The “tyranny of constituency”?

posted at 12:55 pm on June 25, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

When the founders created Congress, they had two separate constituencies in mind.  For the House, they wanted Representatives who would be accountable to the people, while for the Senate they wanted members accountable to the state legislatures that were the natural check on federal power.  (Later, the 17th Amendment made Senators accountable to the general public instead.)  They formed this body in answer to the tyranny of distant nobility and politicians with no accountability whatsoever to those whom they would rule.  A representative government, they concluded, would be the antidote of tyranny.

Apparently, NPR didn’t get the message.  In a late analysis to their poll ten days ago on Congressional races, which shows Democrats in deep trouble for the midterm elections, NPR called the coming exercise in accountability a demonstration of “the tyranny of constituency” (via Instapundit):

A poll NPR reported earlier this week offered the most telling metrics we’ve seen yet for measuring the mountain that congressional Democrats face this fall. It got a lot of attention for all the obvious reasons. But there’s a good deal more to be gleaned from the numbers than the headline about a likely boost for Republicans. …

Beneath the surface, the NPR poll was all about the tyranny of constituency, the down and dirty of serving the folks back home. House districts (and states’ legislative districts) tend to be intricately drawn demarcations of the folks back home. From a complicated map of a state or a metro area, computer-enabled experts carve out jigsaw puzzle pieces that aggregate like-minded voters (and exclude those with different views).

The dynamics of these cyber-modeled districts are the driving force of the House as we know it. As someone once said, where you stand depends on where you sit. And these days you can learn more about where a member of Congress sits than ever before.

That’s why the NPR survey, done by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and Republican counterpart Glen Bolger, focused on the 60 Democratic districts likeliest to be lost to Republicans this fall. These are districts where incumbents are retiring, or where incumbents were most recently elected by narrow margins. In most, the 2008 voting that sent a Democrat to Congress also produced more votes for Republican presidential nominee John McCain than for Barack Obama.

Certainly a case can be made against gerrymandering.  It allows state legislatures the ability to carve out “safe” districts that reduce accountability, except in rare primary challenges to sitting incumbents of the favored party.  That process has become a little less rare in this cycle, however, which NPR fails to point out.

But even gerrymandered districts produce elected representatives who tend to accurately represent the majority of the constituents; that’s actually the point of gerrymandering.  And as this cycle shows, voters can still hold them accountable, and not just in Democratic districts in a bad year for Democrats.  Ask Bob Inglis what he’ll be doing next January, for instance.  After shooting off his mouth about fearmongering and Fox News in a townhall meeting last August, Inglis lost the nomination for the seat he currently occupies in the House.  Bob Bennett won’t be returning for a fourth term as Utah’s Senator, either.

In any case, accountability is not tyranny; it’s the exact opposite of tyranny.  It’s shocking, but somehow not surprising, that NPR fails to understand that when Democrats are the party being held accountable for their performance and their radical agenda.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I really don’t understand the point of the 17th amendment. It turns the Senate into another “House” with no accountability except to the political powers.

The Democrats have figured it out which is why they’re trying to dissolve the Senate majority principles (only now kept for traditional purposes) and go for a simple majority to pass law.

You have 2 rubber stamp houses and when one party controls all 3… well, you see what you get.

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 12:59 PM

the down and dirty of serving the folks back home

What an arrogant and dismissive description of serving your constituents.

PatriotRider on June 25, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Michele Bachmann certainly does not represent us die-hard liberals out in the 6th district.

Bishop on June 25, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Wow. When I first glanced at the title I thought it said “the Tranny Constituency”.

I thought the Dems were angling for more votes.

NavyspyII on June 25, 2010 at 1:04 PM

I’m sorry we “small” people get in the way of Congresses plans.

sandee on June 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

The left has no interest in governing – they want to rule.

Rebar on June 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

I am shocked that government funded media would support government.

WashJeff on June 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

The Aristocracy is upset that it must seek an ok from the peons to do things.

ajacksonian on June 25, 2010 at 1:06 PM

The tyrants are calling the voters (from whom they are stealing) tyrants? This needs to stop, dems need to go and there needs to be NO public radio and NO public television. We must slash these slushy sources of propaganda.

In fact do we really need a NEA?

clnurnberg on June 25, 2010 at 1:06 PM

It’s shocking, but somehow not surprising, that NPR fails to understand that when Democrats are the party being held accountable for their performance and their radical agenda.

