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Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: Living in a representative democracy’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 10 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Too seldom do congressmen and senators defy their party. Ideological purity has become the watchword. All or nothing the motto. Of late, our country has been getting more of the "nothing" than the "all".

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"As a Senator from Utah, I was answerable to the citizens of Utah, not the party. "

And that may be why you are not currently a congressman.

While you may have the freedom to vote any way you want, our system allows money from virtually any source to come in against you.

Our campaign finance, PAC and lobby laws are some of the least stringent in the world.

And the results are obvious. Big Business and Union money can sway elections. And they DO.

No Bob, you are not required to vote with the party, or with business, but those with the money will band together to finance your opposition.

It may not always happen, but the majority of the time, MONEY is what wins elections.

And that money is not free. Those who give it, want something in return. And they usually get it.

Until we get the big money out, our elections and our politicians will be bought and paid for.

Jamescmeyer
Midwest City, USA, OK

“That shows that you live in a representative democracy, which we do not.”

Yes! That's the point! Frequently when I speak with people, particularly younger people (Not that I'm at all old by political standards), they talk about large, sweeping, nation-oriented goals, ideas, and opinions. They assume, even if just subconciously, that the president of the United States is almost a kind of disctator or lone supreme executive, and that everything people vote or consider is nation-oriented, like most other nations.

But the United States doesn't work like that; hence the country's name. We have a central governing body for international representation and defense of our national assets and sovereignty, but we're a collection of individual states that are almost seperate countries in their own right. That's why we don't (or can't, without gross twisting of law) answer issues with "the federal government should/shouldn't do ", like most countries do. It's what has helped the US preserve individual freedom: California can't tell Utah what to do, and Texas doesn't suffer terribly if New Mexico enacts a flawed policy.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

I agree with Bob Bennett on Representative Democracy. Read Article 1, Section 2 to see how Representatives are chosen. Infer from that who those Representatives "represent". Read Amendment 17 to see how Senators are elected. They represent the State even though they are directly elected by the people of a State. Now read Article 2 to see how the President is elected. He represents the States, not the people of the States. The highest executive that directly represents the people is the governor of the State in which we live.

National politics are a figment of government, Nothing is said about belonging to a party in the Constitution. Being a member of a party is not a requirement.

The "fly in the ointment" is that Bob Bennett wants the State Republican Party to select all candidates that will appear on the primary ballot. From one side of his mouth, he tells us that the people should choose their leaders. From the other side of his mouth, he tells us that the people are incapable of choosing the right people and that the Party should choose for the people.

T. Party
Pleasant Grove, UT

@Bailout Bob: "As a Senator from Utah, I was answerable to the citizens of Utah, not the party."

And not to the big banks, whom you were happy to bail out with taxpayer money.

DonO
Draper, UT

I continue to mourn Utah giving up Bob Bennett for Mike Lee. What a colossal blunder!

gmlewis
Houston, TX

Yes, in politics money talks. It is sad that we have political parties. Otherwise, each candidate would have to be bought individually. Political parties allow "group rates."

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

The reason that money is the driving force behind elections is because we have a largely uneducated (politically) electorate that is easily swayed by propoganda. "Name recognition" instead of honest assessment of political views is often what gets too many elected. Flooding the airwaves with tons of expensive advertising (often propoganda) will often get a person elected even if they have no experience (e.g. Obama).

In today's era of easy internet access, there is no excuse for a voter to not know who and what they are voting for, yet too many will just vote for the guy who looks good, promises them free lunches, or tries to scare them from voting for the other guy.

Both parties do this, but if everyone who voted had to take a test on the issues and the candidate's stances (and pass it) before their vote counted, we would have a lot less Democrats in office. Since Democrats oppose any attempt to get rid of voter fraud by having to show eligibility to vote, there is absolutely no chance they would support any measure to insure that a voter was educated about what they were voting for.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The problem we have in listening to politicians is in the definition of words.

As a politician, when Mr. Bennett refers to citizens or people he is probably talking about business people. It's a natural thing, brought about by the fact that business people are more concerned about government than non-business people. It is very likely that 99% of a politician's contact with people is with business people.

However it is great to hear the politicians talk about people. Perhaps someday their actions will match their words.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To JoeCapitalist 2: The votes of people with graduate degrees skew Democratic by a fairly large margin negating your thesis that more education would bring about more Republicans. It was not always so, people with graduate degrees used to be solidly Republican. But since 1988 there has been a radical change. Educated people will not vote for a party that of anti-science, anti-gay, creationist, global-warming deniers.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Jamescmeyer.

The fact is that we no longer live in a world where a confederation of states could exist.

The states only exist because we were able to create a strong national government capable of governing all of the people of the United States of America. Don't let the name fool you, we are one nation, indivisible, with equal justice for all. Or at least we strive to be, and have make much progress toward that which we aspire to, as shown by our success.

