Statesmanship and The People

01Oct08
I’ve said before I don’t know whether the bailout bill failing was good or bad, but this article from Pajamas Media makes a claim I really don’t like.
 

“The wise cluck their tongues and say the politicians should have some backbone. But why? It’s one thing to make a judgment call on the margins, but it’s yet another to jettison the clear will of the people one represents.”

 
It’s true, it is “another thing” to jettison the obvious will of the people, and maybe I’m young and idealistic, but I thought that’s what statesmen were called on to do sometimes. I thought that was a large part of the reason we have an indirect democracy instead of direct democracy.
 
For example, when I was listening to people on the train talking about the bailout, every single person I heard speak mentioned that as long as CEO’s didn’t walk away with golden parachutes then they would be ok with the bill. Major problem with this: CEO compensation is completely unrelated to the crisis at hand. It doesn’t address the root causes of how we got here nor the most likely effect Main Street will feel, unemployment. Instead, at least from where I stood, a huge part of that public opinion against the bailout came from something entirely unrelated to what was going on.
 
That’s why it’s ok as a Senator to turn away from the obvious will of the people sometimes. Sure, that’s an awesome power I’m not certain I’d actually trust any Senator with, but there is certainly a logic in doing so, contrary to what this article suggests.
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