Posted by: rotenochsen | September 2, 2009

IT IS ALL ABOUT POWER AND INFLUENCE

needhealthdemsHarold D. Laswell, one of the outstanding political theorists of the last century said: “The sine qua non of Chicago politics is power, getting it and keeping it. Everything else is incidental. Even corruption is a byproduct of power and is functional only if it enables you to stay in power. In Chicago politics, you don’t make waves, you don’t back losers, and you ‘don’t talk to nobody nobody sent.’ Chicago politics is always about hierarchy and centralization”.

The most famous and in some circles, notorious politician to occupy a position of power in Washington is President Obama. He came into the Oval Office on a wave of promises to run an honest and open government that would reduce the profligate spending that the incumbent Republicans were doing. He also said he would get us out of Iraq and win the war on terrorism in Afghanistan, and many more unfulfilled promises.
So now his approval rating according to the Rasmussen poll is in the vicinity of 46%.Much lower than Clinton or Bush had at this time in office!

As a result there is a lot of talk about the resurgence of the Republican party in 2010. This is because of the dissatisfaction of not only Republicans, but Independents and many Democrats. There is great discontent in our nation, and many say the next election could be a “house cleaning” of Democrats who presently control both Houses of Congress.
I say it will be very difficult if not impossible for the following reasons.

The United States Congress particularly the House of Representatives and its members appointed in proportion to state population was designed as the branch of government that answered directly to the people. The federal judiciary, appointed for life to positions of great power, are largely beyond reach of the electorate, barring misconduct or malfeasance; similarly, the executive branch the President was created to wield executive authority, to be a leader and a figurehead, less influenced by changes in popular opinion. But the Congress was supposed to be different: the House of Representatives and eventually the Senate, after 1913 ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution is elected directly by the popular vote of the people, and was designed as a check on both judicial and executive power (Mayhew, 1974).

Unfortunately, one simple electoral reality has significantly limited the U.S. Congress as a true “voice of the people”: specifically, the fact that incumbents are almost universally re-elected. The factual truth is that once an individual is elected to Congress especially to the U.S. Senate he or she will generally retain that seat as long as they wish to continue occupying the office.
Going back at least a century, the single greatest advantage in any Congressional election was being an incumbent; that is, having already been elected once previously. In the 2004 election cycle, for example, the re-election rate for sitting members of Congress was a stunning 98.8%; as one writer noted, such an undemocratic, iron-fisted hold on the power of the status quo might have “made even Soviet politicians blush”
In fact, ironically enough even though the British House of Lords one of the Houses of Parliament consists entirely of members appointed for life, it nevertheless “has more turnover than the U.S. Congress” (Gear, 2000). In short, the power of Congressional incumbency functions to undermine the American system of democracy; it is simple common sense to point out that, if the sitting legislator is almost guaranteed to be re-elected, the election is de facto invalid.

A Congressman can gerrymander his district to make it even more likely that he’ll win the election in the next cycle. In other words, “the parties get to draw the districts, which lets them choose precisely which voters will be allowed to choose candidates in November” (Gear, 2000). This “nearly universal gerrymandering of congressional districts to provide safe seats for members of both parties” is a particularly pernicious practice, because once the district is gerrymandered, it becomes politically meaningless; unless there are major shifts in demographics, the electoral outcome is virtually certain for that district.

These are the realities of the current electoral situation in American Congressional elections: because of financial issues, media saturation, and rampant gerrymandering of districts, incumbents almost always win re-election, with the elections themselves thus rendered almost meaningless. Solving the problem will not be easy, since any attempt at reform can potentially run into Constitutional protections of free speech.

It is,(OR SHOULD BE) for example, impossible to bar local media from extensively covering local politicians; for that reason, eliminating the incumbency advantage will never occur. However, reforms could be instituted, particularly in terms of campaign financing laws and fairness in media coverage, that could make some headway into returning Congressional elections to what they were designed to be the voice of the people as they chose their representative leaders.But there is little chance of this happening wuth the Democrats in power.

With the vast majority of races either non-competitive or barely competitive with so many races barely even being contested by the opposition party a significant number of the House elections simply don’t matter in terms of which side controls the legislature. “The struggle for control of the House centers on 20 to 30 competitive districts such as Lansing, Mich.; Montgomery County, Pa.; suburban Chicago; and a district around Muskogee, Oklahoma. The 200 million Americans who live outside the battleground districts are just spectators” (Weiser, 2000).

The attitude of both major parties the willingness to abandon most districts and states as non-competitive raises an immediate question: is their basic premise supported by factual data? The unfortunate answer is clearly yes. Since at least the 1970s, re-election rates for members of the House of Representatives has never fallen below 90%; the figure has been the same for the Senate since the early 1980s (Merriner & Senter, 1999, p. xxi). The more recent statistics can only be described as stunning: in the 2004 elections, 401 incumbent members of the House of Representatives ran for re-election; of those 401 that sought to return to office for another term, 396 were successful. A mere five failed to win re-election. The picture is even bleaker in the Senate: in 2004, of 26 Senators up for re-election, 25were successful!Source: Nico Macase of Helium.com

Despite the lengthy explanation of how members of Congress have the power to be re-elected. I hope and pray that despite their power and influence.And they are very powerful with unions like SEIU and ACORN able and ready to do their intimidation at the polls. Despite this with the polls showing a less than 30% favorable rating of Congress, it is possible the electorate will throw many Congressman and Senators out at the nwxt election.
This is because the majority of Americans velieve they have betrayed the trust of those who elected them! The “nanny state” is not what America needs or wants!
The projected deficit of $13 trillion and the slush fund of taxpayers money that has gone to Obamas friends, is enough reason to “throw the bums out”!

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