Saturday, May 06, 2006

You're Fired!

(What, do you think if we don't talk about it they'll just go away??)

I'm just wondering how Democrats, especially Congressional Democrats, are hoping to use the Republican culture of corruption as a campaign issue at this point. I ask this as a Democrat, a solid Democrat at this point, who is terribly concerned that we've given away the farm at this point in order to tolerate the jackassery of the few.

The campaign issue revolves around people in power (Republicans) using their power to give taxpayer money to friends and contributors; using their power to live life above the law; and facilitating government incompetency by appointing political cronies to high government office.

That's a great campaign issue, because it combines good policy with good politics. But until Democrats really get serious about fighting corruption, graft, cronyism and special treatment, they will continue to be the opposition party. I've got an idea of a good place to start really fighting this battle, to show the public we're really serious about government for the people, by the people.

Fire bad Democrats. I'm absolutely serious. National and State parties can remove a Congressional officer's Democratic registration. Let them answer to their constituency directly about whether or not to resign their Congressional seat, but show that being a Democrat means something more than just an election win, show that it means a more dignified public service behavior. If voters thought we stood for real change, we would have a much better chance.

People may be tired of Republican pigs at the trough, but what reason will they have to vote the other way if they percieve they will just be sending different colored pigs to Washington. The actions of a few indidivuals soil the reputation of all of us.

Take for instance, Democrats like Patrick Kennedy who continues to use his family name and family wealth to buy his way out of trouble with the law. You think that inspires confidence in the Democratic Party? Nope.

Take for instance, Democrats like Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) who is now allegedly implicated in a bribery scam for between $400,000 and $1 million to award government contracts for straight up cash. Yeah, he hasn't been charged yet, but two of the folks involved already have plea deals. Like the Blue Tom DeLay, Rep. Jefferson is going to hide behind his lawyers and jettison both his job (he represents New Orleans, and I'd say he has more pressing matters to handle than his legal defense) and his Party's credibility to the nation.

And, I'm not even going to go into the national damage Cynthia McKinney does to the Democratic Party.

The Democrats who read this can get as angry as they want. I am against corruption and inept government, wherever it lives, and we have to clean up our own House before we can clean up others. This type of behavior make it hard for good Democrats to gain traction, especially in Congressional races. We may loose those seats, but the credibility we gain is worth far more than the vote we get to tolerate such behavior. Luckily, I'm not the only one who feels this way. (Hattip, Instapundit)


patsbrother said...

Problem: who judges who's a Democrat? You can aim for some pie in the sky nonpolitical (no, the other kind of political) disinterested Demo board. I see that as just another possible layer of infighting and special treatment, and just another podium from which to spin spit.

My vote: the best way to screen out the duds is called a PRIMARY. If you're too stupid not to vote for the corrupt/inept blowhard/nitwit for the eighth time, you deserve poor representation. Or (in some of our cases), if you've voted for eight straight corrupt/inept blowhard/nitwits in a row, you deserve to be represented by a member of the opposite party.

If you're pissed off at certain elected officials, the best way to remove them is to elect someone else. If you're pissed off with what one of them said or did, call them out on it.

But why is firing party members a REALLY bad idea? Because if some small group of people within any one political party can fire individuals from their party, that implicitly gives them the same right to hire individuals into their party: there would be nothing to stop them from preventing individuals from running as Democrats

If you want better representation, you do not hand over to the current Powers That Be the ability to cherry-pick who can or cannot run.

Patrick Armstrong said...

"Problem: who judges who's a Democrat?" Well, in all three cases I mentioned, most likely the United States Department of Justice - since all those charges involve sitting members of Congress.

This isn't an ideological fiasco, kid. It is this: if you are dirty, and we know you're dirty, or you have confessed to the commission of a crime that would be a felony if any of us plebes did it (oh, say, DUI, assault on a police officer, or grand larceny) and the only way you have to keep yourself out of the pokey is to be a member of the US House of Representatives, good night sir or madam, you don't work for us anymore.

patsbrother said...

If you are advocating throwing elected officials out of office by means of the State police power, then you need to indicate that (so I can tell you that that too is a bad idea).

However, please note that such action has nothing to do with Democrats cleaning their own House, which was the explicit holding of your post, but rather with the State doing it for us. (For one so big on challenging the stereotypes associated with liberals, the big government overtones of foisting the duties of the Democratic party onto the Justice Department appears a touch ironic.)

Please also note, if you wish to annul peoples' vote by throwing their elected officials out of office, then you best damn have a conviction: just because you *know* what happened does not empower you to direct the State to act in ways that negate the due process of law as well as the democratic process.

As much as you like posing as a populist, Citizen Pat, you often sound like an authoritarian or an oligarch. So too, you change the meaning of your posts more often than some have changed the cassus belli for this war. Which leads me to believe you aren't hip with the Democratic Party. So I'm going to have to ask you to leave. You're fired.

patsbrother said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patrick Armstrong said...