Not at all shocking. Do you listen to NPR? I do. And when it’s not classical music/jazz/human interest pieces, it’s all DNC all the time.

Aquateen Hungerforce on June 25, 2010 at 1:06 PM

This is where we have come. These people don’t represent their consituents anymore, they simply push their national agendas.

Oh sure, they scam some pork in backroom deals, send some money back to their states/districts to support the local union thugs, but that’s as far as it goes.

reaganaut on June 25, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Wow. When I first glanced at the title I thought it said “the Tranny Constituency”.

NavyspyII on June 25, 2010 at 1:04 PM

No, I think that was an article published in Thailand.

Daggett on June 25, 2010 at 1:08 PM

I really don’t understand the point of the 17th amendment. It turns the Senate into another “House” with no accountability except to the political powers.

No, you understand it perfectly. That is the point. The Progressives understood that a Senate elected by state legislatures was the essential counterbalance to the Supremacy Clause (Art. VI, ¶ 2)

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Sadly, because of SCOTUS’ expansive reading of Congress’ authority to legislate (Take Wickard v. Filburn… Please!), the only brake on its power is its own self-restraint. Repeal of the 17th amendment would return to the state legislators their power to provide that restraint

The Monster on June 25, 2010 at 1:08 PM

NPR is funded by the Democrats to support Democratic candidates. Obama just jacked up their budget dramatically. WHY would NPR want anything but the Democrats in control?

NPR is very aware of where their bread is buttered!

Freddy on June 25, 2010 at 1:09 PM

You’re missing the point Ed. This election determines who draws the congressional districts for the next decade. NPR is setting up the argument that Republicans will have the opportunity to gerrymander districts across the United States because they were “lucky” enough to be the opposing force of Democrats who are just downright “unlucky” there is an “anti-incumbent” (really an anti-Democrat) angst in the country right now.

ButterflyDragon on June 25, 2010 at 1:11 PM

No, you understand it perfectly. That is the point. The Progressives understood that a Senate elected by state legislatures was the essential counterbalance to the Supremacy Clause (Art. VI, ¶ 2)

The Monster on June 25, 2010 at 1:08 PM

I agree. But they couldn’t have *sold* it to the public like that. (Could they? They sold prohibition… so maybe they did…)

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 1:11 PM

What we need is a charismatic dictator. To cut through all the red tape of accountability. So we can get some things done around here.

Kenosha Kid on June 25, 2010 at 1:12 PM

We, the undersigned, have all the answers. It’s these damn smelly constituents holding us back.

- Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Tom Friedman, Josef Stalin oops.

Bat Chain Puller on June 25, 2010 at 1:16 PM

I listened to NPR briefly yesterday, and they were running a segment that argued that the problem in Afghanistan is a lack of bureaucrats. Apparently the Taliban, with its mad bureaucratic skills, is stepping in where the government suffers from a lack of bureaucrats – or something.

You can’t make this stuff up, but you will pay for it.

forest on June 25, 2010 at 1:16 PM

NPR called the coming exercise in accountability a demonstration of “the tyranny of constituency”

Sounds like these people read George Orwell but somehow didn’t understand that it was satire.

Tav on June 25, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Well, it is the way they think. Poor liberals must rely on Democrat politicians who must cater to the whims of the stupid, ignorant, unwashed and racist masses for their votes in order to spend the masses’ tax dollars on liberal agendas. Everyone knows we would all be much better off if we just acknowledged that liberals know best how to redistribute the fruits of our labors.

We should just put the NPR producers in charge and then we would have no worries. What could go wrong?

novaculus on June 25, 2010 at 1:26 PM

This is what communist propaganda looks like.

jdawg on June 25, 2010 at 1:26 PM

What we need is a charismatic dictator. To cut through all the red tape of accountability. So we can get some things done around here.

Kenosha Kid on June 25, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Anakin Skywalker said it first…

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Theys gotten too big for their britches.

CWforFreedom on June 25, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Sounds like these people read George Orwell but somehow didn’t understand that it was satire.

These are the people George Orwell was writing about; therefore, you are correct, they would not understand it was a satire.

There is a lot of tyranny being exercised by the Democratic Congress these days, and the inversion of their role into the part of a victim is also Orwellian. There are a lot of Democrats in Congress who should be imprisoned for the rest of their lives, in my opinion, for the damage they have done. And deep down, they know it. These are not great people. They are spiteful, corrupt hacks. Miserable, small-minded, petty, ignorant bureaucrats who get a little power and promptly abuse it.

