Friday, July 13, 2012 9:13 AM
This seems a bit simplistic. In my mind, to be sure, the thoughtful, civic-minded, policy-over-party type deserves respect. Indeed I hope I'm one. There is a difference, though, between (1) regarding policy over party versus (2) accepting one party's talking points over another's.
If a politician genuinely disagrees with his nominal party's position on an issue, or if the politician believes that truly representing his/her constituency requires a position opposite his/her party, then that politician ought not be booed in that occasional opposition.
That's alot different, though, than choosing the opposing party's talking-point version of a policy or going with the opposing party's side because you think your constituents agree with that inaccurate portrayal.
Health care is a good example(and this isn't an argument on the merits of ACA, so take this all as 'for argument's sake'). Let's say the ACA really created a single payer system of goverment-run insurance, hospitals, and doctor's offices. Reasonable people can differ on the wisdom of that, and a Democrats in conservative districts ought to think that one out carefully.
But let's say ACA kept the existing private insurance, hospitals, doctor's offices system, allowed everyone to keep existing plans, created a broader market with more competition, and tossed in a few regulations to make insurance companies more consumer frieldy. Of course, the opposing party is going to distort the actual policy. The Democrat in a conservative district has a choice: (1) talk to the constituents, make sure they really know the policy, then work with them to conclude on how the politician and constituents really feel about the policy; or (2) assume the constituents believe the distorted version of the policy, assume you're in a conservative district wherein you win only by convincing them you're conservative, and vote with the opposing party.
Choice 2 strikes me as weak - and I think that's why folks have been disappointed.