Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Call it resolve.

Matt Stoller finds Digby saying:
It has never been more clear that the people are irrelevant in our system of government than it is at this moment. Fully 70% of the public disapproves of president Bush's job performance. Even more disapprove of his Iraq policy and a large majority believe it was a mistake to invade and occupy Iraq in the first place. 88% do not want this war war to be escalated. His party just lost a large number of seats in both houses of congress over this issue.

And yet this 30% president with 12% support in the country is going to exactly the opposite of what the country wants him to do and he will get away with it. Democracy? Not so much.

Stoller adds:
It's very upsetting to have political elites so out of step with a public that just voted for change. The public says no. The Congress says no. And yet Bush is going to escalate the war, and possibly strike Iran as well.
Call it stubbornness, resolve, or a lack of imagination, this is George Bush. It's not a flaw in our system of democracy, in the sense that people voted for Bush and this is who he is. He takes great pride in sticking to his guns when people disapprove. The political elites keep hoping that he will care what they think, and they keep fooling themselves. They're as shut out of the decision-making as the public is.

Sometimes we get the government we deserve. I didn't vote for him.

It's not true that the people are "irrelevant" in our democracy, but it is true that our system was designed to protect our leaders from the people, as well as visa versa.

The Framers "feared not only the people's rulers but the people themselves, the people in their numbers, the people in their passions, what the Founding Father Edmund Randolph called the "turbulence and follies of democracy""" (Thanks, Robert Caro)

Not that listening to the voters on this issue wouldn't be a very good idea, because it would. (Although I'm not actually clear on what we voters want our Iraq policy to be...other than change the course)

This is a situation of representative democracy in action. The question is whether you look for a model of "virtual representation" (i.e. the office-holders doing precisely as the voters want at all times), or whether the office-holders should do what they think is best.

Bush has been following and continues to follow the second model. I think his decisions are very frequently wrong, but I certainly don't think he should stick his finger in the air and go with the prevailing wind. Too many politicians do that far too often.
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]