Friday, December 10, 2004
As David Broder reports, Florida Congressmen John Mica has his re-election strategy down pat. The linchpin? "Automatic" reinstatement to Congress. Because Mica had no declared competition, his name didn't appear on the ballot, not even for voters to rubber-stamp the apparently foregone conclusion that was Mica's re-election.
Now why didn't other congresspersons think of that?
Well, they're working on it. Aside from the incumbents in Texas which lost under the recent redistricting plan in that state, 99% of the incumbent members of the House of Representatives who ran for re-election won. Outside of Texas, only three Representatives in the 435-member House which ran for re-election lost in 2004.
When the framers decided upon a bicameral legislature, one of the reasons they established two-year terms for members of the House of Representatives (as opposed to the Senate's six-year terms) was so that the House would be more accountable to the people. That accountability has been watered down by a generation of backroom deals over redistricting by two parties that have forgotten in what direction their responsibility lies.
It is up to us, the American people, to remind them.