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    A total of 279 House and Senate Democrats voted for ObamaCare.

    09/15/2010

     

    Democracy and Power 112:  Conflicts of Interest

     The politician seeks a position of power, which requires the votes of his constituents.  However to be a power elite, a politician must be an obedient caucus member.  Only by dutifully complying with the dictates of the party, does the politician’s agenda receive reciprocal collaboration. 

     Often, the interest of the politician’s constituents and loyalty to the party are in conflict.

     Because most constituents are busy making a living, raising families and focused on their immediate community concerns, loyalty to the party most often prevails.

      A total of 279 House and Senate Democrats voted for ObamaCare. Not one is running an ad touting that vote.

     With elections approaching, Democratic members of Congress are fleeing and disavowing President Obama’s big central government agenda.  This tension depicts the political obligation to be a loyal and obedient party member contrary to the interest of a politician’s voting constituents.  Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal describes the tension:

    "… Witness the threats and bribes necessary to coax a bare majority for every vote. But enough went along. And now that the ambitious Obama experiment in liberal governance is going kaboom, his members—even those who voted with him—are running for cover.

    Health care? A total of 279 House and Senate Democrats voted for ObamaCare. Not one is running an ad touting that vote. How can they, given headlines about Medicare cuts and premium hikes? You will, however, find a growing catalogue of ads such as this one from Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil: "As a career prosecutor, I made decisions on facts, not politics," and that's why "I voted against . . . the health-care bill."

    Not to be outdone, Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright's ad explains he voted against "massive government health care." South Dakota's Stephanie Herseth Sandlin boasts she voted against the "trillion-dollar health-care plan." But the prize goes to former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, vying to get his old job back: Not only is ObamaCare "financially devastating," it is "the greatest failure, modern failure, of political leadership in my lifetime."

    Now for real politics. Speaker Pelosi secured sufficient votes and permitted Representatives Kratovil, Bright and Sandlin to vote against ObamaCare.  Now with elections nearing and the Democratic majority in peril, they have permission to criticize ObamaCare.   Kratovil, Bright and Sandlin are privileged, they get to run against the party.  The unfortunate Democrats forced to vote for ObamaCare have been coached to say, “The bill does some good.  Now, we need to fix it.”  Thus is the machination of party politics.

    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. 

    See: Democracy and Power 109:  Majority Controls

    Obama, Pelosi and Reid set an aggressive liberal agenda and demanded loyalty.  Hungering to be a power elite, most Democratic members of Congress obediently voted with their party leaders.  Most did not anticipate their constituents’ revulsions to the programs, costs and corruptions. 

    Normally, constitutes are ignorant of the process and effects of federal legislation.  They are busy making a living, raising a family and focused on their immediate community concerns.  In normal times and less radical legislation, a politician opts for loyalty to the party with little criticism from his or her constituents.

    Realistically, only a vigilant electorate can monitor and stop the nefarious power-urge associated with party politics. Fortunately, the Internet fosters many information sources and universal dispersal of information, which offsets the autocratic control of information by the political elites and their complaint mainstream media. Optimistically, the expansion of information will induce more Americans to closely scrutinize the decision made by their politicians.  Ideally, the information age will force the politically powerful to respect most Americans’ desire for a small and limited government protecting personal freedom.