A couple of weeks ago I listened to an interview with the contemptible Democratic congressman Brian Baird from Southern Washington and was struck by one theme running through his explanation towards supporting the war in Iraq- he knows better than us.
Baird was asked to explain his view of government in light of that; whether he thought it was the duty of congressmen to represent the views of the majority of their constituents or to try and make informed, reasonable decisions even if those decisions go against what the majority of voters want. Baird predictably stated that we are a "constitutional republic" and it was his job as a representative to vote his conscious; voters be damned.
Putting aside Baird's dubious understanding of his role as a legislator in the House of Representatives I still find his explanation more than a little pathetic. His argument might make sense if we were talking about how high to set the price of tariffs on beets imported from Canada as the average voter wouldn't have the time nor the inclination that a full-time legislator would have to sort through the information and come to a reasoned conclusion before voting.
But in the case of Iraq does Baird really believe that the voters aren't making informed judgements that we should get the hell out? Is he really saying that his few weeks on a Pentagon dog n'pony show touring the country trumps the views of thousands of military men and their families who are begging our government to end the war? Apparently so.
Hubris. Nothing less.
Today's vote on the Cornyn Amendment was more of that same thing. With both political parties failling to get the country to buy in to the whole Petraeus testimony act last week and it's importance towards changing the war or really, really turning a corner this time, the Democrats and Republicans decided to emphasize the point by giving the voters a middle-finger through this sense of the Senate resolution. They have nothing but contempt for us.
Here's the thing- in a democracy contempt doesn't get to work both ways, regardless of what congressmen think on the subject. If our leaders fail to make the changes on the important issues that the people want then we vote in new leaders. If -after voting in new leaders- they still fail to make changes- they wind up with their heads on pikes.
The political class is flirting with disaster if they believe the will of the majority of Americans doesn't matter. Many of us have already had enough where we won't participate in elections or provide monetary support to the parties we've previously supported. You can't keep poking that beehive before you get stung.