BGuzzardi at The Conservative Reform Network blog complains that Representative Allyson Schwartz is to the left of Obama and is proud of her role in creating "Obamacare", calls her various names, and gives no specifics. They argue that she's too far to the left for her district.
But it goes on to call for disseminating her voting record, and features a prominent (though ill-formatted) link to her 2010 earmark requests to the Appropriations committee. Specifically, the call on "the other Bob Kerns" (GOP Chair for Montgomery County, PA) to send her record to everybody they can think of.
I don't know if she's too far to the left for her district -- they did elect her, after all. The best answer to that would be to fairly and accurately make her record known, preferably with primary sources, and let the voters decide that issue.
I'm all in favor of that -- as a general rule, not just in this specific case. The problem is, here it's a knee-jerk response, responding to the "left", using maximally divisive language. That might get you warm feelings from your equally-outraged friends -- but that's no way to get any change.
So I thought I'd challenge them, and see if they'd consider actually taking up the core fiscal issue rather than pursue the left/right thing. Because if the GOP-controlled Congress taught us anything, it's that the left has no monopoly on spending our money in inappropriate ways.
Appealing to my partisan counterpart won't fix the problem. From where I stand, he's part OF the problem. I say this, without a clue as to whether I'd agree or disagree with him on any issue. I say it because, despite having followed him for some time, I still don't KNOW how he stands -- except that he stands for party discipline over any HINT of cooperation with "the other side".
So he's part of the problem.
So this is is my response. At the time of writing this note, my comment awaits moderation. I don't know if it will appear there or not, but this is my challenge to conservatives everywhere:
No, I’m not the above-mentioned Bob Kerns — though the appearance of “my” name brought me to this page.
I’m not a big fan of my namesake’s brand of partisan politics. Nor am do I approve of your brand of rhetoric filled with spite and derisive labels, rather than actually contributing meaningful analysis to the discussion.
But nonetheless, I agree with you on one very key point. Namely, that an informed electorate is essential to our democracy.
I think you’re confusing left and right with up and down. Left and right is just a distraction the politicians use to keep you from noticing how they’re spending your money and controlling your lives. The so-called “right” politicians do it AT LEAST as much as the so-called “left” ones.
Here’s what I suggest: Go through her list of 2010 earmarks. For each one, ask yourself: “Is there a solid reason for this to be FEDERALLY funded?” Research to lower repair costs on fighter jets doesn’t look like it would work too well as a local initiative. Funding local conversion to electronic healthcare records? Bzzzt!
Do this for ALL politicians, regardless of party. At the state level, look for similar grabs from local governments. Out here in CA, our local school districts are in thrall to Sacramento, and suffer financial chaos as a result.
Don’t worry about left-and-right. Look to see if they’re buying local votes with federal dollars. Look to see if they’re rewarding companies and other interests in exchange for campaign dollars.
THIS is what will get our democracy back. Holding politicians accountable for the money, for the growth of federal programs, and for the “favors” they do. If you want to change Washington, change the political economy.
Don’t be distracted by left-right. The left working WITH the right can make a difference — but of course, that’s not what they want.
Put aside the divisive, angry-at-each-other language, and focus on the core issue. Be a real conservative, not a fire-breathing dragon. Embrace the calm voice of reason, rather than outrage. But put it front and center, and give it a microphone!
(And sometime, go read George Washington’s farewell address, especially his warnings about political parties).