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July 06, 2009

Moderate Democrats?

Many in the Kansas City area are represented in the U.S. House by Democrats Dennis Moore in Kansas’ 3rd District or Ike Skelton in Missouri’s 4th District. Both of these representatives claim to be moderate Democrats. In fact, they usually vote with left-wing Democratic Party leaders Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama.

They both voted for the $787 billion stimulus bill and for the American Clean Energy and Security Act that will raise utilities’ taxes, which will be passed on to Americans in higher utility bills. Both bills were drafted by the Democrats, completed in the early morning and voted on without time to be read or debated.

It is time to scrutinize the voting records of Moore and Skelton.

Bob Pfeiffer
Overland Park



pmcw you know lawyers are in the business of writing laws that benefit them and only them. When someone brags about being a lawyer in some public place I generally tell them the joke about "what do you call 10 lawyers at the botton of a lake?"

"A good start".


A JoCo Quick Pick:

KC Star, Thursday, 7/9/09, pg.A-18, Letters:


I certainly hope that Cathy Ash and Mary Goodwin (7/3 Letters)will read Barbara Shelly's column "Health care Stories Tell Her Changes Are Needed" (7/3 Opinion). It brings to a personal level the need for reform of health care in the U.S. I have no fear of a Medicare-type health care for all. Indeed I hope for it. I have had 5 surgeries in the last 5 years, and with Medicare and my gap insurance, I paid only a pittance-- and received excellent care with no waiting.

Kris Cheatum
Kansas City


Nicely express JoCo (big smile). How it can work is by one person telling two others and each of them telling two more.

The more we reduce the overhead of government the more that will be available for all of us to enjoy. It's not the direct cost of government that is the primary issue, it is the indirect costs they levy with law, policy and regulation that are by far the higher cost.


I certainly don't see you (open hand, palm up, toward you) as an extreme. Hope you don't see me (roll same hand over, point index at self) that way. I heartily endorse that we Do educate ourselves on extremes, though those extremeties, of course, continually roll around the circle. I majored in labor economics and, thus, my passing familiarity with a few facets of the very intricate Marxism and thus, call people who ,IMO, misuse the name.( both hands out to side, palms up).

My 3rd paragraph wasn't at you, for sure. Just wonder HOW to accomplish "your" goals without the sun setting on us. (hands still out). My extreme reference was to how we've seen change happen, unfortunately, in other places (one hand moved to top of head in dismay)

I admire your pragmatic style and efforts toward better governance even in the face of this shrinking globe and expanding humanity. I will continue to read your posts (thank goodness for E. Woods)and TRY to interpret YOUR unseeable intent to inspire me


JoCo, This is central to the challenge of thread communication - it's pretty tough to see body language, facial expressions or know enough about a person to draw some conclusions as to what is not said. There is also a tendency to assume writers have a stance that is far from centered.

I can assure you my views on most important issues is very centered - particularly if we view outcomes versus means.

No, I have no desire to start, instigate or otherwise be connected with a revolution in any normal sense of the word. I think we're far from where that will be necessary to preserve the ideals of our Founding Fathers, but things do change so I'll never say never.

What I would like to instigate is less partisan politics in the public first and in the House second. If voters were more hesitant to join a party, the parties would lose power and the politicians would actually have to do our bidding. Instead of bristling for a party blindly, we would be watching issues and votes and when our elected officials violate our values, we can and should let them know.

As it stands today, we are sheep being gleefully led to slaughter. We take only exception with those who are affiliated with the other party rather than with issues and politicians who say they are for us, but clearly don't vote in line with our benefit.



I agree with some, wonder about some and can disagree with some, too.

The first thing that hit me is the peaceful transfer of power we've SO FAR enjoyed. Is your tack that this path we're on is a conspiracy or just an inevitable evolution of 2-party government? I'm naive enough, I guess, to still see most politicians as heartful, but maybe entrenched leadership "whips" them into place. I don't think we want all incumbents out, then, at one time, as that would only roll around your circle to the next "hour".

In viewing the worst despotisms, we and surely OUR leaders understand that to greatly expand government "business", while shrinking government to the rule of ONE, requires a coup, revolution, and/or military support. Again, my naivete won't allow me to believe that can come together in America today.

