Sunday, June 04, 2006

Topic For Discussion?

In my last post, I said that I believe most Congressmen actually start with good intentions, but are corrupted or lose sight of their ideals through time. Washington D.C. is not exactly a good moral influence on anyone spending time there.

USMC Pilot and a couple other readers doubt that claim. So my question is, do you think your own Congressman and Senators started with good intentions and ideals, or were they rotten from the beginning?

13 comments:

Jeanette said...

I'd like to believe they did it because they had the country's best interests at heart, but somewhere down deep I believe the career politicians are in it for the power and ego trips.

smh10 said...

Dj:

I think "rotten" is a tough word. Perhaps you are correct in recognizing the atmosphere in Washington as being "not exactly a good moral influence", but that in my mind will never excuse a grown man or woman who cannot control their own moral compass.

In the case of Senator Specter, the voters here continue to send him to Washington because he knows how to play both sides against the middle..gee I taught my own children not to do that many years ago. Senator Santorum on the other hand, at least in my opinion, while I may disagree with him on many issues, seems to stay true to himself.

As far as Congressmen or women are concerned, I believe they feel themselves so overshadowed by the Senate that they tend to either overreact for attention or become virtually non-existent as they find if they can fly under the radar, their constitutents will continue to send them to Washington.

So, no I do not think these are rotten people, and perhaps they at one time had the best interest of voters at heart, but once they recognize how little they must produce to maintain their position, they just join the club. The only thing I will say in their defense is that the voter must take the time to understand each candidate and their views..a little research can change your mind, not to say any other choice would in the end run be any better.

Steve Falcon said...

I would LOVE to belive the same things you do, DJ about our D.C. representatives but, alas, I cannot.

I believe wanting to do "the right thing" IS why state and local pols get into politics. But, for many I fear, by the time ones ego starts to dream of national politics, heads tend to get a little over inflated.

kitty said...

Maybe not "rotten" per se, but greedy -- for wealth and power and all the trappings.

Big Mo said...

I look at the case of Dick Gephardt, who was my congressman for a long time He started off as a pro-life, conservative Democrat when he first went to DC in '77. But the longer he stayed there, and the more presidential stars he saw in his eyes, th more he betrayed his own ideals.

I don't believe he was ever corrupt in a William Jefforson sort of way, but as far as principles go, he jettesoned those in order to seek higher office. So from a certain perspective, DC was not a good moral influence for him.

Skymuse said...

Since my "representative" is Cynthis McKinney, I'd have to say rotten from the start.

In general, I think it is like any other grouping -- there are some who were and still are good and noble, some who started good but became corrupt, and others who always should have been in jail.

I'm also in a foul mood after Hastert's little stunt with the Separation of Powers nonsense.

Big Mo said...

skymuse - oh, man. My sympathies. How's it feel been represented by her?

I think even Mark Twain, with all his pithy comments about Congress, would be struck speachless by Ms. McKinney.

Cynical Observer said...

I'm somewhere in the middle...

In general new faces get elected based upon a campaign of "reform" or "new blood" (which really is just another term for reform).

But after 2 or 6 years of being a member of the club, they can't run the next campaign on "reform" or "new blood." So the second campaign (of the now incumbent) always seem to shift to "bringing home the bacon" or "retaining and building power within the establishment."

And the constituent voters seem to show over and over again that they value the incumbent's message over the newcomer's by an overwhelming margin - unfortunately. And once a Congresscritter gets the reinforcement message that being an inside member of the establishment is more important than "reform," then it goes downhill from there.

So, cynic that I am, I am forced to conclude that the problem really is the voter values, and that to some degree the Congresscritters really are captives of the system. (Makes one H__ of an argument for term limits.)

Anonymous said...

Words cannot describe how much I dislike Dick Durbin. He always has that stupid grin on his face and acts like he is open to suggestion. The problem is that he is a mouthpiece for Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi. He gets the majority of his contributions from trial lawyers. I have no idea what the man truly believes. He has sold out from the very beginning to special interest groups. I find Barack Obama very interesting. A very smart man who has kept a low profile in the state of Illinois. This is probably because he is being hired and courted by politicians in other states to speak at everything. His campaign speeches were filled with socialism but without doubt he lives as a capitalist. I think Obama might have come to Washington with good intentions. I doubt that Durbin did. My feeling is that they both sold out their convictions to the highest bidder.

Julie

The Macker said...

EJ,
Interesting thoughts and discussions,

I think Representatives bring their own values to the job. Whether the election process as a filter results in elected of more or less integrity than the population as a whole I'll leave to others. The environment of DC, as the seat of power, tests those values. But we should be grateful when we get leaders possessing courage, integrity and judgment (not necessarily the smartest people on the planet).

The Macker said...

DJ,
Interesting thoughts and discussions,

I think Representatives bring their own values to the job. Whether the election process as a filter results in elected of more or less integrity than the population as a whole I'll leave to others. The environment of DC, as the seat of power, tests those values. But we should be grateful when we get leaders possessing courage, integrity and judgment (not necessarily the smartest people on the planet).

USMC Pilot said...

DJ:

The female congresswoman in the movie Legally Blond II has a line about "I can't accomplish anything, if I don't get re-elected". Always sounded a little like the first rule of communism to me- "The end justifies the means." While I feel as previously stated, I am also willing to admit that we reap what we sow(sp).

The country is run, not by the people, but by the Republican and Democratic parties. The parties determine who the primary candidates will be by the use of campain funds. The winners are then beholding to the parties, and will toe the line in order to get more funds. Once they have been around long enough to be powerful in their own right, they are the leaders of the party and play the same game.

As far as to term limits- Kind of like telling someone to dig their own grave.

tryptich said...

Term limits are the best solution for corruption, but they are the bane of building seniority on the all-important committees, where the real work of the House is done. I just worry that too much beltway time starts to numb the conscience of any Representative. Maybe if we could combine limits (say, e.g., 12 years/6 terms in the House; and 18 years/3 terms in the Senate) with a committee appointments based on skill and passion rather than seniority, along with real reform ... perhaps we could stop the inevitable slide. Ultimately, it is on we the voters to punish (hopefully in the primary!) any congresscritter who strays from the straight and narrow on ethics.