Supply and Demand

More than a few Team-Blue-regulars have commented on their surprise that someone on ‘Team Red’ would give express outrage like this. In thinking about it, isn’t that the way it should be? Shouldn’t the calls for accountability come from within the party? Obviously that hasn’t been happening, and it’s resulted in both sides pointing fingers every time scandal breaks.

With the breakdown of internal regulation, every political scandal boils down to mere posturing and a lack of accountability on both sides. Proper accusations from the opposite side will be met with cries of "You first! You clean your house, and _then_ we'll clean ours." It finally settles into tit for tat and there's no room for principles there. For evidence, look no further than the back and forth in our own backyard.

We, as voters, ought to vote not only on how our representatives vote in Washington, we need to consider how they've addressed scandal within their own ranks. If a senator will not distance him/herself from the scandalous actions of their colleagues, they are likely involved in similar actions themselves, or they lack the will to insist on upright behaviour. In either case, the voter reaction should be the same.

The main problem is a voting public uninterested in anything more complicated than what can fit on a bumper sticker. Informed voters, no matter how well intentioned have influence limited to their proportion within the whole of their party. As a result, I don't believe we'll see a change in Washington accountability until we see a change in the two party system. There are lots of non-participating, eligible voters who are alienated by the limited choices, or disillusioned with national politics all together, possibly resulting from the lack of accountability.

Just look at the political battle which was Election 2004, a lot of republicans wanted to hold Bush accountable for his first term, but what could they have done? Voted for someone who went against a lot of the things they stand for? Not much chance of that. This is the reason Washington and its corporate interests have no plan for changing the number of players in the arena, because voters will push accountability to the back seat when given few options.

Accountability is much like economics, until there's sufficient demand, there'll be insufficient supply; unfortunately, the demand here seems to be measured by volume of voters, not voices.

Posted by Andrew Parker at January 12, 2005 1:12 AM