Senate Democrats Claim to be Independent of Obama

Democracy and Power 109: The Legislature – Majority Controls

A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office, he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker. —H.L. Mencken

As a member of a legislative body, it is nearly impossible for an individual politician to advance their legislation alone. A successful politician must be in the majority or needed by the majority.

Senate Democrats Claim to be Independent of Obama

Almost all politicians – Democrats and Republicans – claim to be independent thinkers. They are not. To be a powerful legislator, they must be part of a political machine and follow the desires and dictates of their party’s leaders.

This year, Democrat senators in close elections claim to be independent of their leader, President Obama. In the National Review, Deroy Murdock has assembled the Democrats professing their independence.

  • North Carolina’s Kay Hagan said, “I look at myself — common sense, middle of the road, independent thinker.”
  • “I don’t care to have him campaign for me,” Senator Mark Begich told Politico about Obama. Begich’s campaign website calls him “As Independent as Alaska.”
  • “The administration’s policies are simply wrong when it comes to oil and gas production,” Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu declared in a campaign TV commercial.
  • Virginia’s Mark Warner, a self-described “radical centrist,” told voters in August: “There’s a lot of places I disagree with the president.” And yet, somehow, Warner managed to back Obama 97 percent of the time.
  • “I support what’s good for New Hampshire, and when the president agrees with that, that’s great,” Jeanne Shaheen told WMUR-TV. “When the president doesn’t, then I disagree with the president.”
  • “The White House, when they look down the front lawn, the last person they want to see coming is me,” Colorado’s Mark Udall said last month.

All of these Senators voted with the President’s agenda 95% of the time or greater, according to the reputable Congressional Quarterly/Roll Call calculations.

These distortions are not new. They have been used by Republicans and Democrats for many years. As Walter Lippmann wrote, before all of these Senators were elected:

Successful … politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies.

A Critical Lesson for Every Constituent: A vote for a Senator and Member of Congress is a vote for the leaders of the party and their legislative agenda.