Politicians- need for a change?

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  • #1
It seems to me that many people would agree with the assertion that the lifestyles and nature of politicians have changed drastically since the Founding. Back then, being a public servant did not involve a lifetime engagement, and was not considered to be extremely glamorous. It was seen as a duty, a temporary calling. However, now it seems (most notably in Congress) that politicians are concerned with extending their service and creating a "legacy" or a name for themselves.

My question: should politicians change the way they serve? Would enacting a term-limit increase the productivity of Congressmen and women? Do we need to seriously re-examine the way we think about politicians and their duties?

All feedback appreciated
 

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  • #2
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What worries me more is that "ex-politician" is now a profession unto itself, as Congresspeople go directly out of office and into lobbying their former coworkers. It seems to me this particular problem would only be made worse by legislative term limits.
 
  • #3
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My question: should politicians change the way they serve? Would enacting a term-limit increase the productivity of Congressmen and women? Do we need to seriously re-examine the way we think about politicians and their duties?

Their role should be reconsidered every 50 years IMO.
 
  • #4
Al68
I say they shouldn't be paid and must live in their district as the constitution requires. They can get a real job and meet once a year to determine if we need any new laws. And with today's technology, the only reason they would even have to meet then is the constitutional requirement to meet once a year.

The first meeting could be to repeal all unconstitutional laws (99% of those enacted by Democrats).
 
  • #5
turbo
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IThe first meeting could be to repeal all unconstitutional laws (99% of those enacted by Democrats).
Ah, the party-bashing starts. Do you have any kind of substantive back-up for that claim, or are you just echoing the idiots on FOX? You have tossed out the claim. Please back it up with some constitutional scholarship.

Neither of the major political parties has any "lock" on intelligence, good lawmaking, or good governance.
 
  • #6
turbo
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It seems to me that many people would agree with the assertion that the lifestyles and nature of politicians have changed drastically since the Founding. Back then, being a public servant did not involve a lifetime engagement, and was not considered to be extremely glamorous. It was seen as a duty, a temporary calling. However, now it seems (most notably in Congress) that politicians are concerned with extending their service and creating a "legacy" or a name for themselves.

My question: should politicians change the way they serve? Would enacting a term-limit increase the productivity of Congressmen and women? Do we need to seriously re-examine the way we think about politicians and their duties?

All feedback appreciated
I find it disgusting that our electoral system is subservient to the major political parties, and that our Congressional representatives can spend millions of dollars in a single campaign. That needs to stop. Also, it should be a crime to pay politicians to speak at "breakfast meetings", etc. That is a thinly-veiled scam by which special interests can bribe our elected officials, and that needs to stop.
 
  • #7
mheslep
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I find it disgusting that our electoral system is subservient to the major political parties, and that our Congressional representatives can spend millions of dollars in a single campaign. That needs to stop. Also, it should be a crime to pay politicians to speak at "breakfast meetings", etc. That is a thinly-veiled scam by which special interests can bribe our elected officials, and that needs to stop.
Yes, though it's been that way since 1789, two years after GW took office, though the money has grown larger.
 
  • #8
turbo
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Yes, though it's been that way since 1789, two years after GW took office, though the money has grown larger.
I think it's a mirror to the parliamentary system in Britain in which the needs of the populace had to be balanced against the frivolity of the monarchy. The current problem is that such a dichotomy doesn't serve us well, and we are subjected to heated debates that amount to nothing more than the relative merits of TIME vs Newsweek or Coke vs Pepsi. That blather keeps the faithful, the gullible, and the willfully ignorant occupied while the principals suck our country dry.
 
  • #9
Pengwuino
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Can we change the electorate that votes politicians in?

It seems like a lot of suggestions for "change" is always directed at limiting/punishing the current breed of politician as opposed to changing the breed entirely.

I'm honestly getting to the point that I think people who are really into politics are somewhat mentally retarded. When an election cycle comes around, people get behind politicians acting like they're gods in suits and when they get into office and the cold realization that they're almost always terrible at their jobs kicks in, they still defend them like they're their mothers. Is it about pride?
 
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  • #10
Can we change the electorate that votes politicians in?

We have. We now allow women to vote, people who don't own land, and even negros!
 
  • #11
Pengwuino
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We have. We now allow women to vote, people who don't own land, and even negros!

I think that first one doomed us all...