GTR640 on June 25, 2010 at 1:30 PM

just think what happens w/ no 17th amendment…. Nelson would have listened to the governor/legislature of Nebraska. No Blago BS. No discussion about who patterson is going to appoint. No Mass BS where the governor appoints the senator, then he doesn’t, now he does again. REPEAL THE 17TH AMDMT… It should be on the hundred year plan for restoring the republic!

lm10001 on June 25, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Gerrymandering is a provable “bad.” It produces representatives who are only accountable to the extremes within their own parties and makes compromise less possible in the legislature. It makes representatives beatable only in a primary (very difficult), which leads to representatives feeling that they have sinecures. This makes them less accountable to even their like-minded constituents and leads to featherbedding practices that more accountable representatives would not engage in.

I saw this in spades when I worked for a member of the California Assmebly from one of the few real swing districts in the state. He was a more liberal Republican by nature, but was able to win a special election in an open seat previously occupied by a Democrat precisely because he was not too conservative. Our district was surrounded by more carefully drawn districts that produced some of the most conservative and most liberal members of the Assembly, none of whom ever worked together on anything or paid any attention to the interests of those from the opposite end of the spectrum.

We had to cater to every constituency from all over the political spectrum. It was one of the best educations I ever had; I learned that there are a lot of really sincere liberals who do not all want to destroy America, that gay people really are discriminated against, that business people really can be greedy, and that the environment really needs protecting – and on the other hand, I learned that people do not like illegal immigrants camping in their yards, killing their pets, and stealing their vegetables.

In 1990, the Republicans tried to get a ballot initiative passed to put the next redistricting in the hands of an independent commission. The liberal interest groups went insane fighting it. The ads were unbelievable – the Sierra Club actually ran ads telling people that voting for Prop 90 would destroy the environment. The CTA ran ads telling people that voting for Prop 90 would cause their kids’ schools to close. And of course, it failed and the gerrymandering only got worse. There is a direct line from there to the bankrupting of California by the Democrats and their intersest groups.

People are angry in America today because too many of us have representatives that are not listening to us because they do not have to. They think their seats are safe because they have picked their voters instead of the voters picking them.

rockmom on June 25, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Liberal logic

Oxymorons are indignant!

Schadenfreude on June 25, 2010 at 1:31 PM

But they couldn’t have *sold* it to the public like that.

Oh, of course not. They sold it by ginning up crises of confidence in “smoke-filled rooms” of party hacks deciding who the majority caucus would send off to Washnington, and artificial controversies under which the two houses of a bicameral legislature wouldn’t agree on a Senator, etc. As an interim step, some state legislatures passed laws calling for the voters to indicate their preference, which the legislatures rubber-stamped. Then the legislatures that clung to their Constitutional duty were painted as “backward” and “undemocratic”

The Monster on June 25, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Refuse to appropriate funds for NPR, PBS, Education, Energy, and Interior.
.
NPR and PBS are the most “unbalanced” publicly-funded operations in this country. They get away with so much lefty indoctrination and statist propaganda that it is criminal for a publicly funded institution to be left to its own ideology like they are.

ExpressoBold on June 25, 2010 at 1:39 PM

5. Finally, for those appalled by the above, there is the hope held out by the California ballot initiative enacted on June 8. Pushed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his allies, this idea would have all candidates on one ballot in the primaries. The top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation (or lack thereof) would advance to a runoff on Election Day in November. Third parties and independents would have a shot in the primary, but would not be guaranteed any place on the ballot in the fall.

This reminded me of the Green Room post on discouraging children from having best friends.

The lefties only approve of certain strong relationships or identifications (race, ethnicity and sex, for example), but don’t want strong ties to family, spouse, friends, fellows in the same political philosophy, or country.

Just Citizens of the World with DNA that pigeonholes you into certain identity politics.

Wethal on June 25, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Someone tell me, why are we continuing to pour taxpayer money into NPR and PBS?

Kafir on June 25, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Refuse to appropriate funds for NPR, PBS, Education, Energy, and Interior.
.
NPR and PBS are the most “unbalanced” publicly-funded operations in this country. They get away with so much lefty indoctrination and statist propaganda that it is criminal for a publicly funded institution to be left to its own ideology like they are.

