Corruption and the disconnect between the people and their elected officials crosses party lines and effects every corner of public policy, including transportation.
By Terri Hall | January 7, 2013
Photo Credit: Roger Hall
Tonight, Pat Caddell, a committed Democrat pollster who once worked for Jimmy Carter both in 1976 and in 1980, received a standing ovation from a room full of Texas conservatives. Women on the Wall hosted an awards banquet honoring Texas women activists on the eve of the Texas legislature convening in Austin, and Caddell headlined the event.
He perfectly articulated what’s broken in politics today: government no longer operates by the consent of the governed, it’s rigged against the ordinary citizen by lobbyists, special interests, and corruption, and as a Gallop poll announced recently, two-thirds of Americans believe Congress cares more about retaining their power, even to the detriment of the country, than they do about serving and preserving the country. Caddell called such sentiment a “pre-revolutionary condition” and said, “this country is on the verge of an explosion.”
He railed against the fiscal cliff deal and the Republicans’ lack of a spine to stand up to President Obama saying if they were going to cave on tax hikes, then they should have taken all other bad stuff out of the bill, like the President having sole authority to raise the debt ceiling and all the special interest giveaways.
He said the bill had tax breaks for “everyone but the American people.” At an appearance on Fox News, Caddell didn’t parse words calling the fiscal cliff deal a “raping of the ordinary American.”
The former pollster thought the saying posted by James Carville in the Clinton war room codifies it best: “It’s the corruption stupid,” calling out the American press for no longer reporting the news, but purposely controlling the truth to protect the President – like its silence on Benghazi, where four Americans died.
“The media deserted their duty to protect the people from power, not impose power on them,” Caddell criticized, and the dereliction of duty doesn’t stop there. “Everyone in Washington is interested in preserving power and privilege. The country can’t survive that system anymore.” Caddell noted that across the board, polling shows 70-75% of Americans hate the political class in Washington.
Caddell touched on four reasons why the Republicans lost the election, one of them being their silence on the Affordable Healthcare Act known as Obamacare. He said, Obamacare was shoved down people’s throats, which he called a “crime against democracy.”
The number of IRS agents that will be hired to enforce Obamacare is the equivalent of the size of NASA – 18,000-20,000 new government bureaucrats. He noted that no matter what polling survey you look at, the American people don’t want big government by a margin of 25 points. “When 51% of the people interviewed in exit polls said they wanted Obamacare repealed, how is it that the guy who passed it is the one who got re-elected?” Caddell asked. Because the Republicans failed to articulate a message that resonated with voters, he contends.
“It’s the most massive disconnect I’ve ever seen in my life,” said an incredulous Caddell.
Corruption and the disconnect between the people and their elected officials crosses party lines and effects every corner of public policy, including transportation. Caddell’s visit dovetails on the Speaker’s race. Rep. David Simpson, beloved grassroots hero, is challenging the incumbent Speaker Joe Straus for Speaker of the Texas House.
A Simpson win tomorrow represents a Texas-sized victory for the people over the establishment of both parties. Straus represents the status-quo, business as usual politics of runaway spending, reliance on debt, and bigger government. Simpson promises to fundamentally change the way the Texas House operates – any bill with majority support will come to the floor for debate and a fair up or down vote, unlike the Straus model of blocking legislation from coming to the floor. This happened on a number of key pro-taxpayer transportation bills last session.
Caddell encouraged the grassroots to stay the course regardless of what happens in the Speaker’s race. He indicated only force will reform government now. They surely won’t do it themselves. He concluded saying, “They swear an oath to the American people, not to a political party. We need politicians who say ‘I’m an instrument of your will, committed to the American dream,’ not political influence and corruption.”
And with that, he left the stage to a standing ovation.
Terri Hall is the founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF), which defends against eminent domain abuse and promotes non-toll transportation solutions. She’s a home school mother of eight turned citizen activist. Ms. Hall is also a contributor to