In a previous diary, I touched on the disconnect between (mostly) Federal representatives and the American public. I think the roots of this disconnect are almost completely tied to the social and economic structure of Washington DC, and that of the major state capitals' political echo chambers.
This disconnect is largely a product of group-think spawned not-so-much by snobbish elitism as by living the life of a government wonk. I do not think Arlen Specter thinks he is better than you or I. I do think that he thinks we know little or nothing of the "way things are done" in government.
My evidence: Specter (and others) repeatedly mention that there "is no Senate bill." In wonk-speak, he is saying that we cannot possibly criticize him for something that doesn't exist and he cannot, in good conscience, swear to vote up or down on something that does not exist.
All that is true, and justifiable. But it is NOT at all related to what is really being said to Specter and any government official who will open his or her ears.
What is being said?
"We don't trust you, government."
The politicians heard all the noise about death panels (no, not explicitly in HR 3200, but they are the logical conclusion of thousands of years of human history any time the government is given as much power as it wants). The politicians heard noise about losing my Blue Cross Blue Shield Policy AA27849537448234-e to a supposedly unfettered Public Option. The politicians heard old folks scared about Medicare cuts that weren't supposed to be cuts because the government was supposed to keep giving the same service with fewer dollars due to improved efficiencies.
They heard those things and proceeded to tell us in wonk-speak exactly why we were wrong to see those problems in the bill: Because it will be changed in committee or in conference; because we elected officials would never vote for something that would have those results; because the evil GOP was lying to scare you and that trollop Sarah Palin was just trying to raise money and get rich.
Parse their answers and the disconnect becomes obvious. If we trust them, their answers are sensible. If we don't trust them, there is NO answer they can give that will suffice.
Did anyone believe John McCain when he flip-flopped on Amnesty for illegal aliens? Did anyone believe Barney Frank when he said he had no part in causing the current recession due to his POLITICAL pressure to get poor loans given to homebuyers over the course of a decade or more? Did anyone think Chris Dodd really didn't get a sweetheart deal on his Countrywide home loan? Did you believe the Congressional committee that cleared Dodd of wrongdoing? Did you believe that Tim Geithner really pulled an "oops!" on his taxes, even after taking money from his company to PAY those taxes? Did you believe Mark Sanford when he was on the Appalachian Trail?
And I have not even mentioned the half-truths Congress, the President and his staff have told about their health-care reform goals. Then, there are the wholesale lies on top of that.
And on and on and on, and on BOTH sides of the aisle.
And thus we go to a town-hall meeting and our elected representative tells us that the plan is a good one and we should support it. They said that about Social Security (now bankrupt and pimped out as collateral for spending). They said that about Medicare (same). They said that about MedicAid (same). They said that about Welfare (and then destroyed generations of poor by letting bureaucrats play social engineer).
There is precious little evidence that the government can do ANYTHING right in the realm of social justice, even though most of our taxes go to fix problems that should have been fixed decades ago. Surely the intent of the Great Society was NOT to perpetuate poverty, but to end it. Or was it?
History is clear on this. Government cannot be trusted with our money. Our representatives are blind to this.
And that is why young women in their 30s are wide-eyed with frustration when they address Arlen Specter about the Constitution. We do not trust you, government.