Members of Congress have little fear of losing their jobs. It was once said that the only threat was a scandal involving a live boy or a dead girl and Barney Frank and Ted Kennedy have disproved that.
A few may live in rare marginal districts where they can be ousted but most have a lot going for them. Do the odd jobs for constituents, hand out the pork, and cater to the special interests that finance your campaign and you have a lifetime job. As an incumbent, you may have ‘party leaders’ discouraging any primary challenges as well as franking privileges and great name recognition. Why worry about a voting record? Who cares about issues?
An incumbent with nearly a million dollars in the bank for the next campaign has little to fear from the citizenry. Such aristocrats can buy the local media support and ignore the voices of protest from the public. Slick ads and slogans seem to work wonders.
Many Republicans lost their way after years in the political wilderness. Some seemed to be as generous with the taxpayer’s money as the Democrats that they replaced. Yet their blatant misuse of earmarks reduced their appeal to the voters who wanted to see a difference made and did not want the same old snake oil in a different bottle.
Perhaps the righteous indignation being shown in some ‘town hall’ meetings is the tip of an iceberg of simmering public outrage. The hanging in effigy of freshman Democrat Kratovil in Maryland’s First District might not have been as impressive as tar and feathers but he did get the point. Kratovil won his election with 49% of the vote so he might pretend to be listening to the angry voices. It should be noted that Kratovil narrowly defeated a Republican who defeated a rather dull-witted RINO incumbent in the primary.
How many other incumbents are too stupid or arrogant to hear the voices of discontent? Will their sycophants tell them that all is well?