Shultz and the Founding Fathers

Debbie Wasserman SchultzOne of my least favorite people is Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz – the Representative of Florida’s 20th Congressional District and the chair of the Democratic National Committee. I do not have many people that are on my least favorite list. However – while she does not top the list by any stretch of the imagination – she has a significant place because she represents the wisdom of the Founding Fathers while at the same time demonstrating how we as a country have managed to undermine that wisdom.

As a Democrat – indeed the chair of that party – her job is to appear on the media networks and news outlets and decry and lambaste every Republican initiative. In December she called the actions of the Speaker of the House “irresponsible.” (Politico). During the Presidential elections, she misrepresented (have to be careful about saying “lied about”) Mitt Romney’s positions on Israel (Fox Nation), Abortion (HotAir), Tax Returns (Politifact) and other issues. She does not always get her facts straight (indeed she once claimed that political agenda gives her the right to lie {Human Events}), but as the as the party mouthpiece, she does her job well.

She has also brought home a significant amount of money for her district. According to LegiStorm, Ms. Schultz brought home close to 500 million dollars to her home state and district between 2008 and 2010. (LegiStorm ) The earmarks stopped in 2010 as a result of national outcry.

In short, Ms. Schultz is a very loose and dangerous cannon. She very rarely gets her facts straight, she has voted for every tax increase that comes down the line, and enthusiastically carries the water for the President and the DNC.

And the Founding Fathers accounted for her.

The House of Representatives was always designed to be a hotbed of debate and rhetoric. Holding a term of only two years, they were the direct and closest representation of the will of the people. They brought the immediate concerns and ideas of their districts to a national government for airing and consideration. Because they are closest to the people, any tax bills must come out of the House first. In this aspect, Ms. Schultz represents her people, her party, and her own philosophy well. As the Founders intended.

And, her impulsiveness and utter irresponsibility were accounted for by the creation of the Senate.

An oft-quoted story about the “coolness” of the Senate involves George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who was in France during the Constitutional Convention. Upon his return, Jefferson visited Washington and asked why the Convention delegates had created a Senate. “Why did you pour that tea into your saucer?” asked Washington. “To cool it,” said Jefferson. “Even so,” responded Washington, “we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.” (The Senate )

 The Senate was a long-term deliberative body. With an elected span three times that of the House, their job was to take the concerns of the House and weigh them against the needs of the country and the states. Never originally elected by the people directly, Senators were not meant to represent a Democratic philosophy of government, but a much more Republic one. Thomas Jefferson and crew realized that the people often get stirred up about issues that have short term intensity. Trying to address and/or fix every short term issue is bad for the country in the long haul. So, the Senate slows things down.

Or, at least that was the idea.

Unfortunately, in 1913 the country ratified the 17th Amendment – which put the election of Senators directly in the hands of the people. Previously, Senators were either appointed by state governors or elected by state legislatures. Heralded as a response to graft and corruption, the Amendment was heralded as the Populist movement’s desire to make the Senators directly responsible for their actions. (http://www.senate.gov/legislative/common/briefing/Senate_legislative_process.htm)

And that is where we screwed things up.

The framers of our country both despised and feared the idea of a Democracy.

  • Thomas Jefferson: Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49% (Monticello ).
  • John Adams: Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. (Dictionary.com)
  • Benjamin Franklin: Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch (CancerTutor – )

In short, these wise people of 2 centuries ago knew what apparently we do not – that Democracy is both dangerous and short lived. A Republic – where representatives are held accountable for their actions only during elections – is the only long-standing and fair type of government.

Because of this short-sidedness by Americans in 1913, Ms. Schultz and her ilk have more power and voice than they should. Instead of being given a polite hearing and then sent packing by the statesmen of the Sentate – she is given even more access because the Senators themselves are worried about polls and other indicators which affect their political career. The Senate no long allows the House to simmer down – in fact it often turns up the heat.

So, what do we do? As hard as it is to ratify an Amendment to the Constitution, it is even harder to remove it. And – quite frankly – such a “Non Democratic” action (which – in all truth it is and must be) will never go over with the population that would vote on such a repeal. Neither can we place any hope in the Senators and politicians themselves to abide by the precepts of the Founders – most of them abdicated statemenship for career politics long ago.

The system is broken. Thursday, we will look at the only way to fix it.

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