Bill Murchison

According to a recent poll by Political Strategies Inc./POLITICO, only a quarter of Americans "trust" Nancy Pelosi.

Mrs. Pelosi, reacting to a question about the poll, replied, "I don't care." The reporter with whom she was speaking said she was "laughing heartily."

Now for today's topic: democracy.

Say what you will about it, and there's plenty to say on both sides, democracy is the system that holds leaders accountable for performance, assuming the voters take the time and trouble -- as increasingly, to Mrs. Pelosi's chagrin, and the president's -- has become the case with health care.

Leading Democrats have bleated like sheep over Congress' inability, unwillingness, or both to follow White House orders and get health care "reform" passed before the August recess.

Guess what these leaders are pretending not to notice: democracy in action. The sovereign people, as orators and such sometimes call them, are growing edgy and nervous; so are, correspondingly, the senators and House members they elected to represent their interests in Washington.

Quite a few of the sovereign people fear that the White House and the Capitol Hill leadership are determined to ram a certain kind of reform down their throats, just as quickly as 300 million American mouths can be pried open to receive same. The White House and the leadership don't want argument or debate. That's why there haven't been substantive debates, just White House press conference lectures on abstractions such as "need," with few connections drawn between problem and indicated solution.

More and more Americans, in short, see their political leadership as issuing orders from yards -- meters -- miles above the common herd, scarcely bothering to explain; more interested in telling than asking, in getting it done as opposed to getting it right.

Brothers and sisters, if that's democracy, then up is down, hard is soft, and Warren Buffett is an apprentice bookkeeper in the Virgin Islands.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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