Where should the Red Line be?
I am pondering my feelings about a particular issue...
We elect our political representatives to represent us by popular vote. (excluding the President of course), so, is it a bad thing when the representation we demand, or told them we wanted when we elected them, is, or appears to be, contrary to national popular opinion?
1) a Tea Party House candidate is elected by a specific constituency that makes it very clear by both proclamations and votes, the type of representation they are expecting when he/she gets to Washington.
Is this Representative wrong if he he/she holds true to their electors - even if contrary to majority of other Representatives?
2) a Senator is elected from a very conservative and very Red state, (or liberal and very Blue). And the wants and desires of the state's electorate are very clear.
Is the Senator wrong if he/she remains true to the clear mandates from his/her state's voters?
And since I don't live in a black and white world, I must consider, is there a point, a Red Line, at which state or citizen desires must take a back seat to national desires? If so, who decides when and where that point occurs?
When should an elected representative choose national interest over constituent interests?
Of course National Security, or peril are obvious decision points. But what about the less obvious ones, like any of the "Hot Button" issues the news blares about every day; Obamacare, Unemployment Insurance, abortion, troops on the ground in some foreign country, etc. etc.?
Is bringing home the pork really so wrong? Isn't that what we elect our representatives to do - look out for our interests?
Is this an unanswerable question? Is it like the definition of porn - as a society we can not agree on a clear definition - but individually we know it when we see it?
Hmm... I was surprised that when I tried to answer this question for myself, the best I could come up with was yes, it is like that porn quandary.
What say you?
Unfortunately we DO elect representatives to look after our best interests (or at least what we consider to be our best interests, meaning immediate, local income).
And it is incumbent on an honest representative to ignore those wishes in favor of the best interests of the nation. Which they very seldom do, choosing instead to "bring home the bacon" to the detriment of the nation and of our neighbors in this nation.
So we elect them again, because we're stupid enough to think it is good for us.
Let us toss corruption and malfeasance aside, or we will never make any progress here. There are just too many of those instances to list.
So, let's agree that instances like "the bridge to nowhere" is not the type of "bacon I am talking about. What if "the bacon" were things like bringing a museum to a community at Federal expense? Or a "nice to have," but really not necessary Post Office? Again at Federal expense.
Here's a good one - what about forestalling the closure of a military base in a district that would save thousands of local jobs, and hundreds of millions in yearly income to surrounding communities? Even if the base wasn't really needed anymore? Where does the line between benefit to the district and detriment of the nation get drawn in a case like that? Save the Feds hundreds of millions annually by closely an unneeded base, or saving a district from a similar loss in jobs and income... I bet the affected Representative/Senator would find that an easy choice to make. Things are getting grayer aren't they?
You see why I am trying to frame this issue? If corruption and bad actors are eliminated from the question, it is a mucher harder one to honestly answer.
I believe most of our newly elected representative take the job with a true desire to do the job well. After the first year or so in office they are taught the Washington-way and just become one of the bunch. They put forth no more effort than is required to keep their job.
I think you are right. Mostly. To your last sentence I would say only the ones that should not be there in the first place do what you suggested. I think the good ones, either keep plugging away - playing the game as minimally as they can and still be effective, or the just pack up and leave.
The problem is - we hardly hear about the good ones that left, or the non-power players that plug away, still trying to do a good job. Both because they are probably a small minority, and because there are just too damn many of the greedy and corrupt ones grabbing everyone's attention.
We elect representatives to look after our interests. Unfortunately, many of them take that as a cue to look after their own interests.
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