ExpressoBold on June 25, 2010 at 1:39 PM

YOU’RE GONNA KILL ELMO!!!!

(I wonder if we couldn’t splice in the “companies shouldn’t target children” meme (no toys at McDonalds) and point out that since TV, especially pre-teen TV, is bad for children than PBS shouldn’t have children’s programming on. That would pretty much kill PBS’ viewership.)

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Oh, of course not. They sold it by ginning up crises of confidence in “smoke-filled rooms” of party hacks deciding who the majority caucus would send off to Washnington, and artificial controversies under which the two houses of a bicameral legislature wouldn’t agree on a Senator, etc. As an interim step, some state legislatures passed laws calling for the voters to indicate their preference, which the legislatures rubber-stamped. Then the legislatures that clung to their Constitutional duty were painted as “backward” and “undemocratic”

The Monster on June 25, 2010 at 1:36 PM

I just can’t believe the states gave up that easily.

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 1:49 PM

YOU’RE GONNA KILL ELMO!!!!

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Wouldn’t that be great! I can’t abide Sesame Street.

clnurnberg on June 25, 2010 at 1:53 PM

File this in the same folder as Tom Friedman’s columns about how wonderful it would be if the U.S. government could act like China’s, or comments like Woody Allen’s on what a capital idea it would be if Obama could just be a dictator for a while and set everything in order, without having to worry about those pesky things like voters, bi-annual federal elections or opposing parties.

(I’m just waiting for the inevitable column from some liberal pundit either this fall or during the 2012 election cycle pondering whether — in this time of great upheaval and uncertainty — we really need to have elections so darned close together, when the elected officials barely have time to celebrate their wins when they have to start dealing with the voters again.)

jon1979 on June 25, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Someone tell me, why are we continuing to pour taxpayer money into NPR and PBS?

Kafir on June 25, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Sesame Street. And all the funding for cultural shows that the masses wouldn’t pay money to see.

Wethal on June 25, 2010 at 1:56 PM

YOU’RE GONNA KILL ELMO!!!!

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM
Wouldn’t that be great! I can’t abide Sesame Street.

clnurnberg on June 25, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Does anyone ever bring up how much money Sesame Street makes from licensed products? “Tickle Me Elmo,” for example? Sesame Street is a commercial enterprise disguised as non-profit education.

(OK, AARP is an insurance company disguised as an advocacy group for the elderly, too.)

Wethal on June 25, 2010 at 1:58 PM

To the libs democracy = tyranny. They need to buy a vowel.

Mojave Mark on June 25, 2010 at 2:01 PM

The 17th amendment ushered in the beloved unfunded congressional mandate…a very bad decision.

JIMV on June 25, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Which of the following definitons did NPR have in mind?

tyr·an·ny
   /ˈtɪrəni/ Show Spelled[tir-uh-nee] Show IPA
–noun, plural -nies.
1.
arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.
2.
the government or rule of a tyrant or absolute ruler.
3.
a state ruled by a tyrant or absolute ruler.
4.
oppressive or unjustly severe government on the part of any ruler.
5.
undue severity or harshness.
6.
a tyrannical act or proceeding.

Certainly it’s not #2, 3 or 4, so are they saying that voters are exercising a “despotic abuse of power”? Or is it their contention that congressional elections are unduly severe or harsh toward those in power? Yeah, that makes sense.

Most likely they’re concerned that the mere act of voting in 2010 is a “tyrannical act or proceeding”, because not enough of their fellow travelers have been gerrymandered into every district to prevent Democrat losses.

Either that or this is just another statist attempt to re-define the English language and turn logic on its head.

Probably both.

RadClown on June 25, 2010 at 2:11 PM

DEMOCRAts don’t like DEMOCRAcy.

kurtzz3 on June 25, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Suddenly the left is against gerrymandering? That’s an absolute riot.

The smoke and mirrors with the gerrymandering allusion are as obvious a dodge as a three-year-old’s laughable lie — not even worth responding to. What the left is righteously angry about is the possibility of being rejected by the voters and losing its grip on the incredibly lucrative investment opportunity called Tax-n-Regulate.

J.E. Dyer on June 25, 2010 at 2:26 PM

NPR doesn’t understand the American system of Government. Shocking.

If our reps and Senators aren’t supposed to be representing the best interests and will of their constituents, what ARE they supposed to represent?

hawksruleva on June 25, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Someone tell me, why are we continuing to pour taxpayer money into NPR and PBS?

