Constituents supporting bad ideas for good reasons isn’t a good idea either

29 May 2013 12:13 pm
Posted by: Donna

Craig at Random Musings’ latest post “Dear US House freshmen: Doing bad works for good reasons is still doing bad works” takes freshman Dems, including Craig’s and my Representative Sinema, to task for a bill that would “exempt broad swaths of trades from new regulation” (per NYT).

There were a number of Democrats in this year’s freshman class in the US House of Representatives, including Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona’s 9th Congressional District.

Those freshman members who were deemed to be most vulnerable in 2014, including Sinema, were given seats on the House Financial Services Committee to give them access to the deep-pocketed lobbyists for the financial services industry.

As such, most of them are doing very well with their campaign fundraising efforts.

Well, DC is a “quid pro quo” kind of place, and it’s time for the freshmen to give a little “quo” for all of the “quid” that they’ve been getting.

I recently befriended a guy on social media from Atlanta who says something all the time that I find to be quite clarifying and good guidance. It boils down to this: If you’re an attentive person and are not a politician, staffer, adviser, or insider of any kind then what you are is a constituent. As such, it is not your job to compromise your views or values to accommodate any politician’s ambition, even one you support. It is your job to tell politicians your views. To do anything else is to do a disservice to yourself and your community. Remaining silent or (even worse) embracing bad ideas because you think it helps the President or your representative is misguided, to say the least. You’re not even benefiting from large corporate donations from doing so! You and your neighbors are the ones getting screwed, in fact.

Yet I’ve been told for years that complaining about President Obama or Dems in swing Congressional districts who push bad policies, or for that matter agitating for progressive policies in general, hurts the chances of Democrats to be elected or reelected. But why? Consider the two possibilities:

1. That Democratic politicians supporting conservative ideas, such as cutting the retirement safety net or giving sweet deals to Wall Street, do so because they want to and think they are good ideas.

2. That Democratic politicians don’t think they are good ideas, but support them in order to attract campaign contributions and/or moderate votes.

What’s a progressive Democratic constituent who objects to those ideas to do, then? Simple. In either case, resist. If it’s the first, then those Democratic politicians definitely need to hear from us! If the second, well, big donors don’t care what we lowly constituents think and I should think that liberal ire over conservative positions taken by Democratic reps in swing districts would help them appeal to moderate voters who, after all, are moderate because they don’t want to think of themselves as liberal, right?

1 Comment(s)

  1. Comment by Mike Slater on May 30, 2013 4:31 pm

    Moderate, liberal, what’s the difference?

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