Based on the May 18th election results, being an incumbent in the election process did not seem offer the same positive benefits of days gone by. While a few incumbents, such as Sen Arlen Spector and Rep Alan Mollohan, were decisively defeated in primary challenges from members of their own political party, Sen Blanche Lincoln was forced into a primary runoff where she will face a Democratic electorate that favored her opponents by 56%.
Though the above mentioned are Democrats, the recent primary defeat of Sen Bob Bennett in Utah also gave notice to Republicans that voters are unhappy with those currently serving in office.
Does this mean that voters are looking at those elected officials currently serving as failures? Or, have the voters simply become outraged at the back room deals, bullying, public payoffs, catering to union thugs, buying and selling of votes, while they were passing unread trillion dollars bills that were not only unfavorable to the voting pubic, but where chock full of payoffs to special interest groups?
Or maybe voters have simply been sickened by the actions of a political body that has left them feeling like they have no voice, or representation, in the process?
Mr. Dick Morris notes that both Specter and Lincoln are now reaping the harvest of their votes for health care, a fate soon to be shared by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.), Michael Bennet (D Col.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). And the liability of incumbency was also vividly on display a week ago when long time Democratic incumbent Congressman Alan Mollohan (D-W Va.) was upended in his primary contest.
The harsh verdict on incumbents stems not so much from party preferences as from revulsion at the legislative process itself. The by-product of violating Bismark´s maxim that the public should never see sausage being made or a law being passed is that those who do the latter in full public view are doomed to end their legislative careers in defeat. The unseemly bargaining, machinations, and overt buying and selling of votes that characterized the health care debate of 2009-2010 has left so sour a taste in voter mouths that they understandably dismiss those incumbents from office whenever they can.
The fact that President Obama let the Congress write the two thousand page bill in public and that Reid and Pelosi negotiated for votes in front of the media, has amplified voter anger at Congress. Watching the deals being hatched and votes switching proved too much for the electorate to stomach. Now it is expressing its discontent with the legislative shenanigans it has had to watch.
This year is not just an anti-Democrat year. It is an anti-incumbent year.
The coming November election may bring resounding change to our nation’s capitol. However, unless those currently serving wake up and smell the coffee, the 2012 elections may prove to be an even larger bloodbath for both parties.
In Virginia we are represented by Democrat Sens Jim Webb and Mark Warner. Both men have been avid supporters of the Socialist party bills that have outraged and disenfranchised the voters they were elected to represent.
Sen Webb, who once claimed to be a Conservative, is facing reelection in 2012. I notice that he has largely backed off on the constant e-mails proclaiming Obama policies are the nation’s cure for all that is wrong. Could the recent Republican landslide in state elections possibly be influencing his behavior? Or could it have been e-mails like mine that challenged his Conservatism and labeled him a Socialist? How will he vote in support of Obama policies in the future? Will voters remember his support of the unpopular healthcare bill two years from now? Will they remember his support of a financial reform bill that leaves Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, those responsible for the recent economic meltdown, totally untouched and allowed to continue business as usual?
The truth is no one can predict the future. But, I have a long-term memory. I intend to be here this November challenging Rep Connolly and I plan to be here in two years challenging Mr. Webb on his support of Socialist policies. I will remind voters of their supposed Conservative credentials and they sold them out to special interest groups. My voice alone may not make a difference, but there are hundreds like me. Soon there may be thousands and all of us will be reminding voters of the sins of the incumbents. We will be demanding new elected officials that will represent the will of people who elect them.
Our hope is to make every election an ‘anti-incumbent’ year until we have an elected body that places the will of the people first and truly serves in the best interest of our nation.
Back to the question, does incumbent mean failure. I think it does. When you fail to get your message across. When you fail to connect with the people who elected you. When you fail to notice the majority of the people do not support you. When you fail to place the public interest above your own. When you fail to read and understand thousand page, trillion dollar bills prior to voting for them. I would say that you pretty much ‘failed’ as an elected official.
It matters little what your political party affiliations are. Voters are more concerned with your actions than your words or your motivations. When you fail to consider that a majority of the voters may not like your actions it is time for someone to show you the door.
Hopefully, the results of the November 2010 elections will do what no political body will. Give us the term limits we so desire 🙂