This article from the Des Moines Register shows how out of touch some politicians can become. Barack Obama was in Iowa campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. He suggested that Iowa voters contact one of their two U.S. Senators to lobby him to support the Iraq War funding bill that establishes timetables. . Obama was referring to Sen. Grassley since Iowa's other U.S. Senator, Tom Harkin, was on record supporting this legislation.
Now, let's think about what Obama was suggesting. He was suggesting that Iowa voters contact one of their Senators to express their views on pending legislation in the Senate. A lot of people, us included, think that Senators and Representatives are supposed to listen to voters, that it is part of their job to listen to voters. That is one reason why the First Amendment to the United States Constitution gives a constitutional right to Americans to petition their government, so they can voice their opinions to their elected officials.
Well, if you think that, according to Sen. Grassley's staff, you are wrong. According to Grassley's staff it is "unprofessional" for one Senator to suggest to voters of another state that they should exercise their constitutional rights. Here's what Grassley himself said: "If you can't be senatorial, how can you be presidential?" Grassley asked.
It gets better. According to Grassley's staff the reason why they shouldn't contact Grassley about this matter is that Grassley isn't a key vote on this bill. Here is a quote from the Register's article from Beth Levine, Grassley's press secretary: It's been demonstrated that the votes aren't there to override the veto," she said.
"So there isn't an opportunity for a veto override in the Senate in this case and as a result there's no way Sen. Grassley holds a key vote," she said.
Talk about arrogant and out of touch. Since Grassley's vote is not "key" voters shouldn't lobby one of their two Senators about this bill? How about this reasoning, Beth: he may not be key on this particular vote, but other Senate votes are coming up and they want Grassley to know what they are thinking? Furthermore, what Senator wants his press secretary telling the world that he isn't a "key vote" on anything? Doesn't that make him look unimportant and ineffective? This is not just arrogance, it is professional stupidity.
This should be the slogan of Senator Grassley and his staff: "I'm Senator Grassley and I don't care what you think."