Best If Used Before….

captial-term-limitsI have had quite a few requests for this topic so I figured I would take a stab at it and see where the conversation takes us. The topic is term limits for the people we elect to represent us in Congress. Hence the title of the article, as politicians need to have expiration dates. That way we can simply check the “Best if Used By” date on the carton and throw them away before we take the lid off and ruin a perfectly good bowl of cereal with them. I can tell you that I, at this point, would like to see term limits placed upon members of Congress. I am not sure how long those limits should be. But we’ll discuss that. It seems to me that the biggest obstacle to Congress serving the constituency is that the members of Congress have evolved into a political elite who do everything in their power to hold on to that seat and the money and power that comes with it.

Arlen Specter was the latest in a long line of folks even willing to switch parties and claim allegiance to the principles that are the polar opposite of what he believed during his previous campaign in order to remain in power. The fact is that it seems to me that 50% of the time a Congressional member spends is dedicated to activities that will ensure that they are re-elected. Another 40% of the time they spend is dedicated to their party’s agenda and bashing the other team’s agenda (which added to the 50% means 90% dedicated to reelection). Finally about 10% of their time is actually spent legislating things that will help their constituency. Unfortunately the only thing that they do for their constituency is pork.

Dole vs. Hagan

Dole vs. Hagan

A quick side note here. I believe that the political party affiliation is directly tied to the increase in pork barrel legislation over the years. At this point the politicians in Congress are so partisan and so endentured to their party, that they are no longer allowed to vote for legislation based on the merits of the law or based on how that law will positively or negatively impact their home state. Let’s give the example here of new NC Senator Kay Hagan (she just unseated Elizabeth Dole, who may have ran the worst campaign ever. She actually called Hagan a devil worshipor. Hagan is a Sunday school teacher. Ah, political life here in the bible belt), who voted for the tax increase on tobacco because her party said so, knowing full well that this would be devastating to her home state. The party came before the people she was supposed to be representing. And that says everything about how the political parties have screwed up Congressional representation.

Because in all matters of major legislation the party’s preference overrides the constituents preference, pork barrel projects are the only remaining way for a Congressional member to do something to contribute to the constituents of their state. It is in this way that I advocate the complete elimination of pork barrel legislation. Not only is pork barrel legislation dishonest (buying votes from Congressmen who are in turn buying votes from Voters), it is shady and inconsistent with the values and morals that should be the basis of our society. The elimination of pork barrel legislation is the first step in taking power away from the party, and placing it back in the people they represent. You want re-election? Then you vote on the big issues the way your state wants you to vote, not your party. Because you would no longer be able to use pork to foster good will from those you screwed on the big issues (mark my words: Hagan will be issuing plenty of pork to overcome what she did to NC on tobacco legislation). I hope that all makes sense.

rangelBack to the topic, I think that the time has come for a Constitutional Amendment that limits the number of terms that a member of Congress can serve. I harken back to the time of the founders, when representing those of your area or state was a part time job. The Congress of the founding fathers was made up of part time representatives, not career politicians. These men were farmers, blacksmiths, and innkeepers, for whom serving was really more of a burden away from their lives. They did so out of a sense of duty and patriotism and a desire to serve their fellow man and to help create a better country.

Compare that to the politician of today. Much like the class of people they seek to create, they feel entitled to the modern day lordship. They no longer serve the will of the people, or even aspire to the greater good. They shed whatever their career was prior and dedicate themselves full time to doing what politicians do. And once there, they rarely have any intention of ever leaving office and returning to life outside of the political spectrum. And the fact that they never intend to leave or step backwards means they become trapped in a system that ensures the demise of a representative government.

And that is because once a politician gets to the point where the entire goal is to remain in office, and since Congress is not a lifetime appointment like the Supreme Court, they are stuck doing whatever is needed in order to keep getting re-elected. And that starts with being loyal to money. Money from supporters, money from their party, and money from lobbyist. Beyond money they need support and backing from their party in order to defeat their opponents (case in point, when the Democratic Party no longer supported Lieberman in his Democratic primary, he lost). Because the goal is no longer to be a good representative, but instead is to remain in power, the party quickly becomes the primary director of a candidates actions instead of the contituents that he or she is supposed to represent.

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

A couple of quick facts about Congress:  In the 2006 mid-term elections, almost all incumbents were running for re-election, including Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., who was 88 (9th term), Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, who was 82 (3rd term), and 83-year-old Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas(14th term). As a result,there were only 33 open House and Senate seats that election, the lowest number in decades.

As for the members of the 111th Congress (current Congress).The average age of a senator is 63.1 years (the oldest ever) and the average age of a member of the House is 57 (the oldest in more than a century). The average length of service for Representatives at the beginning of the 111th Congress is 11.0 years (5.5 terms); for Senators 12.9 years ( 2.2 terms). In the 111th Congress there are 121 Members who have served in the military. The House has 96 veterans while the Senate has 25.

So are term limits the answer? I tend to think it would help. I would say that Representatives should be allowed no more than 4 terms in the House. That is 8 years, as they are elected every 2 years. This would put the same limit on them as exists on the Presidency (at least for now). And Senators should be allowed no more than 2 terms, which would be 12 years. With these stipulations we would have no “career Representatives”. They would be limited to their terms. 

There is a downside I can see to this. Much like a President that is nearing the end of their final term, they would be under no control of their party for re-election, but future political consideration would still be a powerful tool (moving into a cabinet position or another appointed position). They would also have no reason in their final term to care what the constituents they represent want. At that point those constituents can’t do anything more for that representative, so why would they care?

So that is my take on Congressional term limits. What do you guys think? Do you see other pitfalls to having term limits that I am missing? Do you think term limits are necessary? After all we could just vote them out if they are bad, so perhaps term limits are a waste of time. This is something a lot of people have asked about so I am looking forward to the discussions.

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Comments

  1. US,

    I thought of the same downside you did, the lame duck thing. The only answer I can think of is to have a 1 term limit. That would take care of that. Would make for some interesting campaigns, and limit the unholy connections and relationships the lifers tend to develop over the long haul. I would think that there would be enough “freshmen” to keep any one person from gaining to much power and influence. At least this would limit the damage any ONE individual could do.

    On the other hand, seeing what the current Congress has done in less than 4 months, perhaps even that (4 months) is too long!

  2. Good morning, USW.

    Another fine and educated post, as is your usual. Since you KNOW my position on this matter, I will make my comment brief;

    Step # 1. – Dump the political party system.

    Step # 2. – Replace the ELECTED Senate with appointed Senators by the Governors of their states and make their term coincide with the appointing governors currant term.

    Step # 3. – Scrap the office of President and replace it with a Presiding Council of no more than 5, with one being replaced each year and then a limit of only one term per individual.

    Step # 4. – Dump the currant members of the United States Supreme Court and replace them with ELECTED Justices, no more than 9, each serving a nine-year term with one being replaced each year and then on a one term only basis like the presiding council members.

    Leave the House of representatives elected as they are now, but put them on a two term limit with the stipulation that they can be removed at any time by a simple vote of no confidence from their constituents should they do something their constituents deem is not what they were elected for.

    How’s that for feedback? 😉

    • I like #1, #3, #4.

      Curious about #2….why would you want to give a Governor that kind of control and power? They are, after all, just another politician. There was a time when the Governors, or State Legislatures did appoint Senators or Representatives, but that was changed to give the vote to the people.

      Also, like your last idea, that voters could recall a “bad choice” at any time…that would work for a one term limit as well. Matter of fact, it would be quite necessary.

      • Barberian says:

        Hello Dee,
        Senators were originally selected by the State governments. Was changed much later.

        • Thanks, Barberian!

          I could not remember the details, but had read something about it at some point. I found it surprising that states government would have relinquished that power.

          • revolution2010 says:

            Dee,
            The 17th Amendment changed how our Senators were chosen. In the original Constitution, The Senators were elected by the State legislature in an effort to represent the rights of the states. This measure was one of the inestimable checks and balances written into the Constitution (and now it’s gone). I went looking for this because of a conversation I had questioning the Congress’ perceived responsibility to its constituents as well as the amount of unconstitutional law that has been passed in the last 100 years. Exactly what is the difference between the Senate and the House and how is it a checks and balance system, as I could find almost none? In the back of my mind, I thought there was a branch that was originally created without apparent citizen pressures that could more accurately protect the integrity of the Constitution as well as the rights of the individual states. I just couldn’t come up with it. My friend Bob sent me an article and there it was.

            During the mid to late 1800’s, leading up to the Civil war, there were continuing conflicts between a ridiculous amount of emerging political parties (18 different parties at last count). Between the smaller emerging parties and the two main political parties, the Democrats and the new Republican party (formerly the Whig Party) the state legislatures splintered and resulted in several states not being able to elect a Senator for as much as 4 years in some cases (thus giving that state no protection against legislature that would be detrimental to it’s citizens livelihoods.) After the war, the problem continued to worsen as partisan politics were affecting the legislature and Senators could not be elected by a majority rule. After several failed attempts to pass laws that would correct the situation, and 45 dead locks recorded in 20 states between 1891 and 1905 the solution came in the form of the 17th Amendment. It effectively took the power of the legislature to protect its states and govern free from the threat of constituent pressure and created “two houses”. (This makes you pause for thought on the term limits of the two houses and why they are still different in that they are now the same body in 2 different factions). The legislation was ratified on April 8th, 1913 by the required three-fourths majority of the states and amended the Constitution.

            My point to the story is this; by permanently dismantling the checks and balances system, the Constitution and rights that it provides, not only those mentioned in the Constitution, but also those implied by the 9th Amendment (that basically says, it would be impossible to mention all of the rights owed to citizens in the Constitution. Where the Constitution is vague it doesn’t eliminate these rights.) Could be in danger and may only be protected at the hand of the citizens who are now charged with the responsibility of avidly controlling Senate selection more so than before.
            This is one of my problems with our whole system right now in that the States need to recapture their autonomy. They are each very different and depending on their locality may need different specific laws to allow them to prosper in their own fields. Just as an example, it would be prudent for a farming state to insist on a longer summer break from school since most of the children a crucial to the farming of the land. They may compensate by having the children go to school in session from 8-5 instead of 9-3. (Just an example)
            We need to have the states have that autonomy and we need the Senators to protect their states… as USWeapon was saying, not with pork barrel spending but rather with legislation that makes sense. The feds have WAY TOO MUCH power at this point and is making it much harder for states to function at optimal levels.
            JAC, I think much of that makes sense. I am not sure about the President thing… Council of 5 sure would be interesting to watch that play out!
            If the citizens would do their due diligence we would not be having this conversation. That leads to the fact that you would have to educate the children of our fine union on the facts of the government operation and stress it’s importance… in much the same way we teach Math or English.

