Samad/Getty ImageAmerican citizens have grown increasingly unhappy with our congressional representatives, and polls show they’re getting disenchanted with the Obama administration in larger numbers. Funny, but before the loss of one Democratic Senate seat with Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, voter’s voices weren’t much heard. Or rather…..not many members of Congress were listening.

They are now.

An article in the Chicago Tribune caught my attention today but for some reason they haven’t put up a link online yet. The headline is “Democrats play against Obama.” Sub head: “Some lawmakers note unhappiness with administration”.

Oh really?

Here’s the lede:

Meeting privately with congressional aides in December, Democratic strategist Paul Begala offered advice about the 2010 mid-term elections: Don’t try to gain traction by bashing or running away from President Barack Obama.

But as the election season kicks in, many Democrats aren’t listening.

With Obama’s approval ratings down and voters in a sour mood, some Democratic candidates are distancing themselves from the White House – positioning themselves as independent voices no less frustrated with the Obama administration than people back home.

So now they’re listening to the citizens who elected them. At least members of Congress are.

Rep. Jim Costa, a Democrat who represents California’s Central Valley, blames Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for not doing enough to alleviate a drought that has hobbled farmers. Costa said his phone calls to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have gone unreturned.

“They’re not listening carefully enough to the people I represent,” Costa said.

Asked if he wants the president to campaign for him, Costa said: “I’m more popular in my district than the president.”

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat who represents a California district burdened by high unemployment and home foreclosures, said in an interview: “The Obama administration has failed miserably in trying to solve the problem.”

All of which raises the obvious question, where was all this accountability and candor before? Why did it take the loss of the pivotal Massachusetts seat to change the whole political landscape and, evidently, the consciences of a bunch of lawmakers across the country?

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., who is running for re-election in a state won by John McCain, urged Obama to “push back against people in our own party that want extremes.” In short order, her campaign web site featured a report: “Lincoln challenges Obama on liberal ‘extremes’.”

The piece ends on this note:

Some party veterans cautioned that it is futile for Democrats to create a separate identity from that of the White House. “Everybody is in one boat,” former New Jersey Sen. Robert Torricelli said. “I’d recommend correcting the course of the boat rather than swimming away from it.”

For some, it’s too late, and getting later.

Soon after reading that Trib article, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh stunned his state and shook up national politics by announcing he will not seek re-election.

So keep making your voices heard. They’re listening now.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....