PB, I think this train left the station and you weren't on it.

I'll refrain from responding until someone else chimes in, just to make sure I'm reading the same words you are.


petallic said...

You're both right, and you're both crazy. Yes, we do need to get rid of bad politicians, Democratic or Republican, but PB is correct that it can't be by snitching them out. It should be done in proper democratic fashion - vote them out.

If we allow them to revoke Democratic registration, it could turn into some sort of crazy witch hunt, which seems ill-advised, to say the least.

But let's be honest, this is just an Armstrong pissing contest.

Dante said...

So your plan is to make an issue out of stopping something occuring on both sides of the aisle and to show you're really serious about it you want to throw voting members of Congress out of your party? I kind of don't want to comment on this issue because I'd love to see it in action. It'd be highly humorous. Talk about throwing your vote away. Tossing out the representation you have in your representative republic in an attempt to garner more representation next term just seems like a really bad idea to me.

Patrick Armstrong said...


I didn't think holding members of Congress accountable for following the laws that they themselves create would be such a radical idea. I didn't think that holding the politcal parties responsible for the people that run on their ticket was such a radical idea, either. I didn't think that expecting better behavior from members of my party would be considered a bad thing.

I guess I was wrong.

I guess I just see the "D" that comes after someone's name on a ballot as a seal of approval from the state or national Democratic Party. I guess I was naive to think that approval means something more than just getting votes. I guess I overestimate how much weight such a seal of approval carries.

But I can dream, and I can fight to make that reality.

Dante said...

What does throwing people out of your political party have to do with laws? Holding them accountable for their actions at the party level is a good idea since their actions affect the image of the party but like PB already pointed out, the primaries are a more apporpriate place for that sort of thing.

Patrick Armstrong said...

This has everything to do with laws, because that's what I'm talking about. What did you think I was talking about, getting rid of people who disagree with me?

I don't care about ideology, I care that members of Congress and high government office be held to the same laws as Joe Taxpayer; I care that each party write and uphold their own ethics rules that are more stringent than the actual ethics rules the law demands they follow. I want to see my Party do this, because that's my Party and I care more about the way my Party is represented.

This issue doesn't even concern the Primary, because the Primary is for Party candidates only. The Party determines who can and who cannot run on the Party's ticket. If I wanted to run for office as a Republican, they could deny me that "R" seal of approval because they know I'm a Democrat.

Why can Democrats not do the same, and refuse to let folks with ethical and legal question marks into the Primary?

That's what I'm talking about.

patsbrother said...

Pat, parties control who runs not before but through the primaries. How did Mayor Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat, get to run as a Republican? He signed up as a candidate for the Republican primary.

If the party can control who runs, what is the purpose of a primary?

If district X wants to elect a convicted felon, they can do that.

If West Virginia wants to elect a former Klansman, they can do that.

If representatives want to stage a protest and submit to being arrested for whatever laws the protest breaks, they can do that.

If Noam Chomsky wanted to run for office as a Republican, he could do that. And if Republican voters wanted to laugh him out of town, they could do that, too. By voting for someone else.

That's democracy.

If you were arguing solely for prosecuting elected officials more vigorously, there would be no debate on this issue. The Congress has ethics laws on what happens to a sitting member if he or she is indicted or is convicted of different crimes. If you were arguing for expanding those ethics laws, we'd be debating by how much.

But that's not what you're arguing. What's more, you appear unable to distinguish just what you are arguing for.

Patrick Armstrong said...

I think there should be standards if you're going to get any endorsement. I am expressly arguing for more vigorous prosecution of elected officials. I am expressly arguing for expansion and enforcement of more stringent ethics laws.

I just don't think we have to wait around for those high elected officials to get around to such reform. I think, as Democrats, we should handle that in house, and we can do it right now.

I don't think felons should get to run in the Democratic Primaries. I don't think ex-Klansmen should get to run in the Democratic Primaries. I don't want someone whose already lost three jobs for embezzelment to have a hand in creating the US budget with the seal of approval from the Democratic Party of Anyplace, USA. I don't think those folks should get to run in the Democratic Primaries. I think the Party would be completely within their rights to deny these people the privilige of participating in the Democratic Primary.

Let them run as independents or Republicans or on the Southern Party ticket. That would be democracy.

If you think it is fine to give the felon not only the chance to represent you in the highest offices of government, but to carry your actual seal of approval into office with them, then that's great. That's your opinion, and I can tell you aren't going to change your mind.

Go you.

I think we can, and should, do better.

patsbrother said...

Tricky Nick (paTrick Nicholas): Hey! A! AAAAAAA!

Someone else: Um, A is lame.

Tricky Nick: What crack are you smoking? I said B.

Someone else: Um, but B is lame, too.

Tricky Nick: You MUST be ignorant, cause I clearly said A.

And the beat goes on...