            • Jim McElfish says:

              I too, believe that we need to change the way we are represented. The Congress and the President have forgotten that they represent the citizens of this country and have become a power in and of themselves. We, unfortunately, the silent majority, are the government and not the Congress and not the President. We need to start standing up, making our voices be heard and take back our country. You are so correct when you say that we are a government of pork. No legislation can be passed without slabs of pork. I like bacon, ham and sausage like most people, but I sure as hell don’t want it shoved down my throat. I prefer to chew my food. It becomes more palatable that way. That being said, I have no idea what the makeup of the government should look like. I do heartily agree that the Supreme Court needs to be elected by the people and serve a limited number of years. I don’t know about a Presidential committee type of governance; it leaves a lot of unknowns. Who speaks for the country with a committee type of presidency? Is there a chairman, in the manner of the JCS? Would it lead to a possible problem with control like it did with the Roman triumvirates? All I can honestly say is that government needs to be revamped, and soon, before less cooler heads decide they are going to take on the government violently. No one wins in that case.

      • Amazed1 says:

        I don’t believe in appointments….if people make laws representing me then I get to vote for or against them. Like the term limits and the banning of parties.

      • I think we should go back to the senate being appointed by the state government. That way the state has the right to recall them if they do not vote like their states want. The founding fathers wanted it that way for checks and balances.

    • Barberian says:

      Term limits is something who’s time has come. Perhaps a few decades ago!

      I agree with G.A.’s line item for the most part with exception to #3. In jest, we can’t elect 1 good person let alone 5. And I believe that there is a need for an executive post given that all branches are held to their constitutional constraints.
      I also think that term limits would help make the party system irrelevant if they were put in practice along with G.A.’s suggestion of a “vote of no confidence” in place.

      One argument that has been used against term limits has been the lack of experience that would prevail in congress. I was previously in partial agreement until the last few congress’ (sp) performance and decided that most novices could do a better job. However, a possible remedy for this could be that after serving their limit, the congressman could run for re-election only after a given period of time out of office and if he/she had not engaged in a lesser political capacity or worked for a lobbying firm during that time. May help against special interest influence/corruption while still keeping the “experience” advantage.

      Also, do away with lucrative retirement plan and use a multiplyer for years served to calculate a modest equivilent.

      • Amazed1 says:

        One argument that has been used against term limits has been the lack of experience that would prevail in congress.
        Does that mean they don’t know how to work the system yet? LOL Maybe they need to give them lessons for 6 months before they take office.

        • Alan F. says:

          I would think the cost of greasing palms would be quite high with those squeaky wheels being replaced so often.

      • JayDickB says:

        I used to think the experience argument was valid, but I now think experience is more of a problem than a help.

        With experience comes power. That’s bad.

        With experience comes arrogance. That’s bad.

        With experience comes deceit. That’s bad.

        I think common sense and good judgment are much better than experience for a congressman or senator. For a surgeon, experience is good. For a congressman, experience is bad.

        • Barberian says:

          With experience comes power or ability.

          With power comes arrogance.

          With arrogance comes deceit. And that is a VERY BAD thing.

          We want ability for the elected ones, We’ll keep the power.

          • Alan F. says:

            With arrogance comes apathy. Deception hints at the politico paying attention enough to the people that he/she is at least fearful of reprisal. I see too many of the entrenched on CSPAN who appear apathetic to “them the people”.

      • revolution2010 says:

        I think the experience thing was supposed to be handled by the age limit. Someone has to be 30 to be a Senator. Back in the day, that was pretty experienced, now not so much… I would certainly take the 30 year old over some of the 82 year old’s we have!

        • Jim McElfish says:

          Hell, I’m a senior citizen at age 60. Why the heck do we have 80 year olds running this country anyway? Just because they know the system? Or is it that we have become so darn apathetic that we don’t change who we elect. You are right about the age limit making sense when we were a young nation; life expectancy was not that high. At the risk of sounding a bit crass, I have some problems with an 80 year old driving, let along navigating this country. When is it time to move over and let someone with maybe a little less experience (in years) take over. Exceptions, but they ain’t running, would be Lee Iacocca and Bill Cosby. Someone who isn’t afraid to lead, to speak out and to hell with party politics.

    • esomhillgazette says:

      I have to agree with most of Rowe’s post.

      1. Yeah, dump the worthless Party system!

      2. Appoint Senators like they used to. Let the State Govt select them.

      3. A Presidential Council instead of just 1 President. Select them by region. In this way they would better represent “their” constituency. 305 million or so people, all with differing views, is way to many for one Obama to make decisions for! 🙂

      4. Elect the Supreme Court. And impose term limits.

      5. Impose term limits on H of R. (I suggest 3)

      This sounds like Rowe’s post only because I agree with him. Especially at #3. 1 President deciding the course of the WHOLE nation is too few. I’m not sure about the number of 5, but I do know the number ain’t 1! This council would also be elected by region, not by the Nation as a whole. In this way we would have a much closer Representation of the People’s will.

      A possible form would be:
      NorthEast, SouthEast, NorthCentral, SouthCentral, NorthWest, and SouthWest. I have six. I don’t know what to do about Kalifornia, as they are going to be a major factor no matter what region you put them in. I would suggest NorthWest though as Oregon and Washington generally vote as Kalifornia does. This would seem to be better than what we have now. Heck, no President at all would be better than what we have now. 😀

      • Bama dad says:

        Esom, I worry about electing Supreme Court Justices, makes it too easy for them to be bought and paid for. Big money buys all of our poly-ticks now.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          I agree w/ Bama – SC Judges should still be nominated and go thru the rigor of the confirm process

          • esomhillgazette says:

            Well maybe not elected, but at least impose term limits or a way to overrule or remove them.
            When Obama came right out and said that he was going to look for a judge with empathy, chills ran down my back.
            You cannot have a judge with Empathy in the Supreme Court. A Judge cannot and should not allow Empathy to persuade his verdict.
            A Supreme Court justice is only supposed to apply the Constitution to Law.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              Esom – are you referring to the video used by Fox that ‘appeared’ to convey that Obama was looking for SC judges based on empathy qualities? Just as FYI Fox chopped significant portions of the video in their effort to shape your opinion – not quite ‘fair and balanced’ but may not change your opinion either:

              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/05/fox-news-assailed-for-vid_n_196719.html

              • USWeapon says:

                Ray,

                Before you go too far in saying Fox manipulated that video in some way, and I did watch the entire press conference that was being referenced in that video you are talking about on Huffington, it should be noted that he has brought this issue up over and over. He addressed it during the campaigns and used the empathy language as well. In my post the other night on this very issue, I wrote that Obama said:

                “I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives,” he said. “I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.” He said he’ll also seek a nominee dedicated to U.S. constitutional traditions, and who respects the “appropriate limits of the judicial role.”

                While he did add those things at the end they are contradictory statements. You can’t be dedicated to constitutional traditions while at the same time be showing empathy for someone. The point is that I don’t want someone with empathy. I want someone who will rule properly on the law, not allow their decision to be based on what “feels good” at the moment. You can feel sorry for a woman who couldn’t support her child so she killed it. But that doesn’t change the fact that she killed her child. I don’t want her given a different sentence than someone else because a judge felt sorry for her. Law is law, and there is not a place for empathy in it. This is more true in the Supreme Court, where their only job is Constitutional Interpretation, than in any other court in the land.

                EVERY media outlet focused on the empathy statement, not just Fox News. Go check it out. I found it presented the same way that Fox presented it on NY Times, CNN, ABC, and CBS. Only the whackos at MSNBC didn’t follow suit, but they are obviously a liberal entertainment network and not a news network anyway.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                I think this notion of empathy is going waaaay over the deep end. Empathy is often confused with sympathy (perhaps even by Obama) and is not exactly ‘what feels good at the moment’ but more so understanding what the heck is happening around you and being able to look at an issue with multiple perspectives objectively w/in the context of the law. To suggest that a justice not have empathy is to suggest they are not human. A lack of empathy would make it nearly impossible to decide upon cases rooted in laws hundreds of years old against the backdrop of more modern problems and challenges.

              • Jim McElfish says:

                Law is not justice. If we had justice, then we would not have rapists, cold blooded murderers and child molesters in prison; that would be laying beside the road dead. Too many legal cases as well as too much legislation has been done “obiter dictum”, that is outside of what the real issue is. We either have a nation of laws or a nation of justice. Justice would have all the detainees at Gitmo lined up against the fence and shot. Like I said, can’t have it both ways.

      • I live in WA and hate the idea of Kalifornia being in our district. We have enough problems with the extreme liberals in this state let alone adding OR and CA into the mix.

        • esomhillgazette says:

          Stevie I live in Georgia and hate the idea of Florida being in my district too. But who are we kidding. We can all talk about it and discuss the ideas of a new government, but it more than likely ain’t gonna happen.

          You know I just knew somebody would object to Kalifornia being in their district when I typed it! 😀

          • esomhillgazette says:

            I mean no offense to our Florida Conservatives. You are just outnumbered by the Liberal Democrats right now like Kalifornia is.

            • Barberian says:

              Esom,

              I live in Florida and I certainly understand what your saying. No Offence Taken

            • esomhillgazette says:

              What part of Florida do you live in? I used to live in N. FL. Alford, FL is about 45 mi. north of Panama City. I used to go to school in Cottondale. There were a lot of good folks up there, mostly farmers.

              • Barberian says:

                I am a transplant of twenty years from Kalifornia but call Missouri home. I live in the rural area east of Sarasota. Have a sister in Valpraiso (sp). Don’t care to much for this area but I think I would like the north part of the state.

              • esomhillgazette says:

                There is a world of difference between “Farm Country” Florida and “Beach Country” Florida For sure

              • Kristian says:

                I live in Florida myself, Northeast part of the state, there are more conservatives in this area of the state than most other areas. It’s not too bad over here…LOL!

      • The founding fathers thought about having more than one president, but decided against it because they thought the 3 part system would keep checks and balances but it does not when you have politicans staying just for the power. We should have term limits like 2 terms maxed but still have to be voted in both terms, and the judges should be term limits to and only appointed if they use the constitution and USA case law only. They should not even think of international law for any decision.

    • G.A.

      #3, when has a committee ever been effective? On 9/11, or an attack on the US, we don’t need a group with Pelosie wantabee’s trying to decide what to do. I can see a good side to this, that they would argue a lot and accomplish very little, and the best government is that that does the least.

    • I have to disagree with the idea of electing the supreme court. The whole idea is that they are not political (yeah I know). Electing them will give them permission to be political though and we don’t want that– we want them to simply uphold the law and the constitution–to be a check on the other branches.

