Politics and Pipe Dreams

I have been reading “The Case against Barack Obama” and find it to be very compelling and revealing. I know hardcore devotees will think it as lopsided propaganda, but I do suggest you read it, even if you are one. If there were one on John McCain I’d read it too, just so you’d know.

Up until the book, I was somewhat neutral on the man and his campaign. I’m beginning to dislike Mr. Obama and his legislative track record the farther into the book I get. Many of the people who could complain the loudest are Democrats, and they won’t rat out one of their own. The Republican’s who are speaking out are being accused of running a smear campaign. The author is letting Mr. Obama’s record speak for itself. And for the record, the “record” isn’t just how he voted on legislative issues; it includes his campaigning tactics, his candidate endorsement record, among other things.

The farther into the campaign season we travel, the more I dislike both sides of the aisle. Michigan ends up being kind of “purple”— Red in the West and U.P and Blue on the more populated East side. There has been a growing trend of voting Blue on the West side as of late, but I still think we’re more Purple.

I wish there was a viable party that fits what I believe in. One that supports and values all life; holds corporations to good stewardship of the environment without radicalism; believes the gov’t is meant to lead and assist but not be primary source of income for individual citizens. I want equity in education spending, and pay based on performance of teachers. There are districts paying some of its tenured teachers $75,000+, and still the students are failing. Would it violate the rights of citizens to require teachers to send children to the schools in which they teach? How much would change then? Don’t police officers have to live where they serve? Judges too? It will never happen because the teachers’ unions are too powerful and politicians know where the money comes from.

There are days I wish PAC’s could be disbanded too. It seems the lavishly funded ones are the ones telling the Senator’s how to vote, because of the campaign contributions made and therefore expect the favor of a vote in return. That’s not “of the people, by the people, for the people”.

I also think the system of 2 Senators, and 435 members in the House in DC do not adequately represent the population as a whole. The Senators are overworked and hold too much power when partnered with their like-minded representatives in the House. I don’t like that Representatives serve two-year terms. It seems they are always stuck in campaigning mode and can’t devote enough time to the work at hand. Of course the requirement of 2 Senators and the two-year terms are written into the Constitution (Article 1, Section III and Section II, respectively). Just imagine what fun both Houses could have with 150 Senators and one Representative for every 250,000 citizens. With a population nearing 305 million, our Rep’s are representing just over 701,000 people—EACH! If the ratio were brought to 1:250,000 we’d need to elect 785 more to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Constitution provides that there may not exceed one per 30,000! I’ll do the math for you real quick: that comes to over 10,166 Representatives in Washington DC. Even if the ratio were moderate at 1:500,000 there would still be over 600 elected officials in Washington. If there were that many working for the people, do you think the Political Action Committees would carry as much clout? I don’t think so; they’d still exist, but with less strength.

Currently Michigan has 15 officers elected to the H of R in DC, ranking 8th in population according to the 2000 U.S. Census. These places have only one, (estimated populations in parenthes.)

Alaska (670,000)
American Samoa (60,000)
District of Columbia (580,000)
Delaware (854,000)
Guam (174,000)
Montana (945,000)
North Dakota (635,000)
Puerto Rico (3,960,000) [Rhode Island has 2 Reps in DC, with a population of about 1.1 million]
South Dakota (782,000)
U.S. Virgin Islands (109,000)
Vermont (624,000)
Wyoming (515,000)

That’s 9,908,000 people, nearly the same as Michigan in 2000. All things being equal, Puerto Rico should have 6 Reps in DC, yet they have just the one.

If we reconfigured for the 1:250,000 ratio, Puerto Rico would have 15, Michigan would jump to 39 and California to 153. I suggest the district lines be redrawn to make them larger with multiple Reps per district, so the work load can be shared, with staffing and office needs reduced. *Thinking to self: Perhaps even limiting the total number of districts per state*

If people aren’t voting because they feel they aren’t being heard, would changing the number of Representatives in Washington DC make a difference. We won’t know unless someone successfully runs for office, implements the changes and makes it happen. Pie in the sky dreams, aren’t they.

All that said, because I started reading a book about one candidate…