Why Use A Whip?

There is a lot of hoopla over Tom DeLay giving up his ambitions to return to the role of House Majority Whip. I'm cool with that because I think Tom DeLay is a crook and will be found guilty in a Texas court and should make a nice cellmate for Jack Abramoff. But I have a question that I would like someone to answer.

Considering that members of Congress are elected to represent the needs of their constituents and vote on legislation accordingly, why does Congress even have a position like the Whip?

Both houses of Congress, the House of Representatives and Senate, have majority and minority whips. They in turn have subordinate 'regional' whips. While members of Congress often vote along party lines, the influence of the whip is weaker than in the UK system. For one thing, much money is raised by individual candidates, and congresspersons are never ejected from a party. That said, stepping too far outside the party's platform can limit presidential ambitions. SOURCE
Is it me or is there an inherent conflict of interest with purpose of a legislator and the purpose of a member acting as Party Whip? Trust me, I'm not naive to the realities of politics and political ambitions and Party agenda, but when the role of a member of Congress is to twist the arms of his fellow Congressmen in order to achieve a party goal, then it seems to me that members of Congress are voting for legislation in their own interest rather than in the interest of those they represent. It's just a thought.

But it's nice to see ole Tommy Boy going down.


3 Responses to Why Use A Whip?

  1. Cynthia Says:
    [Congress are voting for legislation in their own interest rather than in the interest of those they represent.]

    I think the interests of those they represent are corporations and the rich. The interests of the people are irrelevant.
  2. James Manning Says:
    That is the problem - money is controlling everything.
  3. Diane S. Says:
    I'm with you on this one, James. The Senators and Congressmen (and Congresswomen) who get the most respect for me are those who vote their conscience, and not the party line.

    I think it's important for the parties to have a cohesive platform, but I believe individuals can take exception to certain planks and still be in the party. These individuals often elect persons who take the same exceptions.

    I'd like to see big money lobbyist booted - en masse - out of Washington. I'd like to see us quit selling our government.

    I don't want much (smile). I just want the America my grade-school teachers promised me existed.

    And yes, the fall of Tom & Jack (and Scooter) is a lovely thing to behold.