Kafir on June 25, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Because they give liberal viewpoints legitimacy. So liberals in Congress make sure they get support.

hawksruleva on June 25, 2010 at 2:31 PM

kurtzz3 on June 25, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Not to pick nits, but neither did the founders; however, unlike the Democrats, the founders embraced a republic.

DrMagnolias on June 25, 2010 at 2:35 PM

YOU’RE GONNA KILL ELMO!!!!
[...]
Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM

I’m all for bringing back The Muppet Show on some commercial channel so that Elmo and Big Bird, Cookie Monster and The Swedish Chef can all make as much money as their cute little antics can provide.
.
Same thing for Gwen Ifill, Ken Burns, and the Wilson Center Dialogue productions along with Tavis Smiley, they can all compete for approval in the marketplace that has a complete range of viewers who support the programs through advertising.
.
Say, isn’t Elmo a “Red” muppet … ? Hmmmmmmm

ExpressoBold on June 25, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Not to pick nits, [...] the founders embraced a republic.

DrMagnolias on June 25, 2010 at 2:35 PM

That’s not a nit, that’s a fact and they specified a republic for all states, too, right there in the Constitution.

ExpressoBold on June 25, 2010 at 2:43 PM

DEMOCRAts don’t like DEMOCRAcy.

kurtzz3 on June 25, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Actually the democrats like democracy, it always leads to a dictatorship. It is a properly running Republic that they can not stand.

Slowburn on June 25, 2010 at 2:49 PM

NPR is mainly in DC.

There’s a reason why the call DC “Hollywood for Ugly People” and not “Hollywood for Intelligent People”.

They are every bit as arrogant and ignorant as Hollywood, they’re just not as photogenic.

I lived in DC for a decade. There is nowhere else like it, here or abroad, thankfully.

NoDonkey on June 25, 2010 at 3:16 PM

We actually have too few politicians in DC.

Get the House to 1:30,000 and you can’t gerrymander your way to anything… and 9,000 or so Representatives guarantees that even minor demographic shifts in a district will show up between re-apportionments. And gridlock the House, which is a sure remedy for big government… and no company, union, special interest can influence enough Representatives to get pork through.

Give the Senate back to the States.

Get rid of the set number of House members and have that float by proportion as is the given way in the Constitution.

Set the House to a maximum size via enacting a public law for it.

Watch DC deflate as the petty politicians squabble over crumbs and bills stall out until they are comprehensible, readable and short.

It is time to send these Progressive Aristocrats home.

ajacksonian on June 25, 2010 at 3:24 PM

I really don’t understand the point of the 17th amendment. It turns the Senate into another “House” with no accountability except to the political powers.

The real goal was to take power away from the states and give it to the federal government. Consider the main way the federal gov’t controls the states: it taxes their citizens so much that the states can’t afford to take more than a few percent for their own treasury, then “gives back” the money with strings attached. You get highway money for adopting policy X, education money for policy Y.

If you were a Senator held accountable by your state legislature, would you ever in a million years sign on to something like that? Of course not! Your colleagues back home would fire you for usurping their power to tax and spend within the state. But when it’s the general public, they don’t care. They vote for the guy who promises to provide goodies, not the guy who declines to provide goodies so that others back home can provide them.

joe_doufu on June 25, 2010 at 3:28 PM

The 17th was ANOTHER abomination from the Wilson years. ratified in 1913 it took the power away from the states and people of recall. this is why you can’t recall federally elected officials. They hide behind the supremacy clause no matter what the state constitutions say then they use the 10th amendment.

xler8bmw on June 25, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Members of Congress should be glad that we took the yardarms down 200 years ago.

Good riddance to the ones who get voted out in November.

We will get the rest of them in November, 2012.

molonlabe28 on June 25, 2010 at 4:07 PM

If the democraps had listened to their constituencies they would not have radically tried to destroy the economy of this country in the past two years. I don’t recall in 2006 or 2008 when the democraps came back into power that NPR called that the tyranny of the constituents? No, that was regal democracy at work. Once again NPR tries to lay down the conditioning, republicans=tyrants/dictatorships/democraps=loving peaceful people. But due to the unalloyed view of democraps in action over the past few years, the public has finally seen the veil pulled from the democraps in Washington. Hopefully, it’s not too late to undo the vast damage caused by them. Time will tell.

eaglewingz08 on June 25, 2010 at 4:37 PM

“I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: democracy just doesn’t work”
– K. Brockman, news anchor

azkag on June 25, 2010 at 4:49 PM

I am, and have been all along, for repealing the 17th Amendment. Think about it: Your state legislature would once again appoint your senators. For all intents and purposes, the Senate would no longer have a left wing nor a right wing. There’d be no senatorial campaigning; ergo, no “campaign contributions” coming from out-of-state interests.

