11/24/09 — Mind over party: Democrats have no business targeting those who disagree

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Mind over party: Democrats have no business targeting those who disagree

In recent weeks, there has been talk -- and an e-mail campaign -- targeting those in the Democratic Party who are considering voting against health care reform.

The gist of the message is -- if you are not going to support the party line, watch out, we will vote you out and put somebody in office who will.

The e-mail messages are also including an address to send money to for the express purpose of ousting errant legislators.

Does that seem a bit odd to anyone?

The purpose of electing representatives to Congress is to have them represent the will of the people -- not the will of their party bosses.

So, a senator or representative who decides that what his party is calling for does not meet the needs of the people he has sworn to serve, and who votes accordingly, is doing his job and, likely, following his conscience.

Someone who can be pressured to change his (or her) vote simply by a threat from those who run his party is not worth keeping in office, period.

And by the way, that also includes any Republican whose constituents overwhelmingly say they are for health care reform as presented.

The health care reform debate is not going to be an easy one -- and it will be full of hotheaded remarks and ridiculous partisan bickering. That's what debates in Congress are all about, unfortunately.

And there will be many people who will wave the flag and shout from the rooftops both ways. Others will invoke the name of the recently deceased U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and tout the vote as a tribute to him and his desire to see health care reform.

But any person in the House or Senate who votes for any reason other than the fact that he or she sees this health care reform as the right answer for fixing the current system is doing nothing but politicking, and that's who needs to be the first one on the list for ouster in 2010 and beyond.

This is not a test of President Barack Obama's leadership -- and if providing that victory is the motivation behind this quick decision, there is something really wrong in Congress.

This is about being stewards for America's future. It is about creating a system that works and will not bankrupt this country.

That, not politics, should be what this vote is about.

So there should be a call -- for keeping promises made to the people who cast their votes, not those who are behind the scenes pulling the strings.

Published in Editorials on November 24, 2009 9:29 AM