We have been amusing ourselves by discussing the far from unexpected softening of the spines of the new Republican majority in the House. Although they don’t seem to believe it, Conservatives and Patriots are watching them closely. Over at PAJAMAS MEDIA they are inaugurating a section that will be watching those who got the support of the TEA Party in the election, vote by vote. And they are having the same kinds of discussions we are [albeit probably with a little less vehemence].
Part of it involves the inability to get through to the Congress-critter, or to get anything but a self-serving form letter back. One of the commenters, Proreason, said:
If a representative gets 10,000 incoming communications a month, just reading or listening to all of them would require at least a couple of full-time staffers. Responding with anything more than form emails or letters would require much more.
And that got me thinking. Why in the name of Lenin’s plasticized left gonad would we have a system so out of touch that the supposed Representatives of the People would be forced to treat the concerns of citizens with institutionalized contempt, even in the unlikely case that they actually wanted to stay in touch with their voters? Not that any necessarily want to, but the system is set up to block it.
One answer to the problem would be to return to a reasonable ratio of citizens per representative. The total number of Representatives was far more variable in the past up until the passage of the Reapportionment Act of 1929; when a hard and fixed number of 435 Representatives was made permanent.
When the Constitution was passed, the number of citizens per Representative was about 33,000 which was pretty close to the initial number of no less than 30,000 required by Article I of the then new Constitution. It has grown to roughly 650,000 per Representative [that is an average that is pulled down because of 4 states which have less than the number required for a Representative numerically, but are required to have one by the Constitution]. The rise has been exponential since the 1929 Act.
If you want to reduce the number of messages a Congress-critter has to respond to and to make them more responsive both to the messages and the desires and needs of their own constituents; reduce that ratio.
If you have 650,000 constituents; and only about 2/3 are legally eligible to vote, and only half of them do so, you can easily do something to absolutely infuriate 100,000 of them completely, rob them in the name of the others, or enslave them to the State, and still win re-election. If the ratio is reduced to say 50,000 per Congress-critter; each Congress-critter will have maybe 33,000 voters, and in a voter pool that small micturating in the Wheaties of any significant number of your constituents will ensure that you face a challenge, and a swing of just a couple thousand votes will be fatal to your career pattern. You will tend to listen to what they want, and vote accordingly.
Yeah, increasing the size of the House by a factor of 13 [650K ÷ 50K] means more of the bloody parasites will be around. But each will be of far less importance in the larger scheme of things. National parties will have less influence on the votes of each one compared to the constituents screaming at them. After the last election, any Democrat who believes that “this time you have me” is an immunization against in-your-face voter anger will be removed by electoral Darwinism. If you are dealing with a voter pool of 33K and you are getting a few hundred really mad people at your town halls; you know that life is going to get real busy … looking for a new job. And any Congress-critter who just refuses to meet with his/her constituents [like much of the Democrat caucus before November] is going to be on that job search.
Incidentally, a Congress-critter gets paid somewhat north of $174K a year, which may not be too out of line for someone who represents 650,000 people. If you are only representing 50,000; you only should be paid somewhere in the range of a city councilman in a decent sized city, with no automatic raises. Same with benefits, including health insurance. And I would not mind paying for the equivalent of military family housing in the DC area for each of the buggers. Fort Myer, where they will be surrounded by men who are an example of what they should have to live up to [Third Infantry Reg., “The Old Guard”] would be a good choice of location.
There would be some logistical problems with a legislative body of that size. We are going to have to build a new House Annex that will look more like a sports facility than a Roman palace. But with modern communications and networks, assuming that we can get politicians with the net-savvy of the average 3rd grader; this can be done.
In any case, changing the number of Congress-critters requires only a statute. And we just had a Census [and the Left just lost control of most statehouses and legislatures]. Just saying.
LC Subotai Bahadur, Lord Pao An