From the diaries by Erick
A video of Eric Massa is blowing up. The video captured the Democratic Congressman at the Nutroots convention stating the following:
MASSA: I will vote for the single payer bill.
PARTICIPANT: Even if it meant you were being voted out of office?
MASSA: I will vote adamantly against the interests of my district if I actually think what I am doing is going to be helpful.
(inaudible participants’ comments regarding the “interests” of the district statement from Mr. Massa)
Massa: I will vote against their opinion if I actually believe it will help them.
He is getting pilloried for this, as he should. His constituents should be irate with him. The New York Democrat also stated, “I am in one of the most right wing Republican districts in the country”, which is ridiculous. He is catching hell.
But on the flip side, this begs the question, where do his duties lie? Should he follow his principles and do what he believes is best for his constituents? Or should he be the voice of his constituents and represent their wishes in the federal government?
It’s an interesting question. I am often perplexed by the rigorous double standard applied by some conservatives. We want Republicans, in left of center areas, to act like Massa and put principle first. We excoriate them if they vote in line with their constituents. Yet, those same conservatives demand that moderate or liberal politicians, in right of center areas, abandon their principles and listen to the people that they represent.
Its tough to assert that politicians should listen to “we the people”, but only the correct “we the people” and not those other “we the people”, who don’t really count because they live in Blue states, even if they are law abiding citizens and do count under the Constitution.
That’s a tough line to draw. To me, the answer lies outside of politics. Change the hearts and minds of the people and the rest will follow. I believe a representative should be the voice of the people, but we need an educated, patriotic populace. Education is the key.
This may sound controversial to some, but strong principles require universal application. Selective application betrays the very cause we defend. It also makes conservatives look like partisan hypocrites and conservative positions not well thought out.
So I say cheers to Congressman Massa. You are a principled liberal. But you betray your constituents. For that, you are not worthy of your office and you will be voted out.