Courtney Lowery at NewWest has collected a number of comments from Eastern commentators questioning the fitness of U.S. Senators from largely rural states to write a decent health care plan for the rest of the country. (above), Conrad from North Dakota, Enzi of Wyoming, Collins of Maine and Bingaman of New Mexico. An imperious Matthew Yglesias writes that “in a democratic system of government” these people from sparsely populated states “would have almost no power.” Gail Collins in the New York Times took aim at Max Baucus, “whose vast authority stems from the fact that he speaks for both the Senate Finance Committee and a state that contains three tenths of one percent of the country’s population.”
“Should it really matter where Baucus is from?” Lowery asks. Increasingly, according to the largely liberal press, it does. We’ve noted here at the Yonder that there is an increasing tendency for urban policy makers to marginalize rural areas because they don’t have many people. (Well, duh!) Lowery shows that according to some writers being rural means you aren’t qualified to make policy for the nation.
Lowery quotes Bozeman blogger Bridget Cavanaugh:
I’d like to point out that Ms. Collins and I commonly live by the same constitution whose Founding Fathers purposefully skewed political power to favor rural America by giving all states equal representation in the Senate. So why is she angling on Montana’s lack of population? It’s a non issue and completely irrelevant in these matters. It’s funny, but is politically ignorant. Which should be surprising coming from a newspaper serving 6% of the entire US population. What’s uncommon between us is that I don’t have a chip on my shoulder about Senators from highly populated urban areas who assert their influence for policy making.