DEAL OR NO DEAL
It's been interesting to see this principle in action again through the current financial crisis, as our representatives in Washington figure out whether they're for or against the $700 billion "bail-out" plan.
As the Wall Street Journal observes in a post-mortem of yesterday's events,
"Ultimately, they came up with 140 votes from the Democratic side of the aisle, with 95 opposed. Democratic aides acknowledged that, in many cases, members who voted against the legislation were swayed by voter outcry that the plan would help wealthy people at the expense of regular taxpayers..."
"...Republicans heard concerns from community bankers about the commitment made by Treasury to protect investors in money-market funds against losses. The concern was that the action put local banks, which have limits on deposit protections, at a competitive disadvantage."
Politicians are human too, ultimately looking out for their own interests:
"Many Republicans in tough re-election fights opposed the bill. Of the 11 Republican lawmakers judged by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report to be in "tossup" races, nine voted against the plan."
It's truly amazing how even with all our technology, our political system still responds fastest to the most vocal minorities that manage to "flood" their Congressional representatives with phone calls and mail with their opinion.
It's not always clear that they represent the majority of the constituents of any elected official, but they certainly get treated as they do, every time.
This New York Times op-ed today put the whole thing particularly well:
"House Republicans led the way and will get most of the blame.
It has been interesting to watch them on their single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party. Not long ago, they led an anti-immigration crusade that drove away Hispanic support. Then, too, they listened to the loudest and angriest voices in their party, oblivious to the complicated anxieties that lurk in most American minds.
Now they have once again confused talk radio with reality."
After the dust settles on this whole thing, and the actions of all our politicians is examined in the cold light of day, we're likely to find that there'll be plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the aisle.
It's been disappointing to say the least, that at a time when we need them most, none of our politicians have been truly been able to put aside partisan bickering, and act as representatives of the "silent majority", regardless of political party.