Politics as Usual: Privacy and Funerals

A bit ago I wrote Congressman Fleischmann on the Email Privacy Act. I write him every month or two on various issues. Writing Members of Congress and Senators is the best way, I think, to let them know how you feel about issues, and Americans should do it more often.

I already knew that Fleischmann was on the right side of this issue, as he’s a cosponsor of the legislation, but my goal wasn’t to get him to support the bill, my goal was to try to get him to put some pressure on the chair of the House Judiciary Committee to let it come to a vote, as the bill has been stuck in committee for three years. It hasn’t worked, yet, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate his efforts. Too many candidates won’t say anything good about their opponents, but Fleischmann isn’t a bad guy. He represents his constituents well, as his positions mirror theirs. I don’t suffer from any delusions that I can win an election here by positioning myself far to the left of Mr. Fleischmann–which is good, because I’m more moderate than left anyway.

The problem is a systemic one, not one with Mr. Fleischmann. His party spends more time fighting the President and the Democrats than actually trying to improve things. The Email Privacy Act is a good piece of legislation, but it rots in committee while fifty-plus quixotic attempts to end Obamacare come to a vote. There are hundreds of other bills suffering the same fate, bills with bipartisan support, because House leadership puts a priority on bills that are popular with their constituents but doomed to fail. Mr. Fleischmann goes along with it, because he–correctly–knows where his bread is buttered.

Getting votes from people who dislike Republican policies is nice, but I am also seeking votes from people who like the policies but hate the politics. People who agree with me that we could use someone in the middle to work to get members on both sides to push solid non-partisan legislation through Congress. Someone to give the system a good, solid kick in the butt.

I see many people complaining, again, that President Obama isn’t attending a funeral, again. First it was Justice Scalia, now it’s Nancy Reagan. Just stop it.

Sitting Presidents rarely attend funerals for either Associate Justices or former First Ladies. The only recent First Lady funeral attended by a sitting President I could find was Bill Clinton attending Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ funeral. The sitting President did not attend the funerals of Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Bess Truman, or Mamie Eisenhower. It’s not a slap in the face to keep an existing engagement–speaking at SXSW–instead of canceling it to do something that is by no means traditional for Presidents. Despite beginning with “fun,” most funerals aren’t fun, and I can’t blame anyone for wanting to avoid attending.

This is just one more example of people looking for a fight. Enough already.

Topher

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