a health care bill with a public option, there would be electoral consequences. He stated specifically, “I do think there will be primaries as the result of all this, if the bill doesn’t pass with a public option”. How’s that for a blatant statement? All of you that don’t work to make sure the public option health care bill is passed will face primary challenges. Let’s not forget that primaries are party internal battles. What Dean is clearly saying is that the DNC will ensure that their support goes for someone else in the primary should a sitting member of Congress not comply with party demands.
The rest of the article was interesting, but nothing more than rhetoric from Dean, as he claimed he believes all of this will pass despite all the fake public outrage. And he slammed the co-op option as one that everyone knows won’t work (For once I agree with him… ANY OPTION involving the government won’t work). But the main focus of the article was his threat to Democrats who are not in line with what the party says they better be in line with. You can read it HERE if you like, but it is pretty short.
Let me be clear here that I am not surprised to hear that a leader of one of the parties has threatened its members in such a way. I fully know that both the Republicans and Democrats have been doing this for years. Our representatives stopped working for us a long time ago. What is surprising to me is that he was willing to come out and say this publicly. That he was willing to come out and essentially say, for all of America to hear, “Listen up America, your representatives don’t work for you. They work for me. I don’t care if every person in their district doesn’t want this bill. They will vote for it because I said so. And if they don’t, I promise you, the DNC will destroy them and replace them with a more obedient member in the next election.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been screaming this from the mountaintop for a long time. It is about time that people start to wake up. Many people have given up on the Republican party. And rightly so. They stopped doing what the people who elected them expected them to do. But somehow the DNC has gotten so cocky that they believe that cannot happen to them. So cocky that they are willing to say it out loud.
What does it say about American apathy in holding their elected officials accountable that the politicians don’t even feel that they need to lie to us anymore? That a leader in the DNC doesn’t even feel like they have to pretend to care what the people think? When they were lying, only a small percentage of us were able to see through all their bullshit, but this change opens them up to a much larger percentage seeing that the parties don’t care about people. If the majority of Americans oppose a plan (and the majority of Americans do oppose the current health care reform plan), yet the party continues to pursue that plan and threaten lawmakers who oppose it, it has become obvious that the party in power doesn’t really give a shit what the people think. It is a blatant statement that the party no longer cares what your constituents want, you will vote the way we tell you to vote or be replaced with someone who will.
And all of this comes right back to what many of us talk about on this site. The fact that under the current system, we have no way of holding the power to be represented at all. We are given two flavors of sewage water, as BF would say, and told that we must believe in one of the two. And if we don’t, tough, because if a representative starts wanting that third flavor that his constituents crave, the party will replace him or her with a flavor of the party’s choosing, and we are left again with only those two flavors, which both, frankly, taste like shit.
So if we are going to talk about a new way to make things run, we have a major problem on our hands.BF says that this problem cannot be solved. If there is to be an elected “government” (or whatever we want to call it), what possible way is there to ensure that the people we elect or choose to represent us….. actually will?