Ordinary people and their needs in Texas, California, and even New Mexico are really no different than the people in all the other states. The only things that are different are Weather, Natural resources, and business kingdoms. But for those business kingdoms we would not need separate states.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@JoeCapitalist2 – “The reason that money is the driving force behind elections is because we have a largely uneducated (politically) electorate that is easily swayed by propoganda.”

An accurate observation Joe…

And the best evidence for your view is the type of politicians who have been elevated to the national scene lately – Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and whole host of other “cognitively challenged” wannabe leaders.

At least in Obama’s case, inexperienced as he was, we got a politician who taught constitutional law at one of the finest law schools in the country, so when asked what newspapers he reads probably isn’t fumbling for an answer.

I’m also reminded of your truism every time I tune into AM talk radio or much of what passes for news on Fox. It is mind boggling how often the tactics of emotional manipulation (esp. fear) are used in place of logic, reason, and even handed rational discussion.

But I agree with you that education is key to solving this problem…

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"(often propoganda) will often get a person elected even if they have no experience (e.g. Obama)."

Never understood why Lawyer, "Constitutional Law Professor" or Author does not count as a job or "experience" but, ok.

So, you will be adamantly opposed to Paul Ryan if he runs for president, based on your "criteria"
He has about as little actual "experience" as you can get.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

Roland: "Educated people will not vote for a party that of anti-science, anti-gay, creationist, global-warming deniers."

But they will vote for a party that insists that big government is the answer to every major problem even though government has proven itself incapable in so many instances (e.g. Obamacare being just the latest instance).

I'll refrain from escalating the propaganda war by listing several derogatory terms for the Democratic party as you just did for the GOP.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Did "educated voters" elect Barrack Obama? Did "educated voters" read the monstrosity that is ObamaCare? Do they understand it? Obama doesn't understand it. Pelosi doesn't understand it. Did "educated voters" accept Obama's lame excuse about Benghazi or Clinton's famous, "What does it matter?" statement? Did "educated voters" lose the ability to read when they compared the requirement to have a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause before private emails and phone calls could be spied on by the NSA?

Obama, our "Constitutional Scholar", may be knowledgeable about constitutions, but he knows nothing about OUR Constitution.

"Educated voters" may claim to have received an education, but they don't exhibit any ability to use ordinary objective comparison when presented with what Obama said compared to what Obama did.

The national leaders of both parties are a joke. Harry Reid submitted a bill in Congress immediately after being elected that would have allowed on-line gambling. It's easy to see who paid for his election. John Boehner is little better.

Until the people demand proper representation, the "educated" will continue to tell us that people like Obama will save us from ourselves.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"But they will vote for a party that insists that big government is the answer to every major problem even though government has proven itself incapable in so many instances (e.g. Obamacare being just the latest instance)."

JoeCap. You either have a very sort memory, or a very selective one.

Did you forget the "big government" programs put forth just a few short years ago when the GOP controlled the house, senate AND the presidency?

I am not defending the Dems, but surely you can look up Medicare Part D. And No Child left behind. The GOP sponsored these bills. The current GOP leadership all voted for these bills.

The only time in recent memory or history that the GOP has been fiscally conservative is when they did not control the legislature.

Do you think the GOP was conservative under Reagan? Or G HW Bush?

You talk about the need for an educated electorate and they you push the concept that only the Dems "insists that big government is the answer to every major problem"

It is completely unsupported by the facts.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"Harry Reid submitted a bill in Congress immediately after being elected that would have allowed on-line gambling. It's easy to see who paid for his election. John Boehner is little better. "

Is it any big surprise that Reid pushed for gambling? He is from Nevada and is financed in part by gambling. And Boehner is "little better"?

Remember when he was passing out Tobacco checks to members on Congress on the house floor. And it wasn't even illegal?

I post virtually daily that the big money is corrupting our system. However, you, Mr Richards seem to support it. Do you think that only money given to the Democrats corrupts?

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

JoeBlow:

I never said that Dems were the ONLY supporters of big government solutions. The GOP has failed a number of times to keep the size and scope of government from expanding. The Medicare part D and No Child Left Behind examples you cited are prime examples of this. Power definitely corrupts both sides of the aisle.

But all those "highly educated" Democratic party supporters seem to be the ones most anxious (next to welfare recipients of course) to have government solve all our problems.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Mr. Bennett, there's a difference between "subvert" and "subordinate." JD Williams would've spotted that.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

Bob Bennett says "campaigns have become perpetual. There are no “off years” anymore, those times between elections when legislators used to speak to each other in order to solve problems rather than to exchange insults."

I couldn't agree more.

There's one solution to this: Term limits. I think you should be limited to a single term, period. No more campaigning while you're in office because there's no need to. Once your term is done, you're done.

This is also more in alignment with the intentions of our founding fathers. They never intended lawmaking to become a career. The idea at the time was to work on your farm, get elected to an office by others in your community, serve your term, and then go back to working on your farm. This whole idea of legislator being a lifelong career path does not work in a Representative Democracy, and we can see that very clearly today.

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