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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Do we want Principles or Pandering?

Last week, Representative Eric Massa (D-NY) was caught on tape saying, “I will vote against their opinion if I actually believe it will help them,” and many conservatives and Republicans freaked out. I am not sure what the big deal is, isn’t that what we want from elected officials in a Republic? We shouldn’t be focusing on the fact that he will ignore his constituents if he thinks he is doing what is right, we should be focusing on the idiotic ideas he thinks are right.

Rep. Massa was referring to the Obamacare bill that is being debated across the country. Massa supports this bill and will support it regardless of public opinion. If you ignore the specific bill for a minute, isn’t this the sentiment we want from our officials? People always complain about politicians like Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and John McCain whose beliefs change depending on focus groups and polling data. These spineless weasels are not concerned with principles, only with popularity and remaining in power. We want our politicians to have strong convictions and do what they think is right. When President George W. Bush fought an unpopular war in Iraq, supporters of the war and of the President admired his courage to go against the popular opinion and do what he thought was right. The same can be said for many of President Reagan’s policies. At first his proposals to cut taxes and deregulate industries were incredibly unpopular. He believed very strongly in the power of free markets and ignored the will of his constituents to do what he believed was best for the country.

Do the people who are now criticizing Massa believe that Bush should have abandoned the War as soon as the approval dropped below 50%? Do they believe Reagan should have abandoned his policies when they became unpopular? Do these people also support alleged conservatives in farming districts that abandon their free market beliefs to support farm subsidies because it is the will of their constituents? Should we have a tyranny of the majority where representatives support whatever 51% of their constituents want?

We elect people to vote their convictions. If you don’t like what they believe, don’t elect them. Rep. Massa should not be criticized for saying what he said or for voting against his constituents. He should be criticized for believing that Obamacare is a good idea. He should not vote against Obamacare because it is unpopular, he should vote against it because is a terrible idea. He needs to critically look at the bill: its effects, Constitutionality, impact on the economy and liberty, etc., and decide if it is a good idea or not. He should listen to the arguments for and against it, but he should NOT consult polls and focus groups to decide if he should support it or not.

By embracing this inconsistent and ridiculous argument conservatives not only discredit their alleged belief in Representative Democracy, but they become distracted by this red herring. We should be discussing Massa’s poor judgment, economic illiteracy, and dangerous progressive philosophy that leads him to trust Obamacare. We should also be looking at his motives for supporting the bill. Does he actually believe it will be helpful or is he doing it to help powerful special interests or to expand his own power in Congress? If he genuinely believes this bill will be helpful, he should absolutely go against the will of his constituents to vote for it. His constituents should then vote him out of office for being a statist with terrible judgment, not because he didn’t cave to public opinion. The last thing we want in this country is a government that rules based on the daily whims of the people and public opinion polls.

This article was also published at The D.C. Writeup

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