      Instead lower courts, say 7 courts combined should be able to reverse a decision of the suprmeme court if they fail to uphold the law impartially (must use strict standards) or remove a rogue or imcopetant justice without having to resort to impeachment, which is incredibly difficulyt and only possible if a felony has been committed by the justice.

      Also I don’t like the idea of 5 presidents!! Yikes!!!

    • A more detailed explanation of my ideas will be forthcoming on my site in the coming weeks. Not trying to use USW’s site as an ad campaign for my site but just giving those who may be curious a way to find out just what my evil right wing extremist mind has conjured up over the many years I have been observing the Human Race. Hmmmm. Human Race. I wonder who will win? 😉

    • SOUNDS MORE DIFFICULT, BUT A LOT MORE FAIR, I WOULD VOTE FOR IT ANY DAY. SOME OF THE ONES IN SENATE THEY HAVE TO USE 2 CANES TO TALK, IF THEIR BODY IS SO MESSED UP, I AM SURE THEIR MINDS MUST BE.

  3. Good Morning!

    Getting rid of the party system would please me. Term limits should be enacted at all levels of government, not just the national level. I would also limit how much can be spent on a campaign and have a strict start date the campaigning. I’ll add more on that later.

    G!

    • Critical Thinker says:

      My son and I have been discussing term limits alot lately. An answer for the time spent on campaigns an idea we have been bouncing around is instead of a re-election after the first term, a simple vote of confidence would allow an incumbent to keep their position for one more term. We haven’t fully fleshed out the idea and would like to hear your thoughts.

      On pensions—-I think it should be eliminated all together. If the notion is for people to serve and then return to their “regular” jobs, they can plan for their retirement through that vehicle.

      And….how about dorm style housing?

      • Critical Thinker,

        Can you please explain what exactly you mean by dorm housing, under what circumstances, who would be living in it, etc? I know what I thought when I read that, but I want to give you the benefit of the doubt :o) BTW, I’m currently living in dorm housing overseas so this mention really got my attention. Thanks!

        • Critical Thinker says:

          Sorry it took so long for the reply….

          By dorm housing, I meant that our politicians would not get all sorts of perks to live in mansions, but would be offered dorm or apartment stlye housing unless they want to pay out of their own pockets. Basically, I would like to see politicians be “servants” to their constituents for a brief time with as little tax burden to them and then return to the private sector.

  4. Bama dad says:

    Good morning all, as usual good job USW. I like the term limits you propose but also think we should do away with the 2 party system on the national and local level. If everyone is hung up on a party system, let’s have 50 parties: a Alabama party – a Texas party – a New York party, one for every state. That way they would only be responsible to the people of that state and not the Dem or Repub national party. GA I don’t think appointed senators would work as it would be too political (look how well that’s worked lately), let the people elect them with no party affiliation. What ever is done we need to get away from the bought and paid for career politicians.

    .

    • Barberian says:

      I too would like to see the States re-assert their original powers. It gripes me that the voters in New York have so much influence on the “quality of life” in my state.

      • Amazed1 says:

        Barberian…you have got that right!!! I to am tired of Ca, NY and other states telling me how things will be done. I think it falls under BF’s “force” that he talks about. Rual america is forced to live by the big city rules.

    • Keith E. says:

      Giving the States back the power to appoint the Senators again would create a situation where the Senators are beholden to their state government, in the same way that Representatives (with term limits) are beholden to the voters. Yes it would be a political appointment and politics would play a part in it, but it would be politics at a much closer level to the people especially if the Senators terms are tied to the appointing governors.

      It gets back to the separation of powers. Break up the power of government into as many pieces as possible and spread it out as far as can be and no one gets too big a slice of the power pie. Right now the democratic party has entirely too big a slice.

  5. Vinnster says:

    Actually, I am against term limits. The only power the constituents have over an elected official is the threat to remove them if they do not govern as the constituents want.

    That being said, the current system is not working because, we the voters are not doing our part. If we did what we are responsible for, the politicians could not do what they are doing. It is our failure that allows them to do what they do.

    Roughly 65% of eligible voters vote. And we know from numerous polls over the decades, currently, there are more of us than there are of them, its just they turn out more voters.

    There is no question they have the turnout advantage. Their voters are concentrated in cities, making it easy to organize them and get them to the polls. They practice voter fraud on a large scale and they promise the perpetually poor, a check every month. When your major source of income is only dependent on you getting off your butt once every two years to vote, it is not hard to see why they get them to vote Democrat.

    So what is the solution (for our side)? The only solution I can think of will probably never happen. That solution is to somehow awaken our voters. Our voters are spread out over a large geographic area. Many have given up because they see the deck stacked against them with the Press being an extension of the Democrat Party and in the large cities; totally corrupt Democrat machines turn a blind eye to voter fraud.

    How do we awaken our voters? By our own nature we are independent, so we do not organize or “join” on the scale Democrats do. I think it would take a movement similar to the Tea Parties, but it has to be organized and financed to buy the ads that will educate and warn our folks they are about to loose their freedoms and liberties…we are not so lucky as to get the billions of dollars in free advertising the Press provides the Democrats.

    The message has to stay on the lose of freedom and liberty.

    Can it be done? Sure it can. Will it be done? Maybe. The Tea Parties are a great start.

    • Good comment, I agree it’s the voters responsibility. The government is corrupt because we’re not doing our job.

    • Barberian says:

      Vinnster,

      You speak the truth given that an educated electorate constitutes the majority. However I think that we now are in a situation whereas an additional check/balance is needed to compensate for the multitude of voters that think their responsibility to govern themselves begins and ends at the voting booth. Showing up every two years “ain’t making it”!

      • Vinnster says:

        I am sorry to say, you are probably correct.

      • If we’re that far gone then there is no hope. But I don’t believe it. People know the truth when they hear it. Theyt just haven’t heard it in awhile. Republicans are HORRIBLE at educating people to their views. Republicans have become far too concerned about getting re-elected and being “moderate”, whatever that is.

        It’s time for the people to do the work, and we are: Tea Parties, 9-12 project, blogs like this one, alternative news and media. It really is non-partsan and it needs to stay that way. I predict the end of the Republican party very soon now.

        • Barberian says:

          “It’s time for the people to do the work,”

          Correct Michelle, but since the beginning of this country it was the people’s responsibility to do the work. Mr. Jefferson said “The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history,
          whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.” We have proxied our responsibility to govern ourselves to those we trusted. They inturn have become the elite that he spoke of.
          It’s time to take back that proxy and assume our responsibilities that so many and so much has been sacrificed for.

          If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
          — Samuel Adams

    • revolution2010 says:

      Again, I think we are missing one big part here… I know I post this point often, but I cannot help but think it is a MAJOR part of the problem/solution. Education… our youngsters don’t grow up UNDERSTANDING the importance of the educated vote. In many ways it is as important to their future as English or Math and should be given it’s proper place in our educational system. Children should leave the school system with the faculties to actual RUN their own government.

  6. I have thought about term limits before and came up with the same numbers as US.
    And like several here, I feel outlawing all political parties would have more impact on regaining control of our government.

    GOOOH is not a political party. Hope all have given it a look.

    I’m not sure about electing SC justices, but we need a way to remove them when they act contrary to their oath of office. Such as applying international law or popular opinion to cases, instead of simply and only US law/Constitution.

  7. I have thought for year that there should be term limits on Congress. I thought of the lame duck issue, but some of these people stay forever-not doing anything anyway. Lets keep the people moving, not collecting dust on their feet. 8 years for everyone across the board. Then move on
    !

    • I agree with the term limits and like your idea Ellen. Here in Michigan, we have Carl Levin who has never done anything for this state. All pols do is go to Washington to get rich.

  8. Ray Hawkins says:

    I do agree that there should be term limits – with some caveats.

    1. I don’t like the fact that we elect Reps every two years – as complex a system we have it would seem that it could take one at least several months to ‘get your feet wet’ before you can fully understand & grasp all the issues and information presented and act effectively. I would think something b/n 4-6 years to be more appropriate.

    2. Limit all offices to two terms – period. Enable the voters to decide if an elected official can run for more than one term (maybe via primary or special ballot?). While I may think a guy like Thad Cochran is a fossil and should step aside perhaps he does a remarkable job for the people from Mississippi and they are well served from having him in office. New does not always equal better.

    3. Define pork barrel – what is pork to one is value to another.

    • Truthseeker says:

      Define Pork barrel:

      When Federal dollars pays for state projects. Why should my federal tax dollars pay for your states projects? Its one thing that your state taxes pay for it, but another when its Federal dollars. That is my definition of pork.

    • Pork: Extra unrelated junk tacked onto a bill. It’s not right for a legislator to have to vote for someone’s pet project in order to vote for a good bill (or the converse is also true).

    • Bama dad says:

      Definition of pork spending:

      1. Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
      2. Not specifically authorized;
      3. Not competitively awarded;
      4. Not requested by the President;
      5. Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or
      the previous year’s funding;
      6. Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
      7. Serves only a local or special interest.

      • esomhillgazette says:

        Another definition of pork Bama:

        $400,000 given to the NIH to go study Alcoholism in Gay Men in Agentina.

        If anyone has a problem smelling the bacon in this one, you need to have your nose checked.

        • That was under Bush, right?

          • esomhillgazette says:

            No, this was found just yesterday I believe in the Stimulus Act.

            • Oh, OK. Glenn Beck was talking about it last night, and after he told the details, he said it happened when Bush was in office.

              • esomhillgazette says:

                Alright. My sister-in-law was yakkin’ in my ear when he was talking about it and I missed that part.
                It’s still pork though, and made my jaw drop! That was the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        To borrow a phrase from Justice Potter Stewart in regards to ruling on censorship and defining ‘hard core pornography’ – I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT

    • revolution2010 says:

      Ray,
      As far as pork, this is one of the best stories I have read. It is true, it comes from our history, it includes Davey Crockett (who was in congress and I had NO IDEA!)and explains EXACTLY what pork is… it started along time ago, and this is how… it is long, but WORTH THE READ
      http://www.juntosociety.com/patriotism/inytg.html

    • I agree..two years is not really fair. They get to Washington then soon after have to run again. So lets make it four year terms for everyone. No confusion, no mess.

  9. Truthseeker says:

    I also came up with the same kind of limits as you have proposed USW. My only problem is not that they become lame ducks, but who sits on the commities and will people get enoug experience on them on how they work to even become senior. That is my only question.

  10. Redleg says:

    I thnik that the first thing would be to repeal the 17th Amendment and return the selecting of the senators to the state governments. Allow the states to figue it out how they do it, popular vote, selected by the legislature, appointed by the governor, I don’t care, as long as removes gets it off of the natinal stage and returns the power to the states. It allows the states voters to decide how to select their senators, and how much power to give to their state, as the Constitution intended. I also agree that the two-party system needs to be broken, the only way to do it is to remove their power by starting at the lowest levels of government. Get your town and county governments to make all of the seats non-partisian and do not allow candidates and holders of elected offices to declare a party affiliation. At the state and national levels, get your state to change the rules for allowing third party candidates on the ballot. The biggest death blow to the two party system woud be to get your state to award electoral votes to candidate based on the percentage of votes that they get in the state. California, New York, Oregon and Washington no longer become automatic Democratic wins. Almost all states become battleground states, and it definetely allows for third party candidates to get electoral votes. Ross Perot could have received 101 electoral votes based on his 18.8% of the national popular vote, and would have thrown the result of the election to the House because no candidate would have received 270 electoral college votes. That would be something that would make the two big parties stand up and take notice.

  11. Redleg says:

    Agree with that definitio of pork. Federal taxes should be for specific purposes, that is why we need to get rid of the 16th amendment and go to a pay-to play system.

    • RWBoveroux says:

      Be careful what you ask for Redleg. Pay to Play is the state motto in NJ and that state is quickly going down the drain right behind CA.

  12. How about we run the house and senate like the national guard. One weekend a month and two weeks a year. That way they could keep their day job and stay connected with the real world. They would have to live in the state they represent, instead of in Washington. Those guys have WAY too much time on their hands. Also that would give them more time to think over legislation and talk with real people (as oppposed other legislators or lobbyists) before they vote.

  13. I'm learning! says:

    If we enact idea of term limits, we could end up with a lame duck towards the end of the last term, or someone pushing through a special interest for the sake of a career after their political career is over. I also like most of Rowe’s ideas. After the last election, I would love to see:

    1. A specific start point for campaigning. It seemed like this election would never end (but considering I live in MN – I guess it hasn’t).

    2. Fundraising limits – or some sort of limits anyway. Allocate the same amount of commercial time for all candidates possibly. I don’t know the best way to handle that, but after hearing all the money that Clinton, Obama, etc. kept raising – all I could think was what a waste! At one point, I actually thought it would be great to start a movement to vote for the person that ran their campaign on the least money!

    But then I question myself – are these thoughts just reactions and really infringing on the freedoms we are trying so hard to keep? All I know is most of America are completely sick of the campaign long before the election.

    I WISH FOR THE SAKE OF THE AVERAGE AMERICAN, THAT THE ISSUES WOULD BE CLEARER! Commercials say things such as “He voted against funding to protect our troops at war”. Then in a debate you hear the real story is some bill has 1 million for troops and added in another 2 million for some sort of pork that had nothing to do with military or war. WHY CAN’T BILLS BE FOR ONLY ONE ISSUE?

    Same with justices – if it’s voted on by the people, or if it remains as an appointment, we need clarity, not mumbo jumbo, to voice our opinion. They support (or have made decisions for or against) specific topics. Whatever that list may be – abortion, civil liberties, immigration, death penalty, – there could be multiple things on the list.

    But how do you find a neutral party to accurately gather this information?

    • That is why we need to give the president the line item veto. Then he would never get to say that congress forced him to sign pork into law.

      • or alternately, get a President who is willing to grab sack and send a bill that is loaded with pork but is otherwise good back to Congress and then tell the American people that Congress forced him to veto it because of all of the pork in it. That would force Congress to either a) take out the pork and resubmit it, or b) override the veto. Which one do you think would be the most likely scenario?

        • I'm learning! says:

          Today – especially if Frankin wins the battle, the will just override the veto!

          I wish I could feel confident that any President would use the line item veto that way, or that main stream media would publish the exact reason he didn’t sign a bill if he used it.

          It would be great if they could just keep it simple to start with – one topic per bill! It would save everyone time in the long run.

      • JayDickB says:

        You youngsters probably don’t know this, but prior to 1974, a president didn’t have to spend what congress appropriated. Congress didn’t like Nixon sequestering appropriations and passed the “Budget Impoundment and Control Act” in 1974.

        I say just repeal that law. The appropriation then becomes an upper limit, not a lower limit.

  14. Naten53 says:

    Term limits and no Federal Pork needs to be enacted.

    In Pennsylvania we have the second largest state legislator in the united states (behind New Hampshire). There is no reason these two states should have that many people on the state level. It has turned into being as bad as the Federal government, getting nothing done other than increasing debt and spending.

    What would the result of no pork be? In my mind it would be the reduction of spending on the Federal level. Who in Washington can decide how best to distribute ‘stimulus’ money to ___ (insert your state)?

    Pennsylvania has a system in place that is good in theory. There is the state government, county government, and local government. With all those governments you get ‘individual’ attention, and wastes of money.

    The point is the Federal government would use less money by not having pork and the states would raise taxes to get their projects for their own people. If I had to choose one of those two it would be higher state taxes and lower federal. But when was the last time you saw any government shrink? Pennsylvania can’t even vote in people to the state government that went on a platform of reducing the size of the legislator.

    Government: If you don’t like the problems we make, just wait until you see our solutions.

    • I had to look it up, but NH has an amazing ratio for representing the people, but : At the other end of the scale, the 424 part-time legislators in New Hampshire — the largest state legislature — get $100 a year for their annual 45-day legislative session. New Hampshire is one of 18 states where state lawmaking is mostly a second job for legislators. The median income for those elected officials is $9,230.

      I think PA was over $65k / per annum!!

      http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=179978

      So that segues to the point: what has changed?
      “The Congress of the founding fathers was made up of part time representatives, not career politicians. These men were farmers, blacksmiths, and innkeepers, for whom serving was really more of a burden away from their lives. They did so out of a sense of duty and patriotism and a desire to serve their fellow man and to help create a better country.”

      I agree whole heartedly ! If you have a choice between a lawyer (non-productive avocation) and someone with ANY other background, vote for the other one even if it ‘looks’ like he’s not that smart! (another of my points proven valid this past election) Heck I’d outlaw them running ! Let them be advisors.

      Did we nationally go thru a term limit discussion 10-20 yrs ago? What happened to it? Candidates pledged to only serve a few terms, then when it was up, decided that they could do so much more… .. ..

      But I’ve thought that for president a 6yr term was better than 2 4 yr terms. Until now – the 1st time that 2 years yrs is going to be destructive. Senators – 2 terms of 4 yrs, and legislators – 2 terms of 3 years. Senator wield too much entrenched power, and 2 years is too short a period until y=they have to run again. But if we continue on the road to the UK type of democracy – maybe we should use their system! (tongue in cheek, but who knows – I don’t know enuf) TIA

      • esomhillgazette says:

        I was glad to see GA at least in the bottom third. Even if they were at the top.

      • Frank:

        Take the map you referenced and use the colors Red, Blue and purple then compare.

        Kind of interesting isn’t it?

        JAC

  15. Black Flag says:

    Regardless of what system you want to implement to chose those that God-wise people to rule above you, it will distort and warp society.

    One example – you want term limits to remove bad politicians by default, because you believe those that vote the same guy in time after time are stupid people – which means the whole “choosing by vote of the people” is totally flawed.

    You either believe the voting system of politics ‘works’ or it doesn’t.

    If it does, why are you FOR term limits?

    If it doesn’t work, why are you FOR voting?

    The way I see it, you like the system when they vote in your guy but want term limits to stop their guy.

    • JayDickB says:

      I have seen good people go to DC only to be corrupted. Power corrupts and makes people want more power.

      Get them out of there before they get too corrupt.

      Not all politicians succumb, but too many do. Of course, some are corrupt when they get there. I don’t know a good fix for that except better voters.

    • Your reasoning is flawed.

      By your reasoning the entire human race should just lay down and die because anything we do is flawed.

      Surprise, surprise . . . We Humans are not perfect, and anything we build or do or think up will never be perfect.

      The entire Universe is in a constant state of change, i.e. nothing will ever stay the same.

      To ignore life is nothing but committing the human race to extinction.

      To ignore our government does nothing but give us the condition that we are now in today . . . but only worse.

      Good Morning BF, I see you are at it again 🙂 . . . Ahhh, what a good nights sleep does for the mind! 😉

      • JayDickB says:

        GAR

        That’s quite a stretch.

        I’m talking about trying to reform a governmental body that is not functioning well.

        I’m not ready to take on the whole human race (yet).

    • Black Flag says:

      Therefore, GA your system is completely flawed.

      You cannot stand back and claim we are imperfect, therefore, though we demand voting power to chose or not certain people, we need a concurrent system that overthrows the vote of the people to chose or not certain people.

      Typical, rampant, contradiction of politics.

      No wonder it’s evil.

      • I do not have to claim that we humans are imperfect . . . all we have to do is look in the mirror and the evidence stares us straight in the face.

        There will never ever be a political system that is perfect, however the one we currently have is the best one going so far as I have seen – and I have seen more than a few of them. It is really amazing what you can learn about another country’s political system when you get to work with their law enforcement agencies a time or two.

        We The People are not perfect, nor should we expect to be, yet I do trust the individual voter much more than the cigar smokin’ back room boys of the political party system that currently runs this country – and if you don’t think that is the case, well all I can say for you is open up your eyes and ears. Where do you think Barack Hussein Obama gets his teleprompter loaded up from?

    • USWeapon says:

      Incorrect sir. I believe that the current climate in Washington corrupts representatives. I have confidence in people choosing a representative. I don’t have confidence in that representative remaining loyal to those he represents under the system because re-election becomes the goal instead of serving honorably. I didn’t say I wanted term limits for one party, I said term limits. So where does this your guy versus their guy thing come in?

      • Black Flag says:

        So, let me – again – get this straight.

        You do not believe the People are correct in voting for their candidates, no matter how many times they chose they want him – so you want some mechanism to
        overthrow their choices?

        • USWeapon says:

          I do believe that the people are correct in voting in whomever they would like. But I do believe that once there, the politicians become beholden to the party, and the party devotes massive resources into making sure that someone else does not have the ability to unseat the incumbent. This is not about the people.

        • JayDickB says:

          I trust the people (most of the time, anyhow), but I also know that power-hungry politicians are adept at lying about and hiding their lust for power (and other evils as well).

          In a better world, the press would point out politicians’ deficiencies, but that seldom happens now and, when it does happen, voters often seem to ignore it.

          If I had my ‘druthers, voting would be more difficult to qualify for. Qualifications could include paying taxes for example and not being on welfare. Other qualifications could also be applied.

          Given the situation we find ourselves in, our best chance is to not allow people to stay in powerful, distant offices very long.

  16. JayDickB says:

    Haven’t had time to read all the posts yet (I will), but thanks for starting the discussion.

    I agree with USW, but I would add one thing. Every 2 years a question would appear on the ballot like this: Should xxx be retained as a (congressman/senator) from xxx? Automatic chance to recall. It could also be done via a petition process, but don’t make it too difficult. Gotta keep their attention somehow.

    Although desirable, I don’t think it’s feasible to ban parties; too much infringement on speech to achieve it.

    • JayDickB says:

      Whoops. Scratch congressmen. They already get voted on every two years. Senior moment.

    • I like the thought of a question, or two. Gay marriage, abortion, line item veto? Could be very useful if we as a nation got to vote on our main issues.

  17. Off subject…Congrats good ol’ USA. We have performed our first face transplant…and Connie Culp shows her new identity. I didn’t know that we in-house faces. I knew about vital organs but your face can be donated? The donor face has not been identified. That’s kinda scary to me…Shed some light for me!

  18. Good discussion but…the whole system is flawed PERIOD. The whole system needs to be reconstructed from the mechanical usage of the machinery we use, to the time appointed, to electoral and popular votes, ect. Honestly, I feel that our votes haven’t counted for years; they place there puppeteer in on there on terms and who they feel is fit to push their agenda. The only reason why I still vote is due to all of the bloodshed that gave us that right; out of respect for my ancestors

  19. Naten53 says:

    Like I said in comment 14 before seeing this, If there is no federal pork then the money you pay in taxes will become state pork. I would rather have state pork because reduced taxes are unlikely because the government never gives back what it already has.

    Government: If you don’t like the problems we make, just wait until you see our solutions.

  20. Birdman says:

    One term only for the House and Senate. Cut their salary in half and eliminate any perks. We have way too many laws now and we don’t need any more. Congress doesn’t think they are doing anything unless they pass some form of regulation or legislation. Every law or regulation they pass is an erosion of our freedom.

    • JayDickB says:

      If you cut salaries, you will get only wealthy candidates. That may be OK, but realize that’s what will happen.

      I dislike congress as much as anyone, but I don’t think they are overpaid. Seeking and expanding power is really hard work.

  21. At least Barney Frank isn’t totally useless:
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/05/06/lawmakers-bet-internet-gambling-legislation/

    “The government should not interfere with people’s liberty unless there is a good reason,” Frank said. “This is, I believe, the single biggest example of an intrusion into the principle that people should be free to do things on the Internet. It’s clearly the case that gambling is an activity that can be done offline but not online.”

    “The notion that a society should prohibit something entirely because of the possibility that children will abuse it is a terrible blow to liberty,” Frank said.

    Co-sponsored by a Republican from New York, so far opposed by a Republican from Alabama (and probably most Republicans as the ban was originally signed by Bush).

    “If you put a computer in a teenager’s bedroom, or in a student’s dorm room at college, it’s a temptation that many fall prey to,” Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said in a statement. “In fact, studies have shown that the earlier one begins gambling, the more likely it is he or she will become a compulsive problem gambler.”

    Frank’s probably been bought off by the poker sites while the Republicans are afraid to upset their religious zealot base who think gambling is a sin and people shouldn’t be allowed to be free, but it’s an interesting flip on the liberty ideals here.

    • Ya know – there are just some things that no matter how one doesn’t want to curtail anothers freedoms, you know should not be, whether its because we would lose tax revenue (probably main reason), protect the poor sap (me) who gets scammed out of my bets, because there is no control over thiefs. etc etc

  22. Black Flag says:

    So, you don’t trust the people to chose

    I thought you said voting was important and changes things?

    • Black Flag says:

      (this was a reply to USWep)

    • USWeapon says:

      We can go back and forth on this all night. You know what I said and I know what you said. You are trying to be contrary on this. I trust the people to choose just fine when they are presented with an honest choice. The party support limits the ability for an honest choice to be presented to the people. The party, at this point, because the incumbent supports the party over the people, makes sure that no choice is given to the people. Is there any point that you won’t argue? In doing so you are just being difficult. I think 99% of the people get clearly what I am saying yet you are attempting to make me spend hours explaining it to your satisfaction.

    • Black Flag says:

      By what right to you think you know the people’s choice is dishonest?

      IF the People CHOSE that person, what RIGHT to you claim that YOU think that is wrong???

      If believe the people are too stupid to see through these tricks, and you need to set up some bizarre system to correct their error – YOUR WHOLE SYSTEM IS BIZARRE.

      • Black Flag says:

        And no, I’m not being argumentive.

        I am exposing how easy politics perverts.

        You can’t even see the contradiction of the very principle you profess on this site nightly.

        You want democratic republican representation – which means the people chose their representation.

        You are supporting the elimination of that exact thing. The people are not allowed to chose the very person they have, repeatedly, wanted to represent them.

        Politics twists everything.

        • USWeapon says:

          I see the contradictions that you are talking about. It isn’t that there are contradictions. It is that based on the system currently employed, we have to work within that to fix it at the moment. And at the moment the parties controlling the representatives is the bigger issue.

  23. Black Flag says:

    Jay

    You either agree that voters have the right to chose, or you do not.

    Why do you trust their decision for the first (2, 3 or 4 or some arbitrary limit), but not more?

    • JayDickB says:

      BF

      Because as politicians gain power, they lust for more power. The longer they are in office, the more adept they become at deceiving the people about their lust for power and the more lust for power they have. Because the government has become so powerful, politicians have more power and lust for even more.

      Ideally, we would reduce the government’s power. Term limits would then become less relevant. If lessened government power is not possible (and currently, it does not seem to be), maybe term limits would be helpful in mitigating the power issue.

      Moreover, I don’t like politicians.

      • Black Flag says:

        But I thought the voter’s have a right to chose whom ever they want to represent them?

        So you do want to over rule republican democracy!!

        Ay, the hidden agenda conspiracy come to light!

        • JayDickB says:

          I want to limit the power of the federal government.

          Do you think term limits on the President are good? If so, why not for the congress?

        • Black Flag says:

          I think its a contradiction to claim the right to vote for your representative (no matter who) and then trying to pervert that process at the same time.

          Either the People have the right to vote for whomever they wish – which may mean they select the same people over and over again –

          OR

          – the People to not have the right to vote for their Representatives and its a sham.

          (PS: I think its a sham)

          • USWeapon says:

            Term limits are not perverting the process. The process is being perverted as it stands. Terms limits would be one step towards eliminating the perversion that exists. Quit being difficult.

          • Black Flag says:

            Again, you offer merely a contradiction.

            The people have a right to chose their representatives by their vote.

            Yet, you want to remove that right.

            That’s the problem, USWep – a contradiction.

            If the people are good enough to chose a representative – why do YOU believe you have the right to DENY them a choice they have PROVEN they want to make?

  24. Amazed1 says:

    One of the major problems with our Congress is the ability to take bill add 50 other things to it to get others to vote for it and then they make it a law….this needs to change….one bill with one thing on it only. They way we do things of ok we need a new highway…. CA needs more welfare money, FL needs a new sports area, ok put them on one bill and vote on it is dumb. What really irks me is when they add, gun control or health care or some other law that can not pass on its own. And our Congress thinks this is reasonable. Our whole system need a overhaul.

  25. Black Flag says:

    If you’re hell-bent on a government representation

    Why don’t you simply support the jury method?

    1. Randomly pick a the few hundred ‘citizens’ of legal age randomly in a lottery. They are paid the same salary they had before they were chosen. The company that loses their employee gets compensation of the same for having to hire a replacement.

    This is pretty cheap. No need for pension plans – and a few hundred people out of a handful of employees is no biggie on any budget.

    Each one chosen has to serve two terms – and half the representatives are chosen annually.

    2) Let them chose the President for out of their lot for the length of that term.

    3)Let them chose the for the same term the Judiciary based on nominations of the choices provided by the outgoing Judiciary choices. They can nominate themselves as long as they also nominate a replacement.

  26. Black Flag says:

    Well that was a bit incoherent —

    Cleaned up a bit…

    If you’re hell-bent on a government representation

    Why don’t you simply support the jury method?

    1. Randomly pick a the few hundred ‘citizens’ of legal age randomly in a lottery. They are paid the same salary they had working before they were chosen. The company that loses their employee gets compensation of the same for having to hire a replacement.

    This is pretty cheap. No need for pension plans – and a few hundred people out of a handful of employees is no biggie on any budget.

    Each one chosen has to serve two terms – and half the representatives are chosen annually.

    2) Let them chose the President out of their lot for the length of a single term. He chooses own his executive.

    3)Let them chose, for the same term, the Judiciary based on nominations of the choices provided by the outgoing Judiciary.

    The outgoing Judiciary can nominate themselves as long as they also nominate a replacement.

    • Black Flag says:

      Maybe replace ‘term’ with ‘year’ – I can’t imagine anyone would want to stay in running the hell of government for 8 years without committing suicide.

      • Amazed1 says:

        LOL….I couldn’t imagine having to live in DC for a year….someone would proaly commit suicide for me.

    • I like my idea better. Lottery tickets rarely win – been playing them for years and ain’t won a thing . . . . . yet 😉

    • Amazed1 says:

      Not a bad idea…maybe a little mixture of the two. Each state gets 1 senator and 1 congressman on a term limit. All the other members are picked via lottery….kinda of like being on a jury. I just wonder what would happen if we happened to pull a selection where 1/2 could not read, write or had no idea how to make a bill. Ought to prove interesting for awhile…the media would go nuts trying to figure out how to make it work to their advantage. All the forgein leaders would have to wonder what kind of nut they would be dealing with next.

    • USWeapon says:

      That might be the dumbest thing I have ever heard you say (or saw you type). With the idiots that currently populate the voting booths, you want to take a chance that the ones who win the lottery will be smart enough to run the country. I know that this would be your dream, as it would lead to ruin in a matter of years. We have a hard enough time trying to get people educated enough to vote, let alone educated enough to lead.

      • Black Flag says:

        First, as the one who believes in voting – you believe the People are smart enough to pick someone who will run your life, so why not believe these very choosy People can run the country directly?

        Second, I doubt anyone would really want the job. It’s like jury duty – who really wants that job?

        Third, most people aren’t stupid. Therefore, the odds say the majority wouldn’t be stupid this way either>b? – and would control the 15% of the morons.

        By your way guarantees that the worse get in power.

        My way plays the odds that at least 80% will be people with common sense who have no desire to be in ‘congress critters’, and no desire to muck with people’s lives.

        • USWeapon says:

          I am not even going to waste my time going down this road with you. If you think most people aren’t stupid, you aren’t paying attention. And I am not relying on them to choose someone to run my life. I am hoping they become educated enough to choose the one who will stay out of it for a change. As I said, I will let this go, because I don’t see the point in arguing it. There is no contradiction here and I am not going to change your mind in any way. The system is what it is, and I believe that term limits would be a good change to the system as it stands, regardless of your hypotheticals.

          • Black Flag says:

            As I said, the problem with government and all that it is, is that it is a contradiction in moral principles.

            You are trying to ‘fix it’ by…. contradiction of democratic/republican principles.

            Hand One – the right to chose a representative.

            Hand Two – remove that right to chose THAT representative, that has PROVEN to be the choice of the people.

            You cannot fix an evil (contradiction) by adding more evil (contradiction).

          • Black Flag says:

            PS:

            AND I am by no measure an elitist that demeans the common man.

            I believe that the common man is essentially good, and is intelligent.

            Darwin’s Theory sorta made that happen.

      • Black Flag says:

        Arg…

        First, as the one who believes in voting – you believe the People are smart enough to pick someone who will run your life, so why not believe these very choosy People can run the country directly?

        Second, I doubt anyone would really want the job. It’s like jury duty – who really wants that job?

        Third, most people aren’t stupid. Therefore, the odds that congress would be populated by a majority of reasonable, non-power hungry citizens – and would control the 15% that mightmorons. But even at the worse, these morons aren’t the power-hungry politicians that are the norm in this system of “voting”.

        Your way WILL ALWAYS guarantee that the worse get in power. Whether you try to control them with term-limits matters not one wit. They are the worse of society – power hungry critters, and will pervert any system that allows them the ‘beauty contest’ style of political power.

        My way plays the odds that at least 80% will be people with common sense who have no desire to be in ‘congress critters’, and no desire to muck with people’s lives.

      • US:
        I suggest very deep breath and then calmly look at this thread again. I fear you have a contradiction lying at your feet, buzzing like the rattler it is. Right now its tied to your leg. You need to calmly cut it loose and back away.

        BF’s idea actually has some merit. I might tweek a little. Remember, a jury pool is usually at least twice the actual jury selected. Each house member and senator could be selected from a larger pool. Written tests and interviews could be done to eliminate the nut cases, of all types.

        You might use the pool concept to create a field that then runs for election. Say 10 for each seat. But they must run. Political parties could then only help party members who were randomly selected by the lottery and made the final cut. That would surely reduce their influence in deciding who the people get to vote for.

        Now, if you have calmed down let me try something.

        If you believe the free citizens living in a country designed to protect their liberty should have the right to vote for their elected representatives, then any attempt to restrict their right is a contradiction with your belief. Term limits place a restriction on that right, pure and simple.

        Now before the blood pressure goes up again go to my post at #32.

        I hope this helps
        JAC

  27. The only reason to restrict voting privledges is because you believe the voters are incompetant to vote. I’m sure there are many people who are incompetant, but you have to be careful deciding who. Next time it will be YOU who is declared incompetant. No, there should be no restrictions on voting beyond the 18 year age limit and that someone be a citizen.

    Also, I have to agree with Black Flag that term limits express a vote of “no confidence” in the voters as much as in the legislators.

    The real problem is in the lack of education (laziness) of the people and lack of morals. This is why so many of the founders insisted that a republic will only work if the people are moral–we are governing ourselves.

    Something must be done, certainly, but that something involves changing the American people, not the American system.

    • Barberian says:

      The problem there is people voting that “don’t have a dog in the fight”. Referencing those that do not pay income taxes. Should they have the right to vote? Remember the frequent pay raises that Congress gives itself? This is the same issue, those that do not pay income taxes are likely to vote for politicians that promise them more handouts. Either do away with the 16th amendment or restrict voting rights to only those that pay income taxes.

  28. Black Flag says:

    (Off topic, but got to love the irony)

    Eco Sailors Rescued by “Big Oil” Tanker:
    6 05 2009
    from:
    BBC NEWS

    Eco-sailors rescued by oil tanker

    An expedition team which set sail from Plymouth on a 5,000-mile carbon emission-free trip to Greenland have been rescued by an oil tanker.

  29. Amazed1 says:

    Congressional pay:
    They were paid per diem for the days they were in session and changed to a yearly fee sometime after 1817. In 1855 they were paid 3000 per year. in 100 years (1855-1955) the pay was raised to 22500. In 54 years their pay has raised 146800 to the current rate of 169300 plus all kinds of benefits and perks.
    Now, has anyone here been working for the last 55 years? Has your pay increased from the beginning to date 147000? How about perks have your perks increased like congress?
    I have only been working 35 years so I really can not equally relate but doing the same job for the last 35 years my perks have not increased and wages have only increased about 26000.
    My guess is I am a funny critter, but…. I think people in congress need to be there for the people….not the money. They are a public servant and should act like one instead of acting like it is a high paying job they should be treating it like it is a way to serve their state and country. Use to be you did not go to college to become a politician….now you go to college specificaly to become a politician…what is wrong with the picture? Instead of being a service it is a JOB what people do to earn a living….I don’t think that is what the founding fathers had in mind.

  30. I agree with the general idea of term limits, but there are problems with it. Currently, congressional staff have a lot of power. They’re the ones who read all the details of the legislation and ‘coach’ the elected officials on how to vote. With term limits, the staff would have even more ability to control inexperienced members of congress.

    Lobbyists are another HUGE problem already. With inexperienced members of congress, they’ll have even more power and control.

    And I think many of the members of congress forced out by term limits would just become staffers and lobbyists (they already become lobbyists, but there are some limits on how soon and who they can lobby). They would ‘pick’ their successor, campaign for him/her, and then control them as staffers…

    Some experience is good in congress. Legislation is complicated and if you over-simplify it, the lawyers will have a field day finding loopholes for everything.

    I would say 12 years would be a good limit. Keeps enough knowledge and experience, but also stops the career politicians.

    Some of the other things discussed above:

    Trying to eliminate political parties would be a 1st amendment issue. They are not part of government. Get involved to change them, or start a new party (which of course is pretty much impossible in today’s world). Maybe provide public funding for 3rd party candidates, but that is full of problems too. Political parties also help new members learn the ropes and how the rules work…not necessarily always a good thing…

    I don’t like the idea of electing the Supreme Court. We do that in Wisconsin, and it’s suppose to be non-political, but it’s pretty obvious when big business and the NRA supports one candidate and the Unions support the other candidate. This gives the big money the ability to control the Supreme Court the way they control Congress.

    I’d like to limit the length of political campaigns. The 2008 campaigns ran for almost 2 years, and candidates are already declaring for 2010…and running ads…too much MONEY! But if you try to limit that, you’re infringing on my (and your) right to support a candidate…

    And state government appointing Senators…two words on that – Rob Blagojevich! Doesn’t matter if it’s the state legislature or governor. Too much power and deal making.

    Just a side note on everyone’s favorite – Ear Marks. Ear marks do not really increase federal spending, they just direct how some of it is spent.

    Example: The Department of Transportation is given $100 million for roads. The Secretary of Transportation has authority on how to spend that. An ear mark says that $10 million must be spent on a certain project – fixing a specific freeway in a city.

    If you remove the ear mark, the Secretary of Transportation gets to spend the entire $100 million on what ever he wants. So you’re just giving authority to someone else. You could reduce the amount to $90 million, but that freeway needs to be fixed at some point…

    The Ear Mark process needs to be improved, and the stupid wasteful spending eliminated, but there are useful projects in there.

    A previous topic on this blog was how smart our founding father’s were and what a great system they created, and now everyone here thinks we should throw that out or make MAJOR changes to the system they created? For everything that’s wrong with our government, we’re still the best country in the world. And the process has worked for 230 years. Big MONEY has gotten too much power and control, but I guarantee they’ll get that power and control no matter how you change the system.

    The real solution – get involved. Find good local / state officials, support them as they move up thru the system to state and national office. Hold them accountable when they make bad decisions…

    • Todd:

      I am going to put this comment here because you brought up lobbyists. I am not jumping on you here, but everyone who has attacked lobbyists over the past couple of months.

      Lobbyists are not the problem. You are all represented by at least one lobbyist in D.C. and probably more at the state level. These people carry your water both directly and indirectly. Good lobbyists serve a good purpose and can help the legislative processes run better. They provide institutional memory that even staff lose with time. They are often your only defense against the bureaucrats once the laws are passed.

      And 90% plus of lobbyists don’t go around with bags of money bribing congress. It actually works the other way, most of the time. Senator tells executives of industry represented by lobbyist A, that if he doesn’t get bigger donations this year he may have to start suppoting the other side. Industry ponies up more money.

      There has to be someone else reading this site that has been or has worked directly with lobbyists. I can’t be the only one. Please jump in and don’t worry about these sharks tearing your hide off. Please explain from your perspective what it is you do and what contribution it makes.

      JAC

      • I’ll agree that there are many good lobbyists, but there are also many that have too much power.

        Your comment about Senators asking for money and the lobbyist making the donation is the problem (too me).

        It doesn’t matter if the money is given by the lobbyists or asked for by the Senator. That tells me the lobbyists has too much money to donate (stopping that is a 1st amendment isssue) and/or the Senator is corrupt.

        If the lobbyists has a valid point, big money shouldn’t be required…

        • First of all the lobbyist doesn’t have the money, usually. It is held by a PAC or group represented by the lobbyist.

          The politician gets access to the group and hits them up for the money. The group decides who gets money and who doesn’t.

          It is to win races, not get votes on Issue A or B. So whether the lobbyist has a good point on Issue A or B isn’t relevant to the money issue. It does go to credibility and thus the lobbyists access to the politician. Corrupt or just plain bad lobbyists don’t get access, once discovered.

          Also, most politicians who associate with lobbyists or groups of certain beliefs generally share those values in the beginning. The Senator from Carolina who supports tobacco gets tobacco’s support. Folks who criticize lobbying forget sometimes that this is how it works for most.

          “If the lobbyists has a valid point, big money shouldn’t be required…” You are right, but it does take alot of money to run races and some politicians become corrupted by their quest to win reelection. Thus big money is required, regardless of how good the point was.

          As money is a first amendment issue the only way I have come up with to eliminate it is to eliminate the politicians authority to pass laws that cause the various groups to give the big money. I am interested in any other ideas if you have them.

          JAC

          • The best solution to all of this is to elect good people who will truly represent their constituents and the countries best interests…

    • Todd:

      On your other comment: “And the process has worked for 230 years. Big MONEY has gotten too much power and control, but I guarantee they’ll get that power and control no matter how you change the system.”

      The process has not worked, as intended, for 230 years. If you read back on the march to socialism series you will find that beginning around 1860 we jumped to a different track. The departure from the original was gradual at first but continues to accelerate at an ever increasing rate.

