Well one of them, Frank Lautenberg, has yet to respond and in the case of Lautenberg everyday that goes by without a response creates an increasing risk for there never to be a response. At 85, Lautenberg has little time left and his pace has slowed down quite a bit and is not getting any faster these days.
However New Jersey’s junior senator, Robert Menendez, did send a reply to the good doctor’s correspondence.
Thank you for contacting me to express your support for education priorities in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you on this important issue.
…….Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate your support. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of more assistance.
I invite you to visit my website (http://menendez.senate.gov) to learn of other important issues to New Jersey.
United States Senate
Wasn’t that nice? After letting the Senator know that he opposed the ARRA, Senator Menendez thanked Dr. Harris for supporting him.
Now there are two things to note here. Dr. Harris never acknowledged any support for the Senator. He simply asked the Senator to properly represent his views and vote against the bill and not only did Senator Menendez ignore that fact in his reply, in the end, he did exactly the opposite of what Dr. Harris hoped for and voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That does not warrant support. If anything it is reason for opposition to the Senator.
And then, of course, there is Senator Menendez’s totally, out of the blue, reference to Dr. Harris’ support for so-called “education priorities” in the bill.
Dr. Harris made no mention of such support. He never once mentioned education in his letter. But as you can see, Senator Menendez articulated his appreciation for it.
The incident shows us a few things.
First, few elected officials actually read through all of their mail. There is quite a lot of it so that should not to be held against them. So long as they have a hard working, attentive staff with a well run office and efficient constituency caseworkers.
Obviously Senator Menendez doesn’t.
Senator Menendez apparently has an overpaid staff stuffed with patronage positions that provide little more than lip service to those who he represents. The staffer who sent the wrong boilerplate response to Dr. Harris obviously does not care and that does not instill a great deal of confidence in the people Senator Menendez represents.
A good staff is a sign of a good legislator. A good staff not only properly communicates to the people, they properly communicate the needs and desires of the people to the legislator that they work for.
Granted, this is just one letter but it is symbolic. It is a symbol of just how detached the political class is from the people they represent.
Many of them almost feel that the politics they deal with is none of the people’s business. They feel that the people do not know any better and that the people would be better off if they just left things up to them.
Nowhere is that better demonstrated than in the video I submit for your review in this post.
In it, one of Washington, D.C.’s most powerful and corrupt politicians, Charlie Rangel, actually tells a fellow New Yorker from Brooklyn to “mind his G-Damn business” when he asks the Congressman to explain how he expects to get away with some of his shenanigans like driving a taxpayer subsidized Cadillac around for personal use, refusing to pay taxes on rent properties that he owns, and abuses the use of four rent controlled apartments below market rates all while writing the very tax code that he exempts himself from.
Now I am originally from Brooklyn and let me tell you, take away our baseball bats and other weaponry and you still will not be treated kindly by us after giving the response that Rangel did.
What Rangel seems to have forgotten is that as a public servant, his business is our business. It is especially our business, like it or not, when he is breaking and skirting the very laws that he is instrumental in writing and forcing us to live by while he doesn’t.
These two examples may seem insignificant but they say a lot.
These examples are just more proof of the prevailing bad attitude that our political leaders posses. It demonstrates that many are out of touch with us and that they truly lack any connection to the fact that they are no better than us and that they are not immune from the legislation they create.
Of course it would help if we, the people, held our elected officials accountable when elections rolled around but that rarely happens. After all Charlie Rangel has been reelected to his Harlem congressional district 19 times. That’s 38 years.
Frank Lautenberg, who didn’t even bother to respond to Dr. Harris’ letter, has been reelected to the United States Senate five times.
And Senator Menendez was originally appointed to his senate seat. He subsequently won election to his seat after little more than a year of incumbency. His relative newness is what probably accounts for his at least pretending to care what the people think, even though his reply to Dr. Harris totally ignored the point he wanted addressed.
In the end, I guess it comes down to the fact that we get what we deserve. I mean if we want our elected officials to be held accountable, should we not hold ourselves accountable for the choices that we make when we vote for these elected officials?
It’s tough being a politician. Half your reputation is ruined by lies; the other half is ruined by the truth!