Perspective: Elected should check the President’s power

Last week, Senator John McCain issued a call to action to his colleagues in Congress who go back to work today. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, McCain urged Republicans and Democrats to find real and lasting solutions to the nation’s problems through compromise, pragmatic problem-solving, and respectful dialogue.

McCain acknowledged the difficulty of breaking through Washington’s political gridlock, citing obstacles such as a sharply polarized atmosphere, self-created crises, national political campaigns that never end, majorities that refuse to make concessions, and a president who “has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed, and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct.”

It’s probably worth it to reflect that some of our current problems are a result of partisan gerrymandering. In March of 2010, Karl Rove issued a call to action of his own. In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, subtitled, “He who controls redistricting can control Congress,” Rove laid out a plan to win majorities in state legislatures across the country. That year, the GOP spent $30 million to win full control of 25 state legislatures and 29 governorships—just in time to redraw the electoral maps. Multiple statistical tests have found a persistent Republican advantage in the hundreds of U.S. House races from 2012 to 2016 that cannot be explained by chance.

There is debate about whether an effect of gerrymandering is extremist politicians. At the least, gerrymandering reinforces hyper-partisanship. It certainly makes seats uncompetitive. And safe seats incentivize representatives to put the interests of their parties above those of their constituents.

Here in Indiana’s eighth district, gerrymandering has made an impact. We are no longer “The Bloody Eighth.” We are a safe, Republican district; Larry Bucshon was elected in November, 2010.

In his op-ed, McCain reminded his colleagues of their two-fold duty: to represent their constituents and to serve as a check on the president’s power.

Historically, Bucshon has refused to represent his voters. He supports policy that would gut funding for public schools. He consistently votes against controlling toxic pollution. He voted to take healthcare away from over 470,000 Hoosiers. He voted to undo laws designed to protect consumers and prevent another financial disaster. Because, he says, he doesn’t believe in climate change, he’s hostile to clean energy, but he doesn’t have to believe in the science to believe in the economics. Clean energy is the fastest-growing business sector globally. In the U.S., where job growth has slowed under the Trump administration, and wages have been stagnant, it feels like it would make sense to enact policies that are friendly to an industry that is creating jobs, making money, attracting investors, and experiencing demand. But the only industries Bucshon is friendly toward are agriculture, oil, and coal, to the detriment of his constituents.

Under a popular Democrat, Bucshon was happy to check the president’s power. Now, under a Republican president with historically low approval ratings in his first term, Bucshon is a rubber stamp. Bucshon votes in line with Trump’s positions 97.6% of the time, according to the political site FiveThirtyEight. And, Bucshon refused to rebuke President Trump for his remarks on the events in Charlottesville, despite requests from his constituents (including this one) to do so, and despite the backlash against the president from CEOs, charities, religious leaders, American allies, other Republicans, and more.

As McCain points out in his op-ed, Congress is facing several issues of vital importance this fall, including the budget, tax reform, infrastructure, and immigration. Some of our representatives may not be willing to do their jobs, but we have to do ours: contacting our legislators about the issues that concern and affect us, keeping a watchful eye on how they vote and what they say, and holding them accountable for their job performance at the ballot box.

Carrie Dwyer
Evansville, Ind.

5 Responses to Perspective: Elected should check the President’s power

  1. Daryl Hensley September 5, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    Fact Check on: Election Should Check the Presidents Power.

    1. “Partisan Gerrymandering”: Actually Gerrymandering is only effective in the US House of Representatives on a Federal election level. You can’t gerrymander a US Senate District since that is a state wide election. So Gerrymandering may affect half of Congress but not all of Congress. Gerrymandering does not affect Governors races and 34 states are controlled by Republicans. Gerrymandering is irrelevant in Presidential elections and Trump won 30 states. I think your point would be more valid if the Governor-ships nationally would be more 50/50 but that is not the case. The fact that 52 Senate seats are Republican and 34 governorship’s are Republican and the fact that 30 states voted for Trump tell me that Gerrymandering is not the issue but Democratic policies not embraced by the majority of citizens in the states who voted Republican.

    2. “Historically, Bucshon has refused to represent his voters”: I find it hard to believe that a US House Representative could win re-election. Bucshon, in 2014, won the district by 25% points over his opponent and in 2016 won re-election by more than 32% points.