      Big money has gotten to much control because we have allowed congress to create the power to blackmail Big Money, so Big Money protects itself by paying the money needed to stay alive. If we were to remove the power over Big Money, Big Money would not worry one little bit about what Congress is doing. With the power to attack comes the desire and right to defend against attack.

      Of course without the need to defend oneself, Big Money no longer has a need to fund political campaigns, thus solving the campaign limits issue all together. See how consistency with core principles can make for a happy ending?

      Best Wishes
      JAC

      • I think the system has worked. The move toward socialism is a natural one as populations increase, society matures, etc. I read most of the ‘March to Socialism’ posts – I don’t want to restart that.

        If you want to slow/stop that, get involved and elect people that will stop it.

        But our government has “worked” in the sense that the US still exists, and for all it’s faults it’s still the greatest country on earth.

        I disagree that big money only reacts to congress’s demand for money. Big money is in the game to get laws passed that favor them and laws stopped that don’t favor them.

        Big money is always in the game. Is there a government anywhere in the world that isn’t controlled by big money?

        • As long as you are not implying that Big Money is only Big Business then I would agree that those who seek power will do what they can to secure it. It is not just money that greases the wheel.

          Yes, there are those who wish to have govt provide benefits not just protect themselves against regulation. But if Congress has no authority to provide such support they will go away and survive on their own, or perish as they should.

          And while you didn’t say it explicitly, until we the people decide to stop fighting over the scraps thrown by congress, there will be no real change.

          Now for the hare part. You stated that you feel the progression towards socialism is natural as population grows and society matures. Could you please explain why you think this is a natural process. And does that mean it is inevitable?

          If you are correct then I might as well crawl in a hole, because I am fighting hard against nature. And that would of course be illogical.
          JAC

          • Society was much simplier 200 years ago. Most commerce was ‘local’, roads were just dirt paths, etc. Now everything is so intertwined, almost no commerce is ‘local’. “Socialism” starts with basic services like police, fire, EMT. As society grows and matures, these grow. Add in better roads that require maintenance, that then require traffic lights and speed limits. As the size oif cities grow, we “need” more laws to “protect” everyone and we slowly give up some freedom for security. Some people are “down on their luck” so a “civilized” society helps them out with welfare…

            This is what I mean by the natural progression toward socialism. Some of this is inevitable, but the question is where does it stop? You have two choices – crawl in a hole and give up (and accept welfare!!!) or work to improve the system. I doubt that you’ll crawl into that hole!!

            • Black Flag says:

              You know, Todd, I’d suggest it was far more complex back then.

              You don’t need to contemplate where your food is coming from, or your heat, or your water…. you know what I mean.

              The periphery today maybe slightly more complex, but our core is almost a given.

              I’ll suggest that the extent of civilization is larger, but I do not believe the morals of society have changed.

              Freedom is still Freedom.

  31. We need to think about what it is we are really trying to fix. BF gave you lots of hints but nobody picked up the ball.

    The problem is us…we the people. We let this get out of hand. At certain times we even wanted it to happen.

    Term limits mean that we don’t trust the people to do what they are supposed to do. Therefore, no term limits, including the President.

    Now if they do their job properly, how do we keep politicians from either becoming corrupt of passing corrupt laws before their next election. With the limitations outlined in the constitution. The cat and mouse game with the power hungry politician should be viewed much as the computer hacking issue yesterday. They make a run around the constitution. The people erect a new barrier. They try another, we put up another. The problems has been we don’t put up squat and we don’t even vote them out.

    Listen to us all complain, those dirty corrupt power hungry politicians fooled me again and made me vote for them, again and again.

    The purpose of the terms selected was to provide a balance between when a politician must answer to his constituants and time needed to carry out business. Because the public was expected to dump the S.O.B.’s if they didn’t do their job.
    Note, that our founders felt 6 years was enough to gain and use knowledge in order to maintain “institutional integrity” in the Senate. The house being the “peoples house” was set at 2 years so they would be directly accountable. It was selected over the next most popular term of 1 year.

    If we plug the holes that allowed them to expand federal power then who cares how long they stay in office? The citizens of each state should decide. I think the terms are just fine and happen to fit with many modern theories of learning and work productivity, at least for the Senate. Two years to learn the job and become proficient, and 4 to execute before boredom sets in. You see most folks would be looking to move on after 6 years in one job.

    The house is a little different because it needs to answer to the people in short order. It is the measure of the public mood. What has been lost is the tempering by the Senate. Partisan politics has taken over this body more than in the last 60 years or so. Which brings us to how Senators are elected.

    It does appear that direct election has increased the partisan nature of the Senate. I would like more research or investigation into this assumption before trying to take the vote away from our fellow citizens. Perhaps constitutional language further defining the Senates’ role. If states were given this power, once again, then the term should overlap a governor’s in order to avoid total partisanship between governor and senator. Remember the Senator is supposed to represent the State in the Federal Govt. The Governor also represents the state in external matters. Now for what is really needed. The federal as assumed all power of deciding how its members are elected and how they are certified. The states must take this power back. This includes the ability to recall a representative or senator if they fail to do the job expected of them. No more free rides for 2 years or 6 years if you really get out of contol. This provides a stop gap but puts it in the hands of the people of the state.

    Party politics is the right to associate and work with others of like mind. It is the essence of freedom and liberty and should not be attacked. Laws restricting parties should be eliminated. This is mostly a state problem but is controlled by the two in power. Revise state laws to allow parties to form as citizens deem necessary. Parties pick their candidates any way they want and no tax money used to do it. The only public election is the general election where each party rep. and all others are listed for the position in question.

    Funding political races is truly a free speech and freedom of association issue as well. No restrictions on funding.

    Any public debate sponsored by media or other groups must include all candidates. Will need some threshold to determine reasonable candidates.

    Congressional pay, retirement and other perks? Now we are getting to something that will make a difference and does not undermine any of our core principles.

    Zero pay, or I like BF’s suggestion of replacing pay they had at home.
    Per diem for meals and other incidentals. Set at same rate as other federal employees.
    Govt operated dorms or govt provided houses for them while in D.C.
    Absolutely no federal retirement.
    Medical/Dental from VA system for them and families while in D.C. or in travel status. They are on their own when in home state.

    Limit the number of months for a session in each year to, pick a number, say 6. Now divide it in half = 3. So each session of 6 months is divided into two equal 3 month periods. One of these periods must include the months of July, Aug and Sept. This is to finalize and pass the budget, on time. During this period there will be no air conditioning in the offices (OK now I’m getting goofy, but you get the idea?) The other 3 month period may be concurrent with the required July-Sept or could be at a different time. Each Congress could decide this for all I care. The President can recall Congress in case of emergency.

    We need to remember that our proposals must be consistent with our core principles. If we subsribe to the theory that free people are responsible for their govt, even a democratic republic, then we can not put blame on those elected nor restrict the citizen’s right to govern themselves. The safeguards against corruption and tyranny must be in limiting powers of the govt not the powers of the people. Lest we replace one despot with another.

    I am sorry I was not around for the discussion today.
    I hope everyone had a good day.
    JAC

    P.S. I liked BF’s jury pool concept but then I realized that he and others operating off the grid wouldn’t be eligible. Sneaky, very sneaky!!!!! OTFLOL….JAC

    • Amazed1 says:

      You are correct JAC. It has always been “our” problem. “We the People” allowed this and alot of other things to go on because….we were to lazy…..to busy…or just flat did not care. Control means a constant watchful eye…..do we cross the street without looking? Guess what folks we have walked out into traffic and a big Mack is bearing down on us….if we make it out of this we will in the future keep a better look out. Maybe Paul Revere needs to come be our watchman.

    • From my comment above:
      “Zero pay, or I like BF’s suggestion of replacing pay they had at home.”

      Realized this AM that many very rich dudes get elected and I don’t want to keep paying their big fat check. So replace with…

      Congress shall be paid that amount equal to median wage income of all American workers at the time Congress convenes.

      Now they are more connected to the people.
      JAC

  32. I agree with you JAC. The problem is the people. I believe America is the victim of her own success. The American people went brain dead because our wealth, power and security allowed us to. Once we no longer have those luxuries, people will begin to wake up. I have question for USW. Do you believe that our system ever worked? Like in the early days of our nation. I don’t think it works now, but at some point it must have functioned properly, right?

  33. Ray Hawkins says:

    When term limits may not be good?

    I generally agree with the prevailing sentiment here – but I do ask – for areas of the country that are still largely rural, does the same approach work? I was born and still have extensive family in the far Northeastern corner of North Dakota. ND has only one U.S. Representative, currently Earl Pomeroy. Pomeroy seems like a relatively competent guy but is not without his share of issues. Most North Dakotans I have known over the years are pretty down to Earth people – salt of the Earth types. Outside Fargo, Grand Forks and Bismark most everything is rural and heavy farming. ND typically has higher than average voter turnout – so my point is – if they are informed and reasoned voters, and they turn out to vote, and they like the guy they have now sent for an 8th term, what do we tell these folks – they can’t have their guy because everyone else screwed it up for them?

    • Montana has gone big time democrat. Both senators, governor, all other state office holders. Yet they re-elected their one Congressman again last year, and he is a Republican.

      With federal term limits who would not have been able to run. Given the heavy democrat turnout (Obama/Bush factor) which party would have won an open seat?

      I use this as evidence that voters do use their brain. Perhaps we need to focus on making sure they hear the real message from their poly tickshuns, instead of limiting their voting choices.

      By the way Ray, this means I am agreeing with you.
      Are you smiling now?
      JAC

      • Naten53 says:

        I would love to have the feeling that “voters use their brain” in my area. I grew up in an area that I felt that they did use their brain. People could give you reasons as to why they voted based on more than what the politician said, i.e. voting record, and why they voted on some things and not others.

        I now live in an area where I get the feeling daily that people don’t know what they are voting for. There was a rally for the “Free choice Act” for the unions the other week. And my feeling was that the people at the rally were already in a union that was established and were there to support letting people start unions. I have nothing against that opinion, but I guarantee none of them read the act, something I only did because of reading this site. Both sides of the argument had flaws but they didn’t know that, they just heard that this would make the choice free and they assumed that it wasn’t free. I would ask people during the last election what is “change” and they could not answer other then to bash Bush and not even talk about what their candidate would do.

        I have since given up talking to people that do not state facts or reasons why they believe in something. It is a waste they will never change their views. I tend to like to play devils advocate against people, conservative or liberal, it helps you critique your own beliefs as well as refine your thoughts on a given topic. There are a lot of debates that are not black and white, however, the vast majority of people in this area the voice their opinion speak on absolutes.

