May 19, 2010

Cleaning House... Or at Least Cleaning a Spot On One Rug Near the Guest Bedroom

The angry electorate has roared! The nation is gripped by an anti-incumbent furor! It's open-season on the bums!

So whaddaya think - will 40% of incumbents go down in November? 50%? 75%? Hold onto your hats, folks - 2010 will be the biggest shakeup in Washington since the Reagan Revolution of 1980 if we replace... 26% of Senators and 13% of House members seeking reelection. And don't forget that only about a third of the Senate is up for reelection in any election year; we're really getting revolutionary if we toss 9 whole Senators this year (for hardcore math types, that's 100 Senators / 3 * 26%, rounded up to the next whole powerhungry slug).

Count me among libertarians strongly in favor of a Constitutional amendment implementing term limits on Congresscritters.* Because we collectively make terrible exterminators.

*For those interested, yes, this statement is consistent with libertarian views. Libertarian != anarchist. I believe there is a short list of proper functions of a government, most of which can be summed up by its role as enforcer of nonagression. If it must exist, it must have structure (to bind it); term limits give structure just like the seperation of powers and the bicameral Congress.

1 comment:

  1. My thinking on term limits has evolved. I used to be against term limits because I really did think that bad elected officials could and should be turned out by the electorate and I did not want to lose those whom I regarded as good. Finally, I realized that over the history of our republic, legislators have created structural barriers which enhance their ability to remain in office. My frustration over these inappropriate structural barriers to electoral defeat has made me willing to sacrifice those officials whom I like and respect in exchange for eliminating any chance of anyone becoming a career officeholder. These structural changes run the gamut from playing games with how the districts are drawn (gerrymandering - named after an early congressman who managed to get a district created for him that resembled a salamander, but which appears tame compared to many modern districts which may follow a highway for miles to link two areas of concentration of the "right" voters), corruption of how the population is counted (using "estimates" or "sampling" and employing criminal organizations such as ACORN) instead of just COUNTING people, the so-called Campaign Finance Reform law (more appropriately known as the Incumbent Protection Act), "ear-marks" (outright bribery of their constituents and financial supporters), the ability to dominate news because of their incumbency, the ability to dominate campaign funding (again because of their incumbency), and enhanced name recognition due to incumbency (usually for far too long.) In addition, it has become far too obvious that even those who enter congress with modest personal means all seem to leave quite wealthy (obviously without having any evidence of having provided any significant product or service to the economy.) On top of all that, they have created a retirement plan that rewards them with a lifetime income easily in the top 5-10% of Americans after as little as two terms in congress.
    In my opinion, no one should be allowed to occupy any office for more than two terms. He may run for some other office if he wishes, but upon leaving office, he should receive NO benefit (pension, health insurance, etc.) greater than would be earned in a similar time of service in the private sector with a similar salary or income. He also should be prohibited from being appointed to any government position or be permitted to function as a lobbyist after leaving office. In other words, elected officials must be forced to return to private life after their terms end.
    Making such changes would result in the election of citizens who would know upon embarking on public life that they would also be returning to private life. Such elected officials would be more likely motivated to perform their duties in accordance with the Constitution and with less intent on the accumulation of wealth and/or power. This may also result in more people with real life experience and intelligence in office rather than the boobs (such as Pelosi, "f**kin big deal" Biden, "Guam may tip over" Johnson, Cynthia McKinney, "the system worked" Janet Napolitano, "57 states" Obama, etc) who are such embarrassingly stupid and/or uninformed officeholders. These changes would probably also significantly diminish the undeserved and unearned arrogance and elitism of those who do get elected.