I love it when progressives tell you what they really think.
North Carolina Governor Beverly Purdue (D) thinks it would be a good idea to suspend Congressional elections so members of Congress don’t need to be accountable to the people who put them in office.
“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover,” Perdue said at a rotary club event in Cary, North Carolina, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “I really hope that someone can agree with me on that.”
Perdue said she thinks that temporarily halting elections would allow members of Congress to focus on the economy. “You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things,” Perdue said.
North Carolina Republicans immediately scoffed at Perdue’s proposal, pointing out to her that elections hold politicians accountable for their actions.
In related news, Peter Orszag, President Obama’s former director of the OMB, says we need a little less democracy.
In an 1814 letter to John Taylor, John Adams wrote that “there never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” That may read today like an overstatement, but it is certainly true that our democracy finds itself facing a deep challenge…If you need confirmation of this, look no further than the recent debt-limit debacle, which clearly showed that we are becoming two nations governed by a single Congress—and that paralyzing gridlock is the result.
So what to do? To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic.
Orszag is right in the sense that the founders knew the dangers of pure democracy. Hence, they left us a representative republic. I’m thinking unaccountable commissions weren’t exactly what John Adams had in mind when he warned of the dangers of democracy.
If anything, we could have used a few more Congresscritters over the years, mucking up the works and making it harder to get things done in DC, not easier. Imagine if the number of representatives grew with the population, rather than just shifting around. Would we have half the miserable laws on the books and debt that we have today? But at this point, that’s just “shoulda, woulda, coulda.” Now we need to elect a conservative majority to undo the damage that’s been done over the past several decades.
I just wonder why these Democrats are floating these ideas now? Hasn’t President Obama himself openly fantasized about working around Congress? What are they up to? (Besides what they’ve already been up to, that is.)
Update: Purdue claims her comment about suspending elections was a joke. The DC uncovered the audio, and it doesn’t sound like she was joking to me.