Whom Do Politicians Serve?
There lately has been much finger-pointing at what each side calls sees as the radicals in the opposing party. The left demonizes Ted Cruz, and the right criticizes Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters.
Cruz, for example, recently took a principled stand against ObamaCare and still does. The left and some Republicans called him everything from a kook to a traitor.
Then Mr. Cruz returned to his district...and his constituents gave him an eight-minute standing ovation.
It was those people who elected Mr. Cruz to represent them, and that he did. He represented their interests and their beliefs, despite pressure from some within his own party. Last week, he made an appearance in Iowa and was greeted by adoring crowds. Hopefully, Iowans' representatives will take note.
Like him and his positions or not, what Mr. Cruz did was exactly what our elected officials are supposed to do under our representative form of government. A representative is not supposed to toe the party line and fall behind positions his constituents do not support. Democrats are proud that elected Democrats have been herded into solidarity behind the party line. Actually, they should be ashamed of such behavior, unless every single Democrat in Congress is voting the true positions of his or her constituents on specific issues -- which, given the growing unpopularity of ObamaCare, is unlikely. If all elected officials voted the wishes of their constituents, we would probably have a very different political landscape right now, and with much less gridlock.
When ObamaCare was passed by a parliamentary trick, most of the nation opposed the law. Not all Democrats in Congress voted the wishes of their constituents when the law was passed, and especially not currently. What we ended up with is a totally partisan law that nobody read before voting for it; chances are that most have still not read its 2,000-plus pages. Its unfathomable complexity is only amplified by the regulations that pour out daily. A recent article stated that the regulations are more than 30 times as long as the bill itself -- i.e., over 60,000 pages and growing. No one can seriously argue that such a morass is decipherable. Even Democrats, the only ones who voted for it, are finding unintended language in the bill that is causing substantial and possibly fatal legal challenges.
By packaging massive changes into a comprehensive bill like ObamaCare, our elected officials are deprived of the opportunity to honestly debate and vote their constituents' wishes. There are invariably components of any sweeping bill of the type favored by this administration that are acceptable to some and objectionable to others in large numbers of a given constituency group, yet each group's representative is deprived of voting on those individual components. The will of the American people would be much better represented by addressing bills more limited in scope.
Accordingly, the rules of the House and Senate should be changed, or an amendment passed to force the change, to prohibit any amendments on a bill that is not directly related to the bill's core purpose. In other words, do not allow an amendment enlarging welfare to be attached to a defense spending bill. The same change would also prohibit pork-spending attachments to unrelated bills. A prime example of this is the recent amendments to the Senate's immigration bill, meant to entice certain senators to vote for it. There were such things as casino kickbacks, a seafood processing deal, and a lobster bait deal -- none of which has anything to do with immigration, other than to get votes on board.
If something is a good idea for America, it should stand on its own, be studied and debated on its own, and then be passed on its own. Otherwise, it has no place in our laws.
Given today's technology, hopefully our elected officials will find ways to keep an accurate and current pulse on the wishes of their constituencies and vote accordingly. We would be a better and happier nation for it.