Meet the People, Mr. Brownstein


On yesterday’s Meet the Press, the roundtable discussed Congressional attempts to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case (just in case: the young Florida woman, who is brain-damaged, whose husband has succeeded in getting the courts to order her feeding tube removed.) The focus of their discussion was the politics surrounding the controversy.

Everyone very sagely noted that, yes, indeed politics was involved in this case. Ronald Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, then commented that the Republicans in Congress who have been working to try to save Terri’s life have been doing so. . . in response to the interests of the social conservatives who elected them.” This is about responding to a base that is essential to their vote,” he said. (Transcript here.)

Oh, the horror! Politicians who are responsive to their constituents?! Well, golly, I must have missed something in my Ph.D. coursework ’cause I thought that was exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

Let’s review our definitions just briefly for Mr. Brownstein. Trick question: Is the United States a democracy? No. That’s when the people vote directly on issues. Instead we are a representative republic. We elect our representatives to, um, represent us.

And, in fact, isn’t it the liberals who are forever complaining that Washington isn’t attentive enough to “the people?”


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