*hides in his fall-out shelter*
 
  • #12
Al68
Ah, the party-bashing starts. Do you have any kind of substantive back-up for that claim, or are you just echoing the idiots on FOX?
A simple reading of the U.S. Constitution (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=105_cong_documents&docid=f:sd011.105) makes it obvious that the bulk of the Democrats' agenda is clearly unconstitutional. And has been so since long before there was any such thing as Fox News.

The tenth amendment alone (The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
respectively, or to the people) prohibits the bulk of their agenda for the past 50 years.

Republicans have done a horrible job fighting against these laws, just because there are accused of outrageous hateful nonsense every time they try, but doing a bad job of protecting the constitution is (slightly) better than having a party-wide agenda to violate it.
 
  • #13
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I say they shouldn't be paid and must live in their district as the constitution requires

The Constitution does not require this. It requires that they be an inhabitant of the state that they represent. The Constitution says nothing about districts. In principle, a state could even hold a statewide election and send the top N vote-getters to Washington.
 
  • #14
seycyrus
...Do you have any kind of substantive back-up for that claim, or are you just echoing the idiots on FOX? You have tossed out the claim. Please back it up with some constitutional scholarship.

Ahh, the channel bashing starts.

Do you have any substantitve back up for the claim that the folks at FOX have postulated the OP's claim?
 
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  • #15
turbo
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A simple reading of the U.S. Constitution (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=105_cong_documents&docid=f:sd011.105) makes it obvious that the bulk of the Democrats' agenda is clearly unconstitutional. And has been so since long before there was any such thing as Fox News.

The tenth amendment alone (The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
respectively, or to the people) prohibits the bulk of their agenda for the past 50 years.

Republicans have done a horrible job fighting against these laws, just because there are accused of outrageous hateful nonsense every time they try, but doing a bad job of protecting the constitution is (slightly) better than having a party-wide agenda to violate it.
Selective memory problems, it seems. Does the Constitution give the Federal government the power to set emissions levels or mandate fuel-efficiency standards? No, but the Constitution-loving GOP including the Bush administration and its cronies in Congress have consistently blocked California from doing so, and the other states that have signed on, including Maine. At least our two Republican Senators have had the foresight to support the CA initiative in this regards. You also seem to conveniently "forget" that many of the broadest legislative initiatives passed by Congress are co-sponsored by members from across the aisle. There is no monolithic party-based monopoly on ill-conceived laws.
 
  • #16
mheslep
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Selective memory problems, it seems. Does the Constitution give the Federal government the power to set emissions levels or mandate fuel-efficiency standards? No, but the Constitution-loving GOP including the Bush administration and its cronies in Congress have consistently blocked California from doing so, and the other states that have signed on, including Maine.
Of course it does, the question is to what degree. The vast majority of modern domestic actions by the federal government, and all environmental regulations, are claimed by it to rest on these last four words from Art. I, Section 8:
"To regulate Commerce ... among the several States"
It allows Congress to stop my state from say, placing import tariffs on Maine syrup in order to protect syrup makers in my state. Similarly, it is the basis for preventing Ca from coming up with its own emissions standards to control car makers in another state. Of course the use of this clause has been twisted out of all proportion to its original intent, and the federal government has come to regulate that which will never cross any state lines. Supreme Court decisions in the last few years - led by Thomas and Scalia - have rolled back the excesses a bit towards a restoration of a balance between the Commerce clause and the 10th amendment.
 
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  • #17
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Of course it does, the question is to what degree. The vast majority of modern domestic actions by the federal government, and all environmental regulations, are claimed by it to rest on these last four words from Art. I, Section 8:
"To regulate Commerce ... among the several States"

Wickard v. Filburn (1942) essentially determined that the Commerce Clause had no limitations. Roscoe Filburn grew wheat on his own land for his own consumption, and it was ruled that the federal government could legally limit or prohibit this action under the argument that it affected interstate commerce.
 
  • #18
mheslep
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Wickard v. Filburn (1942) essentially determined that the Commerce Clause had no limitations. Roscoe Filburn grew wheat on his own land for his own consumption, and it was ruled that the federal government could legally limit or prohibit this action under the argument that it affected interstate commerce.

Which was outrageous. Recently http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Lopez" [Broken] have restored some limitations.

Rehnquist in Lopez said:
To uphold the Government's contentions here, we have to pile inference upon inference in a manner that would bid fair to convert congressional authority under the Commerce Clause to a general police power of the sort retained by the States. Admittedly, some of our prior cases have taken long steps down that road, giving great deference to congressional action. The broad language in these opinions has suggested the possibility of additional expansion, but we decline here to proceed any further. To do so would require us to conclude that the Constitution's enumeration of powers does not presuppose something not enumerated, and that there never will be a distinction between what is truly national and what is truly local. This we are unwilling to do.
Unfortunately this was a 5-4 win, should have been 9-0.
 
