Monday, September 7, 2009

Is democracy dead?

Liberal bloggers as varied as Markos Moulitsas and Digby have pointed out that dumping the public option from the health care reform bill would be the worst thing the Democrats could do. It would demoralize the party's base and convince voters that the Democrats can't govern worth a damn, resulting in staggering losses in the 2010 midterms and possibly even costing the Dems control of Congress. And the Democrats don't want that to happen, do they?

Well, do they?

I'm coming to the conclusion that Congressional Democrats don't actually care whether they win or lose next year. After all, any time a member of Congress gets voted out of office, it just means they move from Capitol Hill to K Street, go to work for some lobbying firm or other, and make a ton of money. Trent Lott actually resigned from the Senate so he could go to work as a lobbyist.

The one thing a corporate-friendly Democrat won't do is risk his future job prospects by passing a bill his prospective employers don't like. So what if the result causes him, and dozens of other Democrats, to be voted out of office? That just means it's time to jump on board the money train.

The D.C. revolving door culture means that voters are not electing representatives, they're electing future ex-representatives-turned-lobbyists. Elective office is just the larval stage in the life cycle of the Beltway lobbyist. And that means that an elected official's constituents are not the people who vote for him, but his potential future employers on K Street.

So, when elected officials no longer have any incentive to represent the people who elect them, what happens to democracy?

No comments: