By Ronni Berke, CNN
(CNN) – The latest flood of erring politicians once again has Americans scratching their heads.
With polls showing most Americans unhappy with the state of politics today – plagued by polarization and finger-pointing – it would make sense for elected representatives to fight to overcome that public image.
Many are, but there are more than a few who don’t seem to “get it.”
Case in point: In New York, Hiram Monserrate was actually booted out of the State Senate after he was convicted of a misdemeanor for assaulting his girlfriend. Yet Monserrate seems confident voters will re-elect him in a special election March 16th.
He’s even issued this warning to his critics in the state capitol: “I think it would be the pot calling the kettle black for anyone in government in Albany pointing a finger towards Hiram Monserrate.”
Some political observers are aghast, but not surprised, to hear this kind of talk from politicians.
“They're very quick at justifying actions most of us would have to apologize for,” says University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato.
Rarely do politicians fade quietly into the night. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted to an affair and to lying to voters, but he has resisted calls to step down, confident of voter support.
“I'm not going to be railroaded out of politics by people who were never fans of me in the first place,” he said in August.
It's a battle cry long echoed by New York Rep. Charlie Rangel, who is accused of failing to pay taxes and violating House ethics rules. He finally stepped down as chairman of a powerful committee, but did not apologize or resign.
Some examples may beg the question: Is it time to tweak the system? Sabato believes so.
“The average voter would love to see through the persona projected by the consultants and the TV ads, but how do you do that?” One way, he says, is to consider expanding the number of representatives so that more congressmen represent fewer constituents.
Right now each member of the US Congress represents roughly 700,000 Americans, far too many voters for their elected representatives to get to know. So, instead of 435 House members, why not elect 10,000?
“The smaller the unit is the more likely that people would know the candidates and they'll vote not just on the basis of party, but on the basis of the character of the candidate,” says Sabato.
The idea is not new. It was first proposed by another U.S. politician – George Washington.