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  • #19
turbo
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There is a broader issue at stake in the decision of CA to try to mandate a timetable for cleaner vehicles and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Due to their population density and over-reliance on freeways, the state has some serious air-quality problems. The big car-makers squealed like stuck pigs when CA tightened their tailpipe emissions standards years back - did you see their businesses destroyed (aside from internal forces?). No. CA's standards were not a restraint of interstate trade - all manufacturers, domestic and foreign were required to meet the state's standards. By the same token, CA has considerably more risk from earthquakes than Maine, for instance, and has mandated some rather stringent building standards as an issue of public safety. Again, no restraint of trade. If you don't want to have to meet CA standards, don't bid on construction projects in the state.

Restraint-of-trade is a very blunt axe that can get used to fight a wide range of local and state initiatives. It's easy to cloak obstruction to such initiatives in great-sounding hype about Constitutional protections, but such arguments often don't pass the smell test.
 
  • #20
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I think the biggest change would come if people would vote for what they want. This combined with making voting systems more proportionally represent the vote.

As far as I have been able to make out, in various countries (certainly those with a small number of tremendously dominant parties - which often have electoral systems that re-enforce this), most people vote for something they don't want. It seems to be a mix of partisanship and not being willing to vote for a minor party/independent candidate. It goes together to mean that not many people, on any given election, are actually voting for what they actually want.

I really think people actually voting for what they want would be the best starting point.

The first meeting could be to repeal all unconstitutional laws (99% of those enacted by Democrats).


What % of laws enacted by Republicans have been unconstitutional? What determines it being enacted by any given party - President, controlling Congress, controlling the Senate; some combination? There is no monopoly on bad law.

I would also be wary of holding up the constitution like it is an Act of Ultimate Truth. It has been amended on a number of occasions for a reason. Also remember that it was written long, long, long ago. I realise that the function for altering it is inherent in the text, which, really, is my point: that was included because, surely, people back then would never presume something to remain eternally relevant and useful.

The problems with governments and leaders go a great deal deeper than what party flag they stand under: indeed, I would be inclined to argue the existence of said flags is a problem in itself.
 
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  • #22
Al68
Selective memory problems, it seems. Does the Constitution give the Federal government the power to set emissions levels or mandate fuel-efficiency standards? No, but the Constitution-loving GOP including the Bush administration and its cronies in Congress have consistently blocked California from doing so, and the other states that have signed on, including Maine. At least our two Republican Senators have had the foresight to support the CA initiative in this regards. You also seem to conveniently "forget" that many of the broadest legislative initiatives passed by Congress are co-sponsored by members from across the aisle. There is no monolithic party-based monopoly on ill-conceived laws.
No, no selective memory here. You must have me confused with someone who thinks highly of Republicans.
 
  • #23
Al68
I would also be wary of holding up the constitution like it is an Act of Ultimate Truth. It has been amended on a number of occasions for a reason. Also remember that it was written long, long, long ago. I realise that the function for altering it is inherent in the text, which, really, is my point: that was included because, surely, people back then would never presume something to remain eternally relevant and useful.
I was referring to the current U.S. Constitution, not the original. Obviously it has changed in the over 200 years since. That's why there is no excuse for congress to violate it's limits on their power, if we think congress should have more power, we can amend it at any time.
 
  • #24
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I look at it this way. The Constitution spelled out our freedoms.

Think of it as a sturdy brick tower.

Every "Change" since then, including court decisions, has been like a creeping vine...slowly wrapping it's way around, choking out the sunshine...on our brick tower.

We live in a Democracy, but often the majority doesn't have a say...a single court case regarding an isolated incident can restrict all of our freedoms.
 
  • #25
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I look at it this way. The Constitution spelled out our freedoms.

Think of it as a sturdy brick tower.

Every "Change" since then, including court decisions, has been like a creeping vine...slowly wrapping it's way around, choking out the sunshine...on our brick tower.

Every one? The 13th Amendment?
 
  • #26
It seems to me that many people would agree with the assertion that the lifestyles and nature of politicians have changed drastically since the Founding. Back then, being a public servant did not involve a lifetime engagement, and was not considered to be extremely glamorous. It was seen as a duty, a temporary calling. However, now it seems (most notably in Congress) that politicians are concerned with extending their service and creating a "legacy" or a name for themselves.

