Civic Duty Calls

Civic Duty Calls
I might be an old tired curmudgeon. But civic duty sometimes demands that we stand up and speak up. (image from http://quirkyberkeley.com/don-quixote-and-the-windmills/)

My Challenge ... Right Here in My Own Back Yard



What can we do to challenge the powers that be within a two-party system that is actually not useful in its current form.

We start at home.

In thinking about what I might do and how I might do it, I did some research into what shakes up a system on the local level. Obviously the personal shake-up at the local level is an incumbent who is challenged for election and who loses that election.

In 1995 the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives was Representative Tom Foley, the U.S. Representative from Washington's 5th District. Foley was a Democrat who was first elected in 1964 at the urging of Senator Scoop Jackson. Foley was re-elected 15 times. After his 13th election win, Foley was elected Speaker, taking the place of another Democrat who had stepped down because of an ethics scandal.

Foley was re-elected for two more terms but then was challenged by George Nethercutt in 1994.

During his time in the House, Foley repeatedly opposed efforts to impose term limits on Washington state's elected officials, winning the support of the state's voters to reject term limits in a 1991 referendum; however, in 1992, a term limit ballot initiative was approved by the state's voters.
Foley brought suit, challenging the constitutionality of a state law setting eligibility requirements on federal offices. Foley won his suit, with a United States district court declaring that states did not have the authority under the United States Constitution to limit the terms of federal officeholders.
However, in Foley's bid for a 16th term in the House,   his Republican opponent, George Nethercutt, used the issue against him, properly citing the caption of the federal case brought by Foley, "Foley against the People of the State of Washington".
Nethercutt vowed that if elected, he would not serve more than three terms in the House. Foley lost in a narrow race. While Foley had usually relied on large margins in Spokane to carry him to victory, in 1994 he won Spokane by only 9,000 votes, while Nethercutt did well enough in the rest of the district to win overall by just under 4,000 votes.
Foley became the first sitting Speaker of the House to lose his bid for re-election since Galusha A. Grow in 1862. He is sometimes viewed as a political casualty of the term limits controversy of the early 1990s. - Wikipedia
Nethercutt, who had promised to self-limit to only three terms after replacing Foley who had completed 15 terms, became his own term-limits hypocrite.

In 2000, when his self-imposed three-term limit would have kicked in, Nethercutt changed his mind and announced his intention to run again, infuriating term-limits supporters. Nethercutt was nevertheless re-elected without much difficulty in 2000 and in 2002. - Wikipedia
Nethercutt subsequently decided to reach for another plum - apparently  over-estimating the clout he has assumed he had earned in predominately Republican Eastern Washington - and challenged incumbent Democrat Patty Murray. 

The term-limits issue that had helped Nethercutt topple a  Speaker of the House, came back to haunt him when Murray and the Democrats made hay of the same issue with Nethercutt's broken promise to limit his career in the House to 3 terms.

Furthermore, Nethercutt supported the policies of a controversially unpopular party leader, President George W. Bush, whose invasion of Iraq left Bush's popularity barely marginal. Already an underdog as a Republican candidate in Washington, a so-called Blue State dominated  by Washington's western side, Nethercutt lost to Murray in a landslide.

Nethercutt was succeeded by Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican state legislator who was groomed by her state and national party to insure Republican control of the 5th District and the Eastern side of the state. Eastern Washington - particularly in the rural communities is overwhelmingly Republican and seems to reflect what I can only call a party and media-led campaign of political propaganda that has been extremely effective and very poorly resisted or countered by Democrats. 

As we saw in the recent election successes of Trump and the Republicans, the Democrats failed to take seriously the concerns of the state as a locale of mixed entities. It seems that to Democrats, urban liberals are worth more than rural conservatives. The problems of urban liberals have always appeared to be the Democratic path to electoral success. For the Republicans, not so.

However, when all is said and done, both parties live and die financially by the generosity and greed of donors who are able to hand out fortunes in extremely large amounts. Both parties in fact live or die by acting on the priorities of those who put money in the outstretched hands of folks who promised to look out for us and fight against the outstretched hand behaviors of everybody but themselves.

Which brings me to my representative, Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Considered to be the most powerful Republican female in the House of Representatives, if not the party nationally. McMorris Rodgers has essentially  marched in lock-step with the Republican party going back to her first term.

A roster of her legislative accomplishments represent two things:

1) If you read what Cathy McMorris Rodgers proudly touts as her legislative, administrative and compassion actions on behalf of residents of Washington, it is important to realize that voters elected her to do those things. Doing those things became her job. The truth is that any competent representative - regardless of political party - could justifiably be expected to do a job with the same effectiveness. Otherwise we would have to listen to her political advertising as a declaration that no other human being would have been able to pull off the "miracle" she single-handedly accomplished.

The truth is, that we do not elect super candidates who will be able to deliver on any promise the candidate or the candidate's party tries to sell.

2) What she has done or not done for our country between 2004 and 2016 vividly reflects what her party has don or not done for country. For the most part what the party has legislated is that for which she has represented us by her votes. What the party has opposed, likewise is reflected by the votes she cast on our behalf. They have been totally ideological to that insane degree that deteriorated with the election of Barak Obama and the resulting 8 years of total and unrelenting obstruction.

The icon for this disastrous behavior of harming America is revealed by all the good and positive things that could have been done - had time been prioritized to genuinely work on such issues - had the obstruction not dominate the use of government time and taxpayer money.

Since its legislation, the Republican Party has attempted to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act (which her party negatively propagandized as "Obamacare,") more than 60 times. Quite literally, Cathy McMorris Rodgers spent our time and our money trying to repeal a single law an average of ten times per year through 2016.

She wasted our time, our money, and accomplished little. Today, despite the promises she makes in public, her party does not have a viable or adequate replacement program for the ACA.


In Eastern Washington, voters elected and then re-elected the same campaign-promise-making, rhetoric-spouting Democrat (Foley) for 30 years. Voters elected and then re-elected the same campaign-promise-making, rhetoric-spouting Republican (Nethercutt) for 12 years.

The truth is, voters have elected Voters then re-elected the same campaign-promise-making, rhetoric-spouting Republican (McMorris Rodgers) for 12 years.

That's 30 years of Democrats followed by 24 years of Republicans and we have as evidence of quality representation, a circumstance that has led to the election of the most unqualified, inept and self-interested politician in our history.

How did that happen? I suggest that the principle reason is the capturing of the vaunted American Version of a Two Party System that has failed us; that has proven to be the least useful system by which we can experience wise governance.

                           What's wrong with our two party system?

What can we do to challenge the powers that be within a two-party system that is actually not useful in its current form.

We start at home.

Nethercutt was first elected to Congress in 1994 in a dramatic election in which he unseated the Speaker of the House, Tom Foley.

It was the first time he'd run for office.

That's why I'm thinking about running.

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