I'm going to cut it off now to avoid a "pmcw-esque" post,lol. Point well taken on the relationship of power and corruption. And cognizant that your style of illumination is vital as one antidote to this poison that infects us.

And though our commanalities are greater than our differences, as you say, I don't think we want to get away from a pluralistic political society.

I haven't reread it lately, but the book: "The Irony of Democracy", Dye and Zeigler, came to mind. I'm going to crack it again.


Posted on another KC Stain thread, but applicable here. The short story is, for the most part, the good people of the Midwest are moderates. However, our reps are often voting otherwise. Throw the bums out - they represent themselves, not the voters!

When people map out the stance of the far right and the far left they normally use a linear graph that shows the two extremes at opposite ends of the spectrum. However, that is deceiving.

In an effort to distract us from their failures, politicians do all they can to pit us against one another - to encourage us to focus on what we dislike about the other side of the aisle so that we don't critique their performance. As a result, we typically side with what is essentially the lesser Devil and vote against a party rather than voting for the other.

A much better and more accurate way to view the far left and far right is to cut the strip of paper that represents your linear graph from the page and the glue what were the polar extremes of far left and far right together to make a circle - a loop of paper.

The goals of the far left and the far right are to radically increase government size, power and control over out lives that it has and to displace state's rights with centralized federal rule. Sure, they may have radically different methods for accomplishing these goals, huge variances in social policy goals and what they most want to control, but the goals are the same - control and to quiet dissidence.

Ironically, this is exactly the strategy used by despots to control the strangled populations in the most repressive countries in the world - they create enemies, with the U.S. often being the most popular selection, and blame these enemies for the repression, poverty, hunger, etc. so that their people focus their ire outside the boarders and cheer for them as though they are champions. Even more ironic is the fact that in some countries like Iran and Honduras, the populations are catching on just as the population of the U.S. is falling under the partisan spell.

This is not a battle of right versus left - the philosophical differences most of us have are minor when compared to our similarities. However, politicians leverage these differences so that we are distracted when they steel from us to increase their base of power and feather their nests.

The simple message here is that we should put aside our minor differences and focus on the fact that the majority of the people we hire to run our governments have put their personal interests for power and, in many cases, wealth, ahead of ours. We need real moderates that vote in line with the wishes of those who elect them rather than rubber-stamping the wishes of the party that provides them with campaign funds and support to win their next feeding at the public trough.

Remember, for those who lead government, government is a business / a career and, like every other business and career, the goal is to expand. Politicians do this by convincing voters that giving government more power and money is in their best interests. Don't fall prey to this ruse - there is no such thing as a government job or government benefit - everything that we have that has made the U.S. great has been and is still paid for by the private sector.


Most definitely agree pmcw. Would you call that the "art" of the contract? The framer, perhaps, must have the farmer understand, just as the artist wants to have the observer see. It WOULD be the road to governance Utopia.

That's what makes me apprehensive. Given the old sausage factory, where do we begin? How many could sign the affadavit? How is the electorate "educated" rather than indoctrinated for their role? I don't know.

But I do believe it's a worthy goal and , if achieved, would take us back to late 18th century Philadelphia.


JoCo, That hits on one of the central points - sign that they understand the bill.

If you can stand to read through virtually any of the high profile bills you'll find the wording is outrageously duplicitous. Take for example the Telecom Act of 1996. Clinton's own Solicitor General stated without caveat it was the worst written piece of legislation signed into law in the history of the U.S. In my view, ACES is considerably worse.

Congress is a sausage factory where lawyers write laws with compromises they know will their supporters can leverage in the courts. This is not a society of free enterprise, this is a society where who ever has the best lawyers wins.

I was the CEO of a C corp for twenty years. I personally negotiated literally 100's of contracts, some directly with the general council of Fortune 100 companies. One in particular that I negotiated with the general council of 3M (a wonderful company BTW) took a while, but when done, the general council told me that if all businessmen were like me, most lawyers would be out of work. It was a very fair and bilateral contract that said in plain language what was expected, who got what and provided exit provisions. It ended up as a model contract used throughout the company when contracting with independent representatives.

