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Recourse Vs. Those Who Fail Their Constituents?  
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 4 months 5 days ago) and read 1244 times:

The names of politicians who fail to represent their constituents is far too long to list. The latest is Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who proposed a liberal amendment to the Senate's draft immigration bill that went down in flames:

(Excerpt)

Quote:
WASHINGTON - The Senate rejected a California Democrat's plan to allow the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country to remain, work and eventually become Americans, preserving a fragile bipartisan coalition needed to pass the bill.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060523/...u=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

The Senator was catering to special interests, and not the majority of Americans, in proposing her amendment.

Which brings forth the question: Should there be a cause of action for political malfeasance if politicians consistently fail to represent the interests of their constituents? Why or why not? Thanks in advance for your answers.

(Regarding what Americans think about immigration: See, e.g.,

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/us/06...n/frameset.exclude.html?eref=yahoo)

[Edited 2006-05-23 21:50:51]

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1233 times:

Catering to special interest, isn't this what President Bush proposed last week? Saw this in the paper this morning from the Pew Center, "as many as half of all illegal immigrants in the United States initially entered the country legally, using short-term visas and other legal means."

User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1221 times:

Thanks for your kind reply.

I wanted to point out, as well, that despite a reputation for being a "maverick", Sen. McCain is now acting like a typical politician, gladhanding the rich for votes and attacking Limbaugh, Dobbs, and Savage on the immigration issue.

Given his opportunism, I wonder what people think of his bill before the Senate on immigration, or of the McCain-Feingold campaign reform legislation he doubtless still supports.

See:

http://www.observer.com/20060529/200...on_Horowitz_pageone_newsstory1.asp


User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 1212 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 2):

I wanted to point out, as well, that despite a reputation for being a "maverick", Sen. McCain is now acting like a typical politician,

Having lived in Arizona for the past ten years, Sen. McCain is nothing of a maverick; just another typical politician. McCain-Feingold is nothing more than trying to make up for his involvement in the Keating Five.


User currently offlineWe're Nuts From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 19
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1212 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
Should there be a cause of action for political malfeasance if politicians consistently fail to represent the interests of their constituents?

Pelosi already said we wouldn't impeach the president.



Dear moderators: No.
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 1202 times:

I'm not that surprised to read that Sen. McCain is just another politician.

Truly great statesmen are rare. I think that the last great statesman to occupy the Presidency was Ronald Reagan.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21643 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1198 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
Should there be a cause of action for political malfeasance if politicians consistently fail to represent the interests of their constituents?

They are under no obligation to represent the interests of their constituents. You vote for the person whose beliefs and agenda you feel most match yours. You could say that one votes for the person who represents them best, but this is not actual representation, only similarites between voter's beliefs and candidate's beliefs/platform.

As for recourse, there's a very simple one: find someone you think represents your views better, and vote for them in the next election.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1197 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 6):
They are under no obligation to represent the interests of their constituents.

Well, this makes very little sense. We don't elect monarchs. We elect representatives -- which explains why Members of the House of Representatives are referred to as "Representatives", and not "Their Majesties", "sovereigns", or some such autocratic thing.  

I would imagine that the "House of Representatives" is so named for a reason, as well.  Wink

[Edited 2006-05-25 13:21:33]

User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21643 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1192 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 7):
Well, this makes very little sense. We don't elect monarchs. We elect representatives -- which explains why Members of the House of Representatives are referred to as "Representatives", and not "Their Majesties", "sovereigns", or some such autocratic thing.

We can play around with semantics all we want, but were Representatives required to accurately represent their districts, would it not be simple mob rule? I'm not saying that there should be no check on their actions - there is a very important one, called the ballot box. No politician is going to go against their consituents on a regular basis, because they know that they won't be re-elected if they do. It keeps them generally in line, while also giving them the freedom to split with their constituents for the purposes of making compromises, or generally doing what's right.

Besides which, how would you determine whether a politician is representing their constituents or not? It's pretty much impossible, except for approval ratings, which are hardly a stable measure of quality of representation.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1191 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 8):
We can play around with semantics all we want, but were Representatives required to accurately represent their districts, would it not be simple mob rule?

Representatives, as you imply, wouldn't last very long if they were to defy the rule of the people. This, however, is certainly not an argument against their need to represent the people; quite to the contrary. There is a difference between "mob rule" and rule by the people through their representatives. Our system acknowledges and mediates this fact; but it would be erroneous to claim that representatives can decide to overrule the clear will of the people, unless it is also your position that being voted out of office is a desirable outcome.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21643 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1189 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 9):
it would be erroneous to claim that representatives can decide to overrule the clear will of the people, unless it is also your position that being voted out of office is a desirable outcome.

They absolutely can decide to overrule the clear will of the people, and they do so at their own risk. Nothing wrong with that. My point is that it is useless to try and set up an additional system to force representatives to obey their constituents when a very good system is already in place.

An example: let's say that the city council wants to build a brige over a rail yard to allow a busy street to cross it instead of diverting traffic around both sides. The residents feel that a two-lane bridge is sufficient, and don't want to put out the extra tax money for a four-lane bridge. The city council, however, has some experience with city planning, and knows that if they build a two-lane bridge now, it will be perfectly adequate for the level of traffic at that point in time, but that it will be quickly outgrown later on as the city grows, which will lead to undesirable traffic jams. With that in mind, they unanimously approve the four-lane bridge, against the opinions of their constituents. Was that the wrong decision? I would say no, since there was sound logic behind it, logic that the constituents may not have been privy to. Sometimes unpopular decisions have to be made (in fact, unpopular decisions are made on a regular basis). Doesn't mean that they are bad ones. And I'd rather have unpopular decisions made intelligently than popular ones made because a lot of people can get together and complain really loudly about things they may not have the full picture of.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
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