QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Feb 23 2010, 03:46 PM)
The two recent elections indicated the choice of the voters for who was going to represent them. "To the victor go the spoils" is one way to look at it. The problem is it brings up the picture of the Number One predator eating his fill of the gazelle while the lesser predators look on and wait. As much as that might actually represent what goes on after an election, I would prefer to think that the majority party's decisions better represent the thinking of those who voted them in at any given time.
The problem with that reasoning is that there is seldom a large enough majority to really disregard the other side. Remember when Bush called his whisker-thin victory in 2004 a "mandate"? Clearly, he was delusional, and the Democrats should not have been shut out.
If I am searching for justification for, say, health care reform, I'd rather look for overwhelming poll numbers. They don't come up all that often, but they are there for health care (and for overturning the recent Supreme Court decision on corporate money). Those are the kinds of poll numbers that should
convince the minority party that it is not only in the best interests of the country to support your popular measure, but it is also in the individual pol's best (re-election) interests to support it, too.
The Republican answer to health care reform has been to appear as though they, too, want reform, and put forth a plan so ridiculous that there is no hope of compromise with the Democrats, while at the same time spreading misleading information out to their constituents, trying to sell them on the Republican version of things. (Government bad, Big Business Good!)
Because of that disingenuous Republican response, I think the Dems would now be completely justified in steamrolling them on health care, because it could pretty safely be said that they were not representing the wishes of their constituents. But to steamroll on an issue where the American people have no clear preference is just wrongheaded power politics.
I guess what I'm saying is that ideally, politicians would vote to represent their constituents and not their party, and we would end up at the compromise position as a matter of course. If forced bipartisanship is the only way to get to that place in this present climate, then we should strive to do that. I just don't feel like many Republican politicians are truly trying to advance the interests of their constituents, and I don't feel like their party as a whole does, either.