Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Are the Democrats Punting?

A comment over on Blue Jersey about the state of our Congressional District really raised an eyebrow and got me thinking. The comment was this:
I'll give you another example - I live in NJ-5, Scott Garrett is my congressman. It is looking more and more like the county parties aren't going to put ANYONE up - at a time where republican turnout will be higher and more motivated than the past 5+ years.
This is a sad statement on our politics in their current state. Gerrymandering has gotten to a point where folks like Garrett can serve until they are redistricted out or retire. His only threat real and perceived is in the primary, when the smallest fraction of the electorate makes all the decisions. Democrats won't run anyone because they don't want to spend the money. Politics is a business.

This reality undermines the entire intent of a Representative being accountable to their constituents. Forget the fact that the Democrats can't get someone who believes enough in their values to step up. With the Democrats punting, there's no one to bring up relevant questions for voters to ponder at the ballot box. Why vote against small business tax cuts repeatedly? Why vote against balancing the budget repeatedly? Why vote against extending unemployment benefits repeatedly? Why vote to hasten Medicare's insolvency?

Granted, Garrett is by all accounts safe in this seat. In fact it hasn't really been close on election day in a very long time. That said, Democrats failure to supply voters with any kind of alternative abdicates their fundamental responsibility in our already flawed two party system.


Theresa said...

Matthew, the problem is two-fold at least.

First of all, the DNC has no money to spend on local elections; They're too busy dumping $500K into single ad buys for Nebraska's Sen. Ben Nelson's to defend his health care vote. (How'd that get ya, huh? He's now siding with the Repubs on a fillibuster for Obama's Labor nominee).

Then there's Chris Matthews, who says to Garrett in a recent Hard Ball interview: There's a few wacky's out there in your party, but you're not one of them.

It seems like they're trying to mainline this guy.

Our only hope is the drawing of new congressional districts after the 2010 Census when NJ loses a House seat and NJCD05 is merged into another district.

rmfretz said...

Thanks for stopping by, as always. I saw the Matthews thing, and fired off an e-mail. Who knows if they'll ever read it, but I really took the comment to task.

Even if there's no money, there has to be a name on the ballot. That gets all of the free press a candidate can get, at least one debate but usually three, and when all else fails a place for the opposition to lodge their displeasure.

Jill said...

Thanks for that tip. I just blogged it at Sweet Jesus I Hate Chris Matthews.

It's appalling that the Democrats are abdicating their responsibility to give voters a choice. But I'm used to it. I live in a town that had uncontested elections for 28 years and finally we get one and they vote for the same Republican crooks who have been running the town the whole time.