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Democracy ‘Every Four Years’

In defense of Vice President Dick Cheney’s open dismissal of public disenchantment with the Iraq war earlier this week, White House press secretary Dana Perino uttered an equally revealing statement yesterday about the way this administration views the workings of our constitutional democracy. Responding to pressure from reporters, Perino said the administration would not be swayed by public opinion polls, but would lead instead based on "principle."

Public sentiment on specific policy, Perino added, matters little except during elections.

From the White House transcript:

PERINO: So we believe that the president stood on his principle. He hasn’t chased public opinion polls. He’s aware of them, but he hasn’t made decisions because of them, and I think there’s a distinction. Just because you don’t make decisions based on opinion polls doesn’t mean you don’t care what people think. We are all Americans. We care deeply about what people think.

REPORTER: The American people are being asked to die and pay for this, and you’re saying they have no say in this war? … [W]hat it amounts to is you saying we have no input at all.

PERINO: You had input. The American people have input every four years, and that’s the way our system is set up.

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