I just can’t figure out my member of congress (WA 5), a conservative Republican by the name of Cathy McMorris Rodgers who is attractive, charming and a whiz at constituent services. The first two attributes are always helpful to any politician, although they have little substantive value. The third is the key to staying in office. When she first ran for office she made it clear that she was a Christian candidate who would represent Christian values within the context of a conventional conservative mindset. Now in her third term and rising in the leadership ranks, she has become something of a hard line right-winger, and her position on the issues of the day bear little resemblance to anything Jesus did or taught. Moreover, she opposed every economic recovery proposal, is a leader in stopping any kind of legitimate health care reform, and has appeared on television encouraging the ‘birthers’ and the ‘deathers.’ She has left the conservative main-stream shifted to the fringe.
What the district needs is a Democratic Party able to put forth a candidate strong enough to make a decent race of it, but that has not happened and is not likely to happen. Without credible electoral opposition, the natural tendency of elected representatives who have an inclination to be extremely liberal or extremely conservative is to drift farther and farther toward the fringe, and that is not healthy for our democracy.