This is not magic - it is abundantly simple. If you can't write a law to where it can be understood by a high school graduate, it's a bad piece of legislation and needs to be rewritten.


Joe and pmcw,

The affadavit idea would be a good one, but I can foresee a coupla probs. For one, would scientists, doctors, and engineers have the expertise to tackle the legalese without relying on a staff of attorneys, which I imagine happens with attorney congresspeople already and also what would the repercussions be if malfeasance was discovered? I fear it might be a whole new canoworms of infighting, accusations and special prosecutors.

Something's gotta give but it'll be evolutionary in nature if at all with constitutional issues, thus the judicial, widespread.


Joe, If I could pass just one law it would be one requiring all elected officials sign an affidavit attesting to the fact they have read and UNDERSTAND a bill before they can cast a vote. I've absolutely confident that I've read more pages of legislation than my multi-term rep.

Stifled Freedom

Republicans and Democrats alike pass all kinds of legilsation without reading it. This has been endemic for years. The voting records aren't going to tell you that they dont read the bills.


Thanks for the encouraging words JoCo. I've been pmcw since I got my first email address about 20 years ago.



That's fair enough. I gleaned much when I first read it and am still learning from postings here and there.

And continued success in your exercise of a great American freedom!

Also, knowing the source of your tag, it's easier for me to remember the order of letters. I think I have GCYL down FINALLY without checking. 4 letters? Sheesh!


JoCo, While my stuff often finds its way into the mainstream media, I had no idea that this particular article was excerpted by US News.

In that I still don't know if there is a source that has published it in full context, outside my subscription newsletter, I don't have a reference for it in full context.

Personally, I think it merits full context (it's only 750 words). Therefore, I'll continue to post it.

BTW, anyone interested in using it in full context or excerpted to the extent the meaning is not distorted, fell free - post it, publish it or just send it to friends. We need activism on this topic and we need it now.


Still, pmcw, Jim's idea of a short cited post would alleviate reiterative clogging.



Lessee. I'm saying IMO, mine not required to make sense to YOU, that the 8 Bush years featured a dramatic shift to the right, moving the spectrum as a whole in that direction. To the right, politically. And please don't ask for examples. Bush was quite effective at selecting his agenda to execute. He WAS a strong executive and, again IMO, may have set the table for all future POTUS beginning, of course, with Obama, to govern strongly.

So, the political weight having moved far right; picture a teeter-totter, the left side is pulled toward the center, in effect being neutralized and the center slides down to the right. Political gravity, I guess.

Remember the fun of teeter-totters when you get your buddy to join you and override your big brother? That's where IMO, Skelton and Moore have landed to resist being pulled into the full weight of big brother(no pun intended). So those formerly in the middle have moved left to re-establish the former balance.

So, like a T.T., the ride goes on until someone gets off. And we certainly don't want a one-sided teeter-totter in our park.


Roger Lambert

I agree about the main reason for Dennis Moore's success. The 3rd District GOP should have learned by now, but they haven't. Suprising, or perhaps not.

Also, the GOP needs to relearn the lesson that flexibility is the key to victory in a huge, diverse country with only two political parties. The democrats learned it in 2006 and 2008, but they'll forget it again soon enough. It's the ONLY wise way to compete in national politics and win.


The most significant thing keeping Dennis Moore in DC is the GOP primary. When the moderates in Johnson, Douglas and Wyandotte Counties watch the GOP hopefuls bash each other as not being far enough to the right, Dennis Moore doesn't sound that bad.

The US 69 widening project won't hurt either. A nice reward to Moore for holding the seat.



You're right about that. The Democrats picked up quite a few seats in 2006 by running candidates in conservative districts that were closer to their constituents' ideology on things like abortion than to Nancy Pelosi's. It worked, and despite that difference, on most of the big issues they are reliable votes for the majority.

The GOP base is all about purging so-called RINOs lately, but as you point out, that's a losing strategy in a place like JoCo. I'm not a big fan of Lindsey Graham's politics, but his statement that he'd rather have someone win who agrees with him 75% of the time than lose to someone who disagrees with him 100% of the time is pretty apt. It may take a while for that to sink in to the broader party, though.

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