Selective Democracy

The word "democracy" has its roots in ancient Greek. "Demo-" comes from the Greek word meaning "people," and "-cracy" comes from the Greek word for "ruling." It appears that certain politicians, appointed activist judges, and recalcitrant bureaucrats -- in short, the "ruling class" -- are in enthusiastic favor of the "-cracy" part of the word but seem to have a lot of trouble admitting that the "demo-" is where the real power and authority to govern actually resides. So they view elections and the democratic process selectively.

Now that the midterm elections are over, at least that segment of the elections that involves ordinary citizens, we can see what might be called selective democracy in action. 

Selective democracy is the result of an overabundance of a feeling of entitlement, frequently among the losing candidates. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and Charlie Crist of Florida are this election cycle's poster children for political petulance. 

Senator Murkowski just couldn't accept that she'd lost the Republican primary and would lose the Senate seat that her daddy had given her. Her write-in campaign might actually succeed, so she's only a half-loser, tanking in the primary. 

Charlie Crist didn't even wait for the voters in the Republican primary to confirm their preference for Marco Rubio. Instead, he launched a preemptive run for the Senate as an "independent." 

Mike Castle of Delaware appears to be another example of someone who views democracy as the ultimate form of governance until he loses the ultimate expression of democracy, an election. In the case of Mr. Castle, of course, it was a primary election, but the reaction was typical. His childlike behavior amounted to pouting and refusing to endorse, or campaign for, Christine O'Donnell. 

The simple fact that there might, just might, be something wrong with themselves -- their platform, their record, their attitude, or their connection with the voters -- seems to completely escape these pols' notice. It certainly shows a sort of generalized "It couldn't possibly be me!" mode of thinking.

And such thinking is not limited to this cycle's senatorial candidates. Certainly, many people recall the insightful reaction of Senator John Kerry while he was running for president in 2004 against George W. Bush, which consisted of merely nine words: "I can't believe that I'm losing to this idiot." To borrow a word favored by Charles Krauthammer, at least it was pithy.

Our president, who was a huge loser in this election, is unfortunately anything but pithy, and he can talk endlessly while communicating somewhat less. Witness his painful press conference on the day following a disastrous performance by the Democrats and their loss of their majority in the House. Apparently Mr. Obama believes that the voters are uneducated and that their lack of education was his fault. He didn't give enough speeches or explain his agenda well enough. He evidenced a complete disregard for (or more charitably, a total inability to understand) the agenda the electorate demanded. They wanted the president and the Democrat-controlled Congress to help create jobs. Lots of jobs.   

And when the economy, regardless of a trillion dollars or two tossed into it by way of TARP and the non-stimulating stimulus bill for all those (not-quite-)shovel-ready jobs, failed to make even a slight dent in the national unemployment figures, the shock and surprise evident among the Democrats and Progressives should be extremely amusing. And it would be, but the humor is outweighed by the pathetic fact that these same people who are in Stage IV of CDD (Clue Deficit Disorder) are still running the government.

Many would say that the Liberals/Progressives/Democrats won't be running the government after January, but the House of Representatives is not the sole arbiter of government policy or regulation. The Senate and the White House are in L/P/D hands, as are many judicial appointees and career civil servants. 

These people, many of whom have never been subjected to any form of public scrutiny or approval process or even congressional hearings that might expose their underlying political biases, will carry on in January as if the election had never occurred. They will ignore the apparent will of ordinary citizens and continue to operate the levers of power in Washington and many of our state houses with a "business-as-usual" attitude. The fact that We the People have sent a clear message -- that past practices have been an utter failure, and that something new has to be tried -- will result in exactly no alterations in their behaviors and policies.

So it is apparent that they too believe in selective democracy. When the people agree with them (or at least vote for their party), it validates them. When the people don't, well, that only shows that they are uneducated and uneducable, so they will be ignored. So the voters will have to keep hammering home the message until the self-described "ruling class" understand the lesson. The recent midterm election is only the opening chapter.

Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, a Vietnam veteran, and a libertarian (small "l").  Jim blogs at jimyardley.wordpress.com, or he can be contacted directly at james.v.yardley@gmail.com.
The word "democracy" has its roots in ancient Greek. "Demo-" comes from the Greek word meaning "people," and "-cracy" comes from the Greek word for "ruling." It appears that certain politicians, appointed activist judges, and recalcitrant bureaucrats -- in short, the "ruling class" -- are in enthusiastic favor of the "-cracy" part of the word but seem to have a lot of trouble admitting that the "demo-" is where the real power and authority to govern actually resides. So they view elections and the democratic process selectively.

Now that the midterm elections are over, at least that segment of the elections that involves ordinary citizens, we can see what might be called selective democracy in action. 

Selective democracy is the result of an overabundance of a feeling of entitlement, frequently among the losing candidates. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and Charlie Crist of Florida are this election cycle's poster children for political petulance. 

Senator Murkowski just couldn't accept that she'd lost the Republican primary and would lose the Senate seat that her daddy had given her. Her write-in campaign might actually succeed, so she's only a half-loser, tanking in the primary. 

Charlie Crist didn't even wait for the voters in the Republican primary to confirm their preference for Marco Rubio. Instead, he launched a preemptive run for the Senate as an "independent." 

Mike Castle of Delaware appears to be another example of someone who views democracy as the ultimate form of governance until he loses the ultimate expression of democracy, an election. In the case of Mr. Castle, of course, it was a primary election, but the reaction was typical. His childlike behavior amounted to pouting and refusing to endorse, or campaign for, Christine O'Donnell. 

The simple fact that there might, just might, be something wrong with themselves -- their platform, their record, their attitude, or their connection with the voters -- seems to completely escape these pols' notice. It certainly shows a sort of generalized "It couldn't possibly be me!" mode of thinking.

And such thinking is not limited to this cycle's senatorial candidates. Certainly, many people recall the insightful reaction of Senator John Kerry while he was running for president in 2004 against George W. Bush, which consisted of merely nine words: "I can't believe that I'm losing to this idiot." To borrow a word favored by Charles Krauthammer, at least it was pithy.

Our president, who was a huge loser in this election, is unfortunately anything but pithy, and he can talk endlessly while communicating somewhat less. Witness his painful press conference on the day following a disastrous performance by the Democrats and their loss of their majority in the House. Apparently Mr. Obama believes that the voters are uneducated and that their lack of education was his fault. He didn't give enough speeches or explain his agenda well enough. He evidenced a complete disregard for (or more charitably, a total inability to understand) the agenda the electorate demanded. They wanted the president and the Democrat-controlled Congress to help create jobs. Lots of jobs.   

And when the economy, regardless of a trillion dollars or two tossed into it by way of TARP and the non-stimulating stimulus bill for all those (not-quite-)shovel-ready jobs, failed to make even a slight dent in the national unemployment figures, the shock and surprise evident among the Democrats and Progressives should be extremely amusing. And it would be, but the humor is outweighed by the pathetic fact that these same people who are in Stage IV of CDD (Clue Deficit Disorder) are still running the government.

Many would say that the Liberals/Progressives/Democrats won't be running the government after January, but the House of Representatives is not the sole arbiter of government policy or regulation. The Senate and the White House are in L/P/D hands, as are many judicial appointees and career civil servants. 

These people, many of whom have never been subjected to any form of public scrutiny or approval process or even congressional hearings that might expose their underlying political biases, will carry on in January as if the election had never occurred. They will ignore the apparent will of ordinary citizens and continue to operate the levers of power in Washington and many of our state houses with a "business-as-usual" attitude. The fact that We the People have sent a clear message -- that past practices have been an utter failure, and that something new has to be tried -- will result in exactly no alterations in their behaviors and policies.

So it is apparent that they too believe in selective democracy. When the people agree with them (or at least vote for their party), it validates them. When the people don't, well, that only shows that they are uneducated and uneducable, so they will be ignored. So the voters will have to keep hammering home the message until the self-described "ruling class" understand the lesson. The recent midterm election is only the opening chapter.

Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, a Vietnam veteran, and a libertarian (small "l").  Jim blogs at jimyardley.wordpress.com, or he can be contacted directly at james.v.yardley@gmail.com.

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