Randy Yale's Blog
Stay in touch with our latest news, thoughts in issues and status of our campaign!
I often hear people say that they are not politically engaged because their elected officials don't represent them. I have heard this sentiment from co-workers, parents at my children's baseball and soccer games, and while listening to radio call-in shows. Some version of "they are only out for themselves" is part of their critique of current politics. And often that statement is linked to "there is no real difference between the two parties."
As a Democrat, I strongly disagree. As I have been visiting Democratic Town Committee meetings throughout my district, I have found dedicated folks who work to make our government benefit all our fellow citizens. Yet, there is a siren song of money and power that causes many of our high-profile Democrats to reinforce the cynicism inherent in the "they are all alike" beliefs.
In today's New York Times there is an article about for-profit colleges that exemplifies why many Americans don't find Democrats more appealing than Republicans. As the article states:
"A who’s who of Democratic lobbyists — including Richard A. Gephardt, the former House majority leader; John Breaux, the former Louisiana senator; and Tony Podesta, whose brother, John, ran Mr. Obama’s transition team — were hired to buttonhole officials."
One paragraph later the article informs us that a friend of former speaker Pelosi also lobbied against regulations that were devised to help working-class Americans.
Now I believe Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi have done much good in their long careers. But I spend an inordinate amount of time consuming political news. To most people it appears that powerful Democrats don't have core values, rather they have positions that are subject to change if enough money is offered.
Even the appearance of being "for sale" is corrosive. If we as Democrats want to gain long-term support from voters, then we need to tune out the siren's song of money. I have pledged to do just that. Now one of the active Democrats I spoke with this week expressed concern that I am offering voters a "pledge." As she said, "it reminds me too much of Grover Norquist." I understand that concern. But I also know that many of the folks who tell me that the two parties don't have anyone who "truly represents" them will then share that they intend to vote for the Republican because they at least know "Republicans won't raise taxes."
I am convinced that a more powerful belief would be that "Democrats won't sell their vote."