    3. Larry Bucshon represents Indiana’s 8th Congressional District. He doesn’t represent all of the citizens of the state of Indiana or all of the citizens of the United States. He represents the voters in Indiana’s 8th District. He is one vote in 435. The citizens of District 8 don’t support the Federal Government’s subsidizing clean energy. The jobs created have been on the back of the American taxpayer. The 8th District has long supported Bio-Fuels, Natural Gas, oil and Coal. Bucshon’s job is to protect the workers in the 8th District and the reason he has won re-election by health margins. His vote on clean energy not only protects the jobs in his District but also the taxpayers wallet in the District. America had a 4 decade ban on oil exports. In December 2015 that ban was lifted and the US will become one of the top 10 oil exporters by 2020. The US has been very effective in keeping its air clean with a combination of fossil fuels and clean energy renewables. They can co-exist until the cost of clean energy comes down.

    4. “He voted to take healthcare away from over 470,000 Hoosiers”: Bucshon voted to repeal and replace Obamacare not to repeal only. Eventually a bi-partisan plan will be worked out so that consumers can afford the insurance they are getting. To say he “voted to take healthcare way from over 470,000 Hoosiers”, would be incorrect.

    5. “In the U.S., where job growth has slowed under the Trump administration, and wages have been stagnant.”: Actually the Trump job increase has actually mirrored the prior six months of the Obama adminstration. Both added 1.1 million new jobs over the 12 months. The big change between the two has been the wealth generated in America by the Dow rising 2000 points. GDP for the first time, since 2000, is on pace to reach 3% for the year. Wages have actually begun to increase.

    6. “Bucshon refused to rebuke President Trump for his remarks on the events in Charlottesville.” Larry Bucshon stated by email, “I stand with all Americans in condemning the hatred, bigotry, and violence displayed in Charlottesville. Racism is abhorrent and inexcusable, contradicts the values on which this great country was founded, and has no place in the public discourse of a healthy democracy.

    “As a nation, we must not succumb to the will of hate-filled, fringe groups who seek division and chaos. Instead, we must unify in rejecting the evil we saw perpetrated by white supremacists groups.”

    In one of his town halls in Terre Haute, Bucshon responded to the Presidents remarks saying,”I can tell you what I think, but I think he needs to be held accountable by the American voters themselves for what you think he should have or should not have done,”

    7. “Some of our representatives may not be willing to do their jobs, but we have to do ours: contacting our legislators about the issues that concern and affect us, keeping a watchful eye on how they vote and what they say, and holding them accountable for their job performance at the ballot box.”: Since the Indiana 8th Congressional District was redrawn in 2010, Larry Bucshon has been rewarded by the accountable voters with the largest margin of victory since 2008.

    Daryl Hensley, Jasper IN.

  2. Silent Majority September 6, 2017 at 11:05 am #

    Daryl, that was an incredible fact-filled rebuttal! Fantastic!

  3. dan barrett September 6, 2017 at 9:47 pm #

    I would like to pose the following open letter questions to US Congressman Larry Bucshon, 8th District, Indiana and to any candidate from any political affiliation that might vie for this position or from any concerned citizen.
    A. Do you support congressional term limits? If so, what would you propose?
    B. Do you support the idea of a two-state resolution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
    C. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
    (1) Do you believe the subject of this one sentence is “A well-regulated Militia”?
    (2) Do you support any form of common-sense gun control regulations, like for instance, denying access to guns by dangerous or mentally disabled people?
    D. Do you believe that unlimited financial considerations can be given to politicians from secret un-named sources for any reason and, if so, are you willing to name all sources of any income or benefits given to you or any organization associated to you?
    E. What is your position on illegal aliens and would you support requiring employers that knowingly hire foreign nationals to “legally” work on a term limit basis to post bond to insure such workers are returned to their country of origin?
    F. Are you willing to introduce consumer protection laws to monitor and regulate unscrupulous businesses, like gas station owners gouging consumers on gasoline prices or the recent Epi-Pen fiasco based on greed, not on supply and demand?
    G. Are you concerned about what is killing off the planets honey bees?

  4. dan barrett September 7, 2017 at 5:30 am #

    Dr. Moss, a true conservative and American patriot, has much better solutions to todays problems that exist in the 8th district. Don’t forget it was our illustrious congressman Bucshon that voted to do away with the house ethics committee last January, 2017. Why? He hates any oversight of his own actions. Bucshon simply does what he is told to do by party leaders. Totally non-innovative, just wants to hold on to power. He refuses to meet with anyone that might ask him an embarrassing question, like if he support term limits on congressmen.

  5. Nancy R Curry September 8, 2017 at 1:12 am #

    I vote Dr Moss