The statements reek of elitist self-importance. Almost by definition, "really good" presidents are re-elected. And while, occasionally, a mediocre president also gets re-elected -- provided the country's at peace and the economy is humming along -- all the one-termers I can think of fall into the mediocre or worse category. And who is it that Pelosi thinks determines "the work of the American people?" Shouldn't the people have a say in what constitutes their own "work"?
The White House has now set a deadline of March 18 for Congress to pass the largest piece of social legislation in the last 50 years. What's so important about that date? Will millions of Americans suddenly lose their health care or premiums skyrocket that day? No, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, it's just that Obama is leaving on a trip to visit his boyhood home of Indonesia that day and, apparently, wouldn't want to be inconvenienced by waiting for Congress to engage in more thorough deliberation and debate.
The president has already made more foreign trips than any of his predecessors at this point, but, of course, the "deadline" is just another way to pressure Democrats to get the bill passed before there is more public outcry that might convince elected officials to vote the way their constituents want them to.
Democrats need to ask themselves the following question: Whom do I owe loyalty to: the people who elect me or the leaders of my party? True democrats -- regardless of party -- understand that they are not in office to fulfill their own wishes. They are there as the representatives of the people. Democrats who choose to follow President Obama and Speaker Pelosi, in defiance of their constituents, aren't just jeopardizing their political futures. They're acting undemocratically.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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