Your state would have a voice in Congress, supporting and protecting your state’s sovereign powers(the Tenth Amendment).

There would be a check on the interests of certain parties that support governmental charity(commonly called “welfare”) to secure a voting block by placing a road block on such legislation on the national scale. A political party wishing to secure such a block of voters could not long support such a block when all those who earn money a state must confiscate(tax) to support that block move to a state where no such taxes exist. When a political party can move that support to the national level, people and businesses in all states are taxed and there is no state to move to to escape such taxes.

Repealing the 17th Amendment will restore competition between the several states, affording the people choices beyond climate and will force the able to support themselves and limit “welfare”(tax supported charity) to only the truly needy.

Woody

woodcdi on June 25, 2010 at 8:57 PM

YOU’RE GONNA KILL ELMO!!!!

Skywise on June 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM


Elmo can take care of himself.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on June 25, 2010 at 11:16 PM

Part of the causus beli (sp?) of the 17th Amendment was that some states were wrangling over who to appoint, leaving those states without one senator.

A repeal should come with a uniform requirement for appointment of a senator. My method would be appointment by the governor with a legislative confirmation. If no one is confirmed, a senator pro tem can be appointed by the governor alone for a single session, but the pro tem is thus disqualified for appointment as senator for two years after such a service and cannot serve more than twice as senator pro tem.

The other reason for the 17th was corruption at the state level in appointment of senators. The problem with that is is that the solution only concentrated the corruption.

Can you imagine the giant sucking sound of lobbyists leaving DC to disperse themselves to state houses? It would be hard indeed for any single lobbying group to create a power bloc on the Senate floor when, in order to have any effect, the lobbyists have to buy a large number of state houses or senates in order to get “their” guy through.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on June 26, 2010 at 12:02 AM

The “tyranny of constituency” article has been mysteriously put in the memory hole.

JimC on June 26, 2010 at 1:31 AM

I think they’re comparing the need of Congressmen to go back to their constituents to the phrase common in scheduling and task management, The tyranny of the urgent.

That would be the idea that as long as your all your time each day is taken up by things that are urgent, but not important, you’ll never be able to address the things that are more important but not as urgent.

For example, spending all day dealing with the latest demands from others that have to be done now may prevent you from doing long range planning to be better prepared for future demands.

It doesn’t take much to see that spending more time up front on longer-range preparation will eventually save time.

So I think the “tyranny of constituency” probably refers to spending so much time having meetings at home and responding to what your constituency wants that you never really do the proper planning.

Of course, even if I understand this correctly, it’s a big political gaffe to use the word tyranny in a political context critical of Congressman serving their constituents. It just screams that we are an interruption and distraction to the important Congressmen, when their attitude better be the opposite.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 26, 2010 at 2:57 AM

I think this may be the book that originated the phrase, “The Tyranny of the Urgent”

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 26, 2010 at 3:28 AM

NPR news needs to be de-funded and left to fend for itself. (i.e. wither away and die) What a waste of taxpayer dollars.

scotash on June 26, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Part of the causus beli (sp?) of the 17th Amendment was that some states were wrangling over who to appoint, leaving those states without one senator.

Can you imagine the giant sucking sound of lobbyists leaving DC to disperse themselves to state houses? It would be hard indeed for any single lobbying group to create a power bloc on the Senate floor when, in order to have any effect, the lobbyists have to buy a large number of state houses or senates in order to get “their” guy through.
Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on June 26, 2010 at 12:02 AM

As for the states that had trouble appointing someone and leaving an empty seat for a time, who cares! If they were that indecisive to begin with, there would be no sense in sending anyone in in the first place until they CAN make up their minds!

As for the lobbyists having to “make the rounds” courting state legislators instead of hangin’ out in DC courting senators, I’m all for that!

The senators would have to answer directly to their individual state’s government, too. Senators would be sent to DC with marching orders. I see no reason a state couldn’t recall an errant senator as well.

Woody

woodcdi on June 26, 2010 at 8:23 PM