Taking, er… stealing, a tradition from an old friend I have named my blog posts after song titles for a couple of years. And, yes, there actually is a song titled Weiner’s Decision. It was written by the same person that wrote the music for Pirates of the Caribbean and The Pacific. I can’t find any lyrics, but I think would be fairly easy for anyone to make up their own right now.
I’m a New Yorker – have been here over 25 years and I consider the City my home. But I have to be honest. I think politics in this state has become a sideshow circus and a complete waste of time. The fact that it does not matter to the constituents of the 9th District that Anthony Weiner was caught blatantly lying to reporters about his admittedly strange behavior is par for the course here. Heck, Charlie Rangel was found to be breaking the law and was reelected in a landslide.
I wrote a whole blog post about gerrymandering last year. In that discussion, I talked about how the creation of party-loyal districts made politics more partisan and how they led to dumb policy decisions.
Data on Congressional voting records bears this out. In the 112th Congress, House members voted with their party on average 90% of the time if they were Democrats, and 92% of the time if they were Republican. These same statistics were mirrored in New York (91% for Democrats and 90% for Republicans). In fact only two Democratic members of New York’s Congressional delegation voted with their party less than 90% of the time, and they represented the far north and far western parts of the state.
I don’t know what Congressman Weiner is going to do after he finishes his rehab vacation, but I do know that his resignation will make little difference in his district, in Congress or in the country. That is because the 9th Congressional District was created and mapped so that it would always vote Democratic. It will with 99% certainty elect another Democrat to replace Congressman Weiner and that new Representative would have a clone like voting record – virtually the same as Congressman Weiner’s, and virtually the same as every other Democrat in Congress.
I am a firm believer in the American system of government and think that representative democracy produces some wonderful results. I also think that the vast majority of elected decision makers really have the good of the country at heart.
However, as we discussed last week, group-think is not a really good thing for the economy. Solving today’s big economic problems – be they finding a way to keep social insurance programs solvent, reducing the deficit, or making the tax code fairer and more efficient is not going to happen in a doctrinal environment. I learned long ago (actually when I caught my dad building a tricycle and cursing at the top of his lungs late one Christmas eve) that things were not true and correct simply because I believed them to be, and those in power in Washington and in states and communities across America need to start making decisions based on facts, information, and a wide range of opinions, rather than continuing to believe that Santa exists.