Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t these people, our elected representatives SUPPOSED to do what their constituency wants them to do? If the majority of the callers are telling a rep. that they are against a bill, any bill then guess what? The representative should vote NO. Since when does it work the other way around?
This problem has been brewing alot longer than in the past few weeks, and now all of the sudden a piece of legislation needs to get rammed through without listening to voters? Tell me what I am missing here! Obviously, the legislation was flawed and the lawmakers need to rewrite until they get it right. The legislators who LISTENED TO THEIR CONSTITUENCY are supposed to do that…right?
I don’t think it’s as cut & dried as all that. It’s that whole Profiles In Courage thing…IMHO, in theory, our representatives are supposed to do what’s best for the nation as a whole, in the long run – not what their constituents want today. If it costs them at the next election, that’s the price they pay for doing what’s right.
Yes and no. They’re supposed to represent their constituents. One of the reasons we have representative democracies in the first place is that the common Joe doesn’t have the requisite information to make informed decisions about most government policies. The Representative has the job of learning enough to make judgements on issues I just don’t have time for. As such, there will be times when my Representative should vote for what I would want if I had the information, rather than what I do want in the absence of it. Sometimes, he should vote that way even if I will turn around and fail to re-elect him, because it’s just that important. Arguably, this is one of those times.
I don’t believe he was asking about the bailout. What is most germane in his op is this >>>>“aren’t these people, our elected representatives SUPPOSED to do what their constituency wants them to do?” I hope that answers your question.
A Representative is a part of the electorate, therefore he represents his conscience as well as the conscience of a body he is part of. If he does not believe in Capital punishment, he can choose to vote his conscience even if the majority of the body he represents supports Capital punishment.
If the rest of the body decides that he is not doing a good enough job representing them, they can always choose to remove him or wait till his term is up and elect somebody else.
I vote for a Representative who will use his/her best judgement on the issues, not for one who will call me up and ask me on every vote what his/her position should be. If a Congressmen is only supposed to follow the whim of the majority of his district at the moment on any issue, why not just have phone-in electric voting by the district?
If the district doesn’t like the way their Representative votes, well, vote him/her out the next time around.
Yes and no. While I might have input with my Doctor I wouldn’t dictate surgical procedures during an operation. Politicians are hired to do a job. There is an expectation that they will follow their stated platform but they are also suppose to do what is best for their constituents.
The problem with elected officials is that there are no job requirements associated with the job. Anyone can get elected and sometimes the end result is somone like Sheila Jackson Lee who thinks we landed a man on Mars.
When the representative has significant information the callers do not, such as the actual text of the bill.
I haven’t read the bill. I don’t want to read the bill; it will be long and tedious and the parts I do understand will just infuriate me.
Reading bills and saving the economy is not my job; I hired someone else to do that, and pay them well. I expect a bit of initiative and self direction.
I want my representative to read the bill, have a staff work up a report on the possible consequences, evaluate how those consequences will effect the nation as a whole and me personally, and decide how to vote.
[I then expect my representative to go to a committee chair-person or two, express ambivalence, and see just what the vote s/he has already decided on can buy me.]
One of my favorite film/theater moments occurs in the musical 1776, regarding the character development of Dr. Lyman Hall, the representative from Georgia.
Throughout the show, Hall is depicted as a new representative uncertain of whether to vote Yea or Nay on independence; as he puts it when the vote is called and the question is first put to him:
Later, when the Declaration of Independence has been written and the entirity of the South has walked out in outrage over the inclusion of a line decrying slavery, Hall goes with them. John Adams refuses to budge on the issue and as a result he’s left with an empty Congress and the likelihood that his cause is in tatters.
As Adams contemplates the destruction of all he fought for, Hall returns to the Congress and tells Adams that he’s changed his mind:
I believe Hall, and more to the point Burke, are right. The majority isn’t always correct, as we know, and we elect these people to use their judgment. If they don’t use that judgment in our best interests, the onus is on us to vote 'em out when the time comes.
What they get berated daily for is succumbing to pressure–both from the White House and from their constituents–to make a decision that was not in the best interest of this country. If you think the Founding Fathers wanted the representatives to slavishly follow their constituents’ wishes, go pick up a copy of the Federalist Papers some day.
You seem to be doing your best to turn this into a partisan thread.
No, they get breated for Iraq because a vast amjority of the Congress did neither. They got railroaded by an Executive Branch that was using the fear and deception to ram through an agenda that did not serve America at all and they allowed themselves to be buffaloed.