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Democracy and Power 109: Majority Controls
A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get any where near high office has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker. H.L. Menchen
A politician must cooperate and compromise with his caucus members. In America, this is accomplished by being a loyal and obedient member of the Democratic or Republican parties.
A year ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded and forced many Democratic Members of Congress to vote for expansive and expensive energy legislation. Often, these votes were against the direct interests of a Member’s constituents. Now facing elections, many are in great danger of losing their job and their position of power.
Ben Smith in Politico reports on a meeting between President Obama, Harry Reid, Pelosi and others: A frustrated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) isn't happy that so many coal-state Democrats were forced to take tough votes in favor of a sweeping energy bill last year -- only to have a "glacial" Senate quash the bill this month.
Senate Majority Leader Reid tried to force a vote on the House legislation, and did not have the power to obtain enough votes to proceed. Why didn’t Reid succeed? First, Americans are appalled by the bribes and threats used to obtain the votes necessary for ObamaCare. Second, a few Senators refused to vote against the interests of their constituents.
Hence, a year ago with Democrats controlling the Presidency, the Senate and the House, Pelosi forced her Members to vote. Today, America is alarmed at the expansion of government and debt, and the Senate declined to back Pelosi and the Democratic Members of the House.
Pelosi miscalculated the power of the President and Reid, and did not anticipate the public’s attention to the legislation. Consequently, many Democratic Members of Congress are endangered. As is Pelosi’s power as Speaker of the House.
The Democracy and Power Lesson: As a member of a legislative body, it is nearly impossible for an individual politician to advance their legislation by themselves. The successful politician must be in the majority, or needed by the majority.
Thus, the politician must cooperate and compromise with his fellow members. In America, this is logically accomplished by being a loyal and obedient member of the Democratic or Republican parties.
Pelosi is not frustrated with the glacial slowness of the Senate. She is outraged at her miscalculation of the combined power of the Senate and the President. She demanded and received loyalty and obedience. The President and the Senate failed to extract the necessary votes. Now, her loyal and obedient Members of Congress must convince and win the votes of their constituents.