I think you may have an idealized view of the past. To me the interesting thing is that basic politics have hardly changed since the Roman era, except maybe for the rules of engagement.
 
  • #27
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Every one? The 13th Amendment?

Wow...ok, I'll bite...I'm sure someone (probably in the South) would argue they were damaged...ie the creeping vine (even though I agree with you on the moral issue).

Obviously, this was not my premise. I never said all actions were equal.

The point is more focused on Court decisions.

There's a saying floating around..."the government can't give you any rights that they didn't first take away".
 
  • #28
mheslep
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I think you may have an idealized view of the past. To me the interesting thing is that basic politics have hardly changed since the Roman era, except maybe for the rules of engagement.
I disagree, e.g.,
Krauthammer column said:
...Five minutes of explanation to James Madison, and he'll have a pretty good idea what a motorcar is (basically a steamboat on wheels; the internal combustion engine might take a few minutes more). Then try to explain to Madison how the Constitution he fathered allows the president to unilaterally guarantee the repair or replacement of every component of millions of such contraptions sold in the several states, and you will leave him slack-jawed. In fact, we are now so deep into government intervention that constitutional objections are summarily swept aside. The last Treasury secretary brought the nine largest banks into his office and informed them that henceforth he was their partner. His successor is seeking the power to seize any financial institution at his own discretion.
 
  • #29
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It would seem our problem isn't the politicians as they are now, but the people they were before they became politicians. Very few of them just "fall into" the political "profession". Most of them are hopefuls from early on. They attend the most prestigious schools, and obtain the most political-friendly degrees. They know nothing of the lives of Americans, but still feel they know what it takes to govern them. In this way, they are corrupted long before they get into office. I don't mean to say that politicians are inherently "evil". To the contrary, I think they go in as well-meaning people. But that doesn't make up for how detatched they are from the general population. They can't possibly know what is best for "the people" when they've never been part of that group. This seems to be the thing that the public forgets the most. No matter how they are advertised, they are not "just like us". They don't know "what the people have been through". They've never "been down that road". They don't know anything about plumbers, and they've never experienced the consequences of those things they need to "change".

There are two problems that need solutions:

1) How do you educate the masses, so as to make them aware of the things I've said? How do we stifle blind adoration? True, the men who go into politics are inadequate to represent the population. But, it's also true that the general population doesn't know enough to make adequate decisions in politics. Since the politicians don't elect themselves, I believe the public is to blame for terrible politics.

2) How do we educate politicians on the pitfalls of logic? Logic has its uses, but also has its misuses. You can't trust logic for more than analysis, and you'll find it's wrong, even in that, very often. But politicians use logic to deal with problems that they don't know anything about. They see what the charts and graphs say. They read the reports. Then, they use logic to decide their course of action. Logic once told us that the Earth was flat. Then it told us that Earth was the center of the universe. The point is, that logic is only infallible when all variables are known. Since that is an impossibility, we need to include something else: experience, something politicians lack almost entirely.
 
  • #30
BobG
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A simple reading of the U.S. Constitution (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=105_cong_documents&docid=f:sd011.105) makes it obvious that the bulk of the Democrats' agenda is clearly unconstitutional. And has been so since long before there was any such thing as Fox News.

The tenth amendment alone (The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
respectively, or to the people) prohibits the bulk of their agenda for the past 50 years.

Republicans have done a horrible job fighting against these laws, just because there are accused of outrageous hateful nonsense every time they try, but doing a bad job of protecting the constitution is (slightly) better than having a party-wide agenda to violate it.

Of course it does, the question is to what degree. The vast majority of modern domestic actions by the federal government, and all environmental regulations, are claimed by it to rest on these last four words from Art. I, Section 8:
"To regulate Commerce ... among the several States"
It allows Congress to stop my state from say, placing import tariffs on Maine syrup in order to protect syrup makers in my state. Similarly, it is the basis for preventing Ca from coming up with its own emissions standards to control car makers in another state. Of course the use of this clause has been twisted out of all proportion to its original intent, and the federal government has come to regulate that which will never cross any state lines. Supreme Court decisions in the last few years - led by Thomas and Scalia - have rolled back the excesses a bit towards a restoration of a balance between the Commerce clause and the 10th amendment.

I kind of agree with both of these, in spite of some technical inaccuracies in the first (the fact that Nixon really escalated the first up to the level we see now being one).

Congress doesn't tell the states what their speed