This a.m. there was an LTE on the Columbian web site:
Thursday, September 15, 2011I read the Sept. 8 story, “Talk to Herrera Beutler, Boehner — for a price,” that reported U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, was having a campaign fundraiser at the home of Dick Hannah. The story stated that $10,000 could be donated by each couple. Real-ly? Is this what our Founding Fathers had in mind? I don’t think so.
Congress has a 13 percent approval rating as of now. Maybe because only 13 percent or less benefit from the acts of Congress. This is ruining our political system. It needs to stop — now.
Think about it. Re-election requires roughly $2 million each cycle for a Member of Congress. They face re-election every 104 weeks. If you do the math, those in Congress must kowtow to the special interests at the rate of around $20,000 each week.
Is it any wonder our country is so screwed up?
I condemned our congresswoman because of this same issue. I condemn her carefully screened, cherry-picked "coffees" while she fails to meet with the unwashed masses... no elected official or staffer of principle or integrity would put up with that. But that all begs the larger question.
The reason I am condemning her on THIS ISSUE is because she made the decision to effectively meet only with people who, when she runs again, could write her large checks. In this instance, clearly her focus is not on her constituents... but again, on herself... much like the immature girl image she all-too-frequently projects.
Had she done these coffees in ADDITION to 3 or 4 town hall meetings around the district... something a barn-headed ape should have figured out... then I'd have no complaint... about that aspect of her self-centeredness, anyway.
That brings us to the issue of excising this disease of what I can call "moneyitus."
One popularly held, but I believe nonsensical and unworkable solution, is term limits.
Term limits have 3 primary faults in the thought process that supports them:
1. I should have the right to vote for any candidate I desire... even one that has served X number of terms in the past.
2. Term limits by themselves will do nothing to address the impacts of, or requirements for, the special interest money that controls our government today.
3. There is something to be said for institutional memory, both good... and bad... if you have Members with integrity and honesty, that Memory can be used to both avoid past mistakes and to form a better future plan.
Others are of the government-financed campaign school. Here locally, the train wreck that is Portland politics so far have not been positively impacted in any noticeable way... and who, with a straight face, can advocate funding campaigns when we can't fund fire houses?
I don't have the answer to this question... a question that seems almost Churchillian in it's breadth and depth:
Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
I am quick to condemn Herrera, because there is much to condemn her for. But I know enough about politics to know that the political equivalent of Jaime or any other serious candidate standing on a street corner with a bucket, spare-changing campaign donations is equally impossible.
In this instance, the political perception is the reality. And here, the reality is that once again, Herrera engaged in an own-goal by failing to add town hall meetings to the mix. Thus, her carefully screened "invitees" shtick come across as a fearful, cynical ploy to tighten her bonds to the donating community (Another Churchillian bromide:
Churchill: "Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?"
Socialite: "My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…"
Churchill: "Would you sleep with me for five pounds?"
Socialite: "Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!"
Churchill: "Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.")
while steadfastly ignoring those she actually answers to.
Herrera might reconsider her staff... because only one of two things could have caused this screw-up:
Those she hired lacked the political understanding of a 5th grader and gave her (or someones idea she bought into) the "Absolutely right, J.B.!" treatment, or
Someone on the staff warned her (Ryan Hart, who's political support was bought and paid for with the promise of his $65,000 per year job, perhaps?) that this was a boneheaded play and she ignored them.
Either way, she's coming across like a cartoon character smacking herself in the head with a mallet.
Cross posted at Clark County Politics.