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edward long

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Is it possible our Senators are voting strictly in accordance with their party? Should they be?

The Hagel vote is in. 99 Senators voted. Of the 53 Democrats all voted YEA except one did not vote. All 41 of the NAY votes were Republicans. All Independents (2) voted YEA. 4 Republicans opposed their party line and voted YEA. Not one single Democrat has a serious concern about Hagle's qualifications? 100% of the Democrats did not vote against Hagel while 90+% of the Republicans did vote against his nomination. It seems either the Republicans are unjustified in opposing Hagel, or the Demcrats are blind to what the Republicans see. Doesn't one of those have to be true?

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Closing Statement from edward long

I guess I am the only one shocked by the stark partisanship in the Hagel vote results. All respondents seem unimpressed with the idea that ALL Democrats voted the party line and 90+ % of the Republicans did likewise. Even the Independents all voted the same way. It looks like our nation is being run by the party bosses and their cronies who establish the party line. These folks are not elected. Something is rotten in the state of America. Thanks to the six respondents.

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    Feb 27 2013: No, one of those does not have to be true. I have far less respect for the halls of Congress than you appear to.
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      Feb 27 2013: Are there not just three possibilities on the Hagel issue?
      1) Hagel is possibly/probably qualified. This gets a YEA vote.
      2) Hagel is possibly/probably not qualified.This gets a NAY vote.
      3) Qualifications do not matter. It is a political issue. This gets a vote according to party dictates.
      I am suggesting the frightening notion that our nation operates on option #3. Do we agree on that?
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        Feb 27 2013: Mostly, of course, but not entirely. There are a FEW exceptions on SOME issues. Surely you have known this for a long time.
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          Feb 27 2013: You are right, I have known this for a long time but today the internet makes it so easy to get the vote results and see for one's self that there is a stark polarization in America. Issues are rarely black and white. But the way the party politicians are voting today one would think they are. We should rename the partys from Republican and Democrat to YEA and NAY, or Positive and Negative, or Red and Blue. Life is not binary. Everything is not solvable by a litmus test. Why, then, do our elected representatives MOSTLY (thank you) vote as their party says?
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    Feb 27 2013: The 2 pertinent points about politics is that politicians ONLY care about 2 things:

    1 get elected

    2 get reelected

    They vote the way their constituents want them to vote.
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      Feb 27 2013: like any animal has two goals, survive and reproduce. animals having any other goals are at a disadvantage, and sooner or later extinct.
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        Feb 27 2013: People are naive in thinking that politicians give a rats ass about anything else though.
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          Feb 27 2013: True dat. But if that sold-out vermin gets hundreds, or thousands, of emails saying "Vote this way or I will not vote for you the next time you run!", wouldn't it affect the way s/he votes? I think it would. Right now it looks like our reps are being controlled by the party and not by their constituents. Agreed?
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      Feb 27 2013: Very good points sir, but only surface scratchers I fear. Deep down I vote for a candidate because I choose to accept what they tell me about themselves. Obviously I will never find a candidate who will agree with my position on everything. I disagree that a vote should be considered wasted every time someone you voted for acts contrary to your preferences. That is not realistic. Total, pure Democracy is neither possible nor advisable. Straight Democracy would allow every citizen (via the Internet?), even the uninformed and unconcerned ones to have a voice in government. In a representative government with more than one party only those who bother to register to vote, and vote, can play a part in directing their own lives. The others just have to take what they get. Every elected official, like every human, has a will of their own.
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      Feb 27 2013: At what point do Senators know how their party wants them to vote? Do the expressed wishes of the constituency figure-in somewhere? I cannot believe 100% of the registered Democrats are in favor of Hagel's nomination. Real life is not neatly divided into black and white so why is the process which produces the most influencial decisions operated as if it were? What if a Senator gets 100 comments from constituents and only 35 of them align with the party position? Does the Senator vote the party line or the majority opinion of constituents? We are a Representative Republic, not a Democracy. Elected officials are obligated to represent the wishes of the People, not the party big wigs. Do you agree?
  • Feb 27 2013: It is not surprising that political appointments result in politically aligned votes, but the extent of party loyalty/discipline has reached an alarming extreme. I suspect this involves campaign financing. IMO gerrymandering also contributes to political extremism.
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      Feb 27 2013: Maybe the question is whether the party line is consistent with the wishes of the registered members of that party. Sure, many votes are predictable from party affiliation alone. But, as you say, it seems troublesome when 100% of the party's Senators vote the way they are told. It seems improper, or maybe defective.