U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, was in town recently telling folks that he is working hard against Obamacare. No surprise. No plan. No clue. Both Rep. Shuster and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., also voted against raising the debt ceiling, extending unemployment benefits and all bills related to moving our economy forward.
GOP House members have been united in obstruction of any effort to move our economy forward unless it involved a benefits cut for the middle class and a tax cut for the rich. They couldn’t even agree to pay the debts they voted to incur.
The reason the House GOP is in lockstep on all issues is because the rich are watching them. Wealthy political donors anonymously put money into political action groups that “score” how representatives vote. This allows the rich to control our representatives by pouring money into candidates against them in primaries. We have our conservative Supreme Court to thank for turning this scourge loose on our democracy.
This “scoring” is not limited to federal representatives. MSNBC reports that these groups are going to prey on state representatives in 2014. Lord knows, our Republican governor and state representatives have done a less than stellar job for ordinary people — Jim Crow laws on voting, attacks on women, education cuts, creating more unemployment than employment, taxing the wrong gas ($3.75 for gasoline the ordinary Joe has to buy but no tax on Marcellus gas profits). Our state representatives have made it clear: They are controlled by the rich and they, in turn, govern for the rich.
Thinking people can defeat bad policy-makers in spite of the terrible practice of redistricting by politicians. We should also be concerned about possible “wacko birds” (a term used by Sen. John McCain to refer to the tea party) taking the place of the bad policy-makers we currently have. Middle-class voters have to avoid electing two types: those who make policy that only benefits the rich and extremists with a narrow social agenda.
The maxim is true: “All politics is local.” We can’t do anything about changing representatives in other districts or states, but we the people can “score” our representatives and senators and call them out on the excuses they make. The rich could not dominate if we had publicly financed campaigns to level the playing field for all candidates. It’s a question of fairness and preserving democracy.