Thursday, October 05, 2006
BY C.B. FORGOTSTON
A lege committee met yesterday to discuss, among other things, the proliferation of "flip-flop" voting in the LA House of Representatives. (See story here.)
NOTE: This is something about which I have written often, but has not been the subject of much public debate.
What this practice allows is for our reps to attempt to please two masters. First they vote to please the governor, the House leadership, a buddy in the House or special interests. Then they change their votes to reflect the wishes of their constituents. Only, the second vote has no meaning except to hide the truth from those who they were elected to represent.
I voted for it before I voted against it....
One the big beefs by the Republicans, nationwide, was against U.S. Senator John Kerry, when he ran for President, was that he "flip-flopped" on his votes in the U.S. Senate for spending for our troops in Iraq. Kerry said: “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” To this day the comment remains a big joke in Republican circles.
Now, look who's talking....
Yep. You guessed it, Republican Leges are supporting making it not only easy to "flip-flop", but easier to hide their "flip flops."
Rep. M.J. "Mert" Smiley, R-St. Amant, complained that the letters seeking permission to change a vote could be used against a lawmaker by a campaign opponent and would make it easier for reporters to follow who changes votes and on which issues. Times Picayune, October 4, 2006 “You would have to save it for three years, and it would be subject to inspection,” [Rep. Peppi]Bruneau [R-New Orleans] said. Times Picayune, October 4, 2006.
Not only do the leges want to continue the practice of deceiving their constituents, but they want to keep it difficult for their constituents to know the truth.