        My wife grew up in the area we live now, and she told me that 1. Everyone assumes you are part of the one political party, and 2. That people that don’t think for themselves do not even know what their own or the other party stands for other than the big Main Stream Media answers.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Thanks JAC! Oddity is that everyone I speak to in ND (family/friends) are staunchly conservative. Anyway – the tough wrinkle is that where I live, outside Philadelphia, there is more of the predominant “I don’t give a shit” attitude. The county I live in is fairly dominant conservative/Republican – yet most people I talked to could not really explain why the voted one way of the other (both sides of the aisle and never more true than last Fall). While I did vote for Obama and am largely pleased but cautiously optimistic, many I talked to had no discernible reason why they voted for him or why they have voted, say, Republican the prior 20 years.

  34. This morning I would like to address the President by committee idea posed yesterday.

    No Way!!!!

    Why?, Not necessary if we do our job of limiting federal govt power.

    Also, a little history here. This idea was floated in 1787 as well. They settled on one President with very limited powers. Basically the only place the Pres could tread unhindered was in foreign policy, ie., negotiating treaties, and commander in chief. Although congress witheld the power to fund and limited funding the military to no more than two year periods.

    The Constitution created an advisory panel of sorts in the appointment of cabinet positions. By the way, an advisory panel was another idea evaluated by the founders. Congress creates the Departments and Secretary positions. The Pres can veto but can not create or eliminate. Note, the Constitution grants the President authority to request opinions of the Secretaries in writing. Why would it be necessary to grant the Pres this authority if the Pres was supposed to have autonomous control over the departments?

    Answer, it wouldn’t. The Secretaries of the Departments are supposed to function as the advisory committee to the Pres. That is one reason for the Senate confirmation process. It assures that the Sec selected is not just some lackey for the Pres. Remember the tension between Hamilton and Jefferson during the Washington administration?

    We need to look at what has changed to give the Pres so much power over the Dept’s and thus domestic policy. Then reverse what ever caused the problem. Why has the Pres’s power increased over the past 100 years or so? I maintain it is because a majority of “we the people” want a King. We have been brainwashed into believing the stories of Camelot and other benevolent leaders who cared for their subjects. Life was just so grand. Our idol worship of hollywood and music popstars goes along the same lines, I think. Not a shrink so could be other phsyco garbage at work there.

    Anyway, until “we the people” stop looking for a King or savior or leader to make us feel better about ourselves, we can’t fix the problem. In other words we need to fix us first.

    OK, everyone has had enough of a break this A.M. Time to get back to it!

    JAC

    • JayDickB says:

      JAC

      The makeup of “We the people” has changed dramatically since the constitution was written. The prevailing attitude now seems to be that not only should everyone be eligible to vote, but that everyone is morally obligated to vote. I don’t think that is a good thing. Too many people vote who have no clue what they’re voting for.

      We need more serious voters. How to do that? Make it harder to be eligible to vote. Then, maybe only serious people will bother.

      Its not likely this will happen, however, so term limits might mitigate some of the damage.

    • JayDickB says:

      JAC

      The makeup of “We the people” has changed dramatically since the constitution was written. The prevailing attitude now seems to be that not only should everyone be eligible to vote, but that everyone is morally obligated to vote. I don’t think that is a good thing. Too many people vote who have no clue what they’re voting for.

      We need more serious voters. How to do that? Make it harder to be eligible to vote. Then, maybe only serious people will bother.

      Its not likely this will happen, however, so term limits might mitigate some of the damage.

      BTW, I’m retired; I don’t have to get back to anything;-)

      • Jay B: I disagree on term limits for core philisophical reasons I stated above.

        You are saying you don’t trust the voters and therefore everyone should not vote. What you propose was used in this country for a very long time. It was used to keep Blacks from voting.

        So, if we are to explore your option we need to find a way that does not discriminate against one group based on ethnicity. You agree?

        PS: My comment about getting back to it was meant as getting back to posting comments here, not getting back to work. I also am retired, except my To Do List is now much bigger than before.

        JAC

        • JayDickB says:

          I agree that discrimination based on race, ethnicity, etc. would not be tolerated. Other qualifications could be imposed, however, and some in the grievance industry might call those discrimination.

          Regarding term limits, what do you think about the constitution’s limits on age and citizenship for some office holders? How are these inherently different from term limits? They too restrict who can be a candidate.

          • The answer is that once qualified always qaulified, unless found guilty of treason or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

            A threshold for holding office is much different than not allowing that person to run once they meet those criteria. The original criteria were established to assure some degree of wisdom and experience. Term limits actually work against this.

            There are other ways to skin the cat. Term limits is not the answer.
            JAC

            • JayDickB says:

              Would you allow a felon convicted of say, embezzlement, to run for office (or something else short of treason)? He might have met the qualifications before being convicted.

              If you oppose term limits as a matter of personal judgment, that is one matter. If you think they are illogical or inherently wrong, that’s another.

              I just trying to determine the real reason for your opposition.

              For example, you think experience helps, I think experience in congress after a time hurts. That’s a judgment. We can debate that. But views of term limits such as Blag Flag espouses, seem different, more fundamental.

              In any event, thanks for a vigorous debate. This is a topic I find fascinating.

              • Jay D

                Actually I would allow the crook to run for office, IF they had served their time and were released with time served. They should be able to vote and run for office.

                I bet they would be more honest than what we have now. They would know that we knew and we knew they knew…everyone would be watching.

                Hey, maybe we are onto something here. Only ex crooks need apply.

                My opposition to term limits is very fundamental. I happen to believe that our democratic republican form of govt., if properly controlled, gives us the best chance to maintain a society of free people. I also happen to believe the a free person must have the right to at least voice an opinion, through their vote, as to what power they will give govt and who they will have represent them. Term limits negates these fundamental rights.

                I also oppose term limits from a logical and pragmatic point of view. They are a gimic and will solve nothing. I don’t agree they will create lame duck problems. But they won’t solve the problems. If we are going to amend the constitution of set term limts why not just set limits on congress period. That would actually solve the problem, regardless of who got elected and how long they stayed.

                You might even see a decline in ambitious corrput Poly tickshuns, becasue if you can’t pass laws that require bribes there is little point in going to the party.

  35. Black Flag says:

    My conclusion:

    Term limits is a tactic of the illusionist Elite.

    They are the ones who are offering this opiate to the masses – it is not a grass-roots initiative.

    The Elite couldn’t care how fast the bum change in the chairs – it makes not one wit of difference who is sitting in those chairs – because they are the ones who control the nomination process.

    Recall my first (of my three) major complaints against ‘voting’ is:

    1) You do not get to chose who you vote for. They are given to you

    As long as that remains true, it doesn’t matter how fast the people change in government – they are all on the same basic ‘team’.

    The illusion allows the Elite to actually implement (after the proverbial act of temporary resistance) term limits. This actually is good for the Elite – more of them can avail themselves of pensions and perks.

    When nothing changes in government, and the People – again – complain, the Elite will point to the implementation of the term limit and say “We listened to you already – you said this would fix it. Either it did, so shut up – or it didn’t and you are all idiots for demanding it and being idiots you can’t handle your own lives, so shut up.

    On top of all of this, the People have perverted their own Republican Ideals. Believe me, the Elite will use this against the People every change they get.

    As long as the Elite control the voting system by controlling the candidate list – all of this wringing of hands is futile.

    • JayDickB says:

      BF

      How would you remove “Elite control of the voting system”?

      How are term limits inherently different than the constitutional requirements for officeholders (age, citizenship)? If a candidate can be disqualified based on age or citizenship, why not by office(s) previously held?

      • Black Flag says:

        Background first – I am no defender of the current system nor a defender of government, period.

        I am entering this in the manner of pure debate – that is, I am pretending I am a (little R) republican minimalist government advocate.

        So last first, age is easy. Adults have the mature reasoning ability – children do not. Thought the age of ‘majority’ is relatively arbitrary – by the age of 25, 95 percentile of adults have a matured logic brain. Whether the vote age is 18 (45 percentile) or 21 (75 percentile) or 25 …. its as good as any I suppose.

        Citizenship is obvious. The general agreement between a person and government is that a person submits to government in trade for protection of government.

        Citizenship is an obligation UPON government – therefore, it is reasonable that the government would only ‘listen to’ those that it is obligated towards. (PS: This is why it is so easy to get residency – because that allows the person to be taxed – but so hard to get citizenship, because it obligates a government).

        Though I have no specific suggestion to resolving Voting Complaint #1, in general the fault lies with the primary delegate system.

        If someone with the national stature of Ron Paul cannot penetrate that system, no common man has a chance.

        • JayDickB says:

          BF

          I would argue that experience in DC beyond a certain time is just as much a disqualifying factor as age.

          • Black Flag says:

            But we are not measuring the representatives in this discussion.

            Term limits is a measure of the competency of the voter.

            If the voter continues to elect the same guy, term after term, it is not that guy, but the voters who are electing him.

            So you are disqualifying the voter – and that is the contradiction to a Republic form of government.

            • JayDickB says:

              I still don’t see the essential difference between disqualifying by age and disqualifying be experience.

              Any disqualification of any candidate for any reason has the same effect on the voter.

              I think the candidate is being disqualified with the same inevitable effect on the voter.

            • JayDickB says:

              In any event, I enjoyed the debate. Thanks.

  36. CyndiP says:

    I agree wtih you BF. Good point.

  37. Black Flag says:

    Jay
    The difference is that a candidate would not have qualified in the first place by age thus no voter ever got the chance to vote for him.

    Term limits disqualifies the candidate after the voters have proven that they want him over and over again.

    That’s a big difference.

  38. the problem is that our system has been broke by life long politicans and the states need to take back their power. We the people give the states power and the states with 2/3 vote give the federal government their power. The problem is that the federal government thinks it is the other way now. Obama telling CA not to cut salaries is wrong. He needs to stay out of the states business. We need to take back the states first then the federal government. The founding fathers said any welfare type system was suppose to be only for emergancies and for a short time not forever.

  39. Unfortunately a great many voters remind me of the one about a man asking a woman if she would have sex with him for a million dollars. She said yes. Then he asked if she would have sex for ten dollars. She got real offended and said ” no, what do you think I am”? To which the man replyed ” We have established what you are, now we are just haggling about the price”. This discribes the relationship between our voters and our elected officials. Most voters don’t care what the officials do as long as they bring home the pork. The voters are being bought CHEAP. Less than ten dollars in many cases.

  40. Black Flag says:

    John,

    Your views on justice merit good debate.

    Hope you engage ‘us’ (or just me) in the upcoming few days – I’m interested in hearing your philosophy of what justice means to you.

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