Is it mob mentality that makes us Congressional Republicans follow our leaders in lock-step or is the threat of early withdrawal from our funding sources if we don’t deliver? Probably a little of both.
Getting elected to national public office (in the United States) is an expensive endeavor. Subsequently, holding onto it for any extended period becomes tedious. That money-furnace must be stoked constantly. In congress, it’s survival of the richest. We could be deeply civic-minded, intellectually superior, well-credentialed with degrees in finance, political science or law but unless we spend our time cultivating wealthy donors, our chances of being elected, or re-elected vaporize. We learn to beg in one form or another to fund our campaigns. Seeing us panhandling may seem demanding and incongruous with holding high office but I assure you it’s the biggest part of the job.
Now my confession…
I started out thinking I could make a difference. I don’t like giveaways. I don’t like immigrants, welfare, government assistance, Planned Parenthood, spending, deficits, the poor and waste. I think the people who make this country function, who put people to work and give them paychecks should be rewarded—not taxed more. Frankly, these are the people who seem to want to help me too so when they offered, I said sure and the money came in. It kind of reminds me of the movie The Godfather.
So whether the money came from casino-owner Sheldon Adelson (worth $30 billion) or Charles and David Koch (worth $100 billion) or any of the minor conservative billionaires, I didn’t really care. Their checks made me happy and life is good. All I have to do is vote their way. I almost never think about the actual voters who put me in office. You know, the ones who thought I would make life better for them. Now that the Kochs have successfully gerrymandered my district as well as many others, I’m a shoe-in for the next election as long as they like me. Sometimes a feel a little bad for my constituents as I take away their Obamacare, raise their middle class taxes that we’ve renamed a “tax cut”, snip away at their government safety net not to mention pulling the rug out from the DACA kids who came with their immigrant parents—no fault of their own. I should feel guilty I guess but I’m just so focused on doing the right thing for the Kochs that I can’t think beyond that. Someone told me that meditation could help me reduce some of this conflict and stress but it seems so liberal.
I haven’t had a town meeting in 4 years and even though the answering machines at my 4 offices are full and won’t take more calls, I feel that my one and only responsibility is to Davy and Charlie Koch. I think in the bible, it says, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” and if I want those evangelical votes, I better follow the good book. Maybe it wasn’t the bible but I also found that I no longer have to be accurate because none of my colleagues are.
I’m glad I still have my integrity. So many in politics wind up selling their influence—turning tricks for a pittance. That great Roman leader Nero had it right. Perhaps I’ll take up the fiddle.