Sunday, January 3, 2010

Words To The Wise, And Others

Awhile back I alluded to the difference between us and folks in Congress, particularly in the Senate. Ian Welsh stated it more explicitly today:

Elected Democrats at the Federal level are members of the national elite. If they weren’t a member when they were elected, they are quickly brought into the fold. They are surrounded by lobbyists, other members and staffers who were lobbyists, as a rule. They learn they need to raise immense amounts of money in the off years when normal people aren’t giving, and that the only way to raise that money is for corporate interests and rich people to write them. They also receive the benefits of elite status, very quickly. It’s not an accident that the every Senator except Bernie Sanders is wealthy.

Why Democrats Are Trying To Commit Electoral Suicide

When it came right down to it, every one of them left us to swing, while they tended to their own "needs". Then they seemed to expect that we'd be grateful.

This is the most profound political truth of our time. The people who make the rules have no idea what it's like to be us. What's more, most of them don't seem to care. Here's an example from an article I wrote in 2007:

[Members of Congress] certainly don't view us as their equals. Remember Rep. David Obey (D-WI-07) lecturing a military mom about how difficult an issue Iraq was? How arrogant do you have to be to lecture a parent worried about her child's life being lost in a useless war about how hard it is to get him out of it? When was the last time you felt inclined to negotiate with a subordinate or a household pet? When they get uppity, the natural reaction is to scold, yell, threaten, or otherwise display hostility or anger. If you're one of those who realize that almost all dealings with your fellow creatures are a negotiation of some sort, good for you. Sadly, I think you're in the minority.

The Edwards Effect? I Wish

That's particularly true of the guy who resides in the White House.

Any political strategy that is meant to effect useful change in this country needs to take this into account. Believing that Barack Obama is going to make our lives better as soon as he's able isn't a realistic plan. Anyone who believes that at this point hasn't been paying attention.


Anonymous said...

The problem is, they aren't one of "us". They are for the most part rich. Have you ever checked out opensecrets website on the "worth" of congresspeople? Even the most supposed progressive is a millionaire. A millionaire doesn't give a rat's *ss about someone making 20-60,000/year. They could care less, and that is the problem.

Cujo359 said...

Yes, I have. The first link in the article leads to an article I wrote about why Congress loves the banks so much, which features some data from OpenSecrets.

My guess is they're just more worried about themselves than they are about us. It's also hard to relate to people who live from paycheck to paycheck when you have that much money. They can live off the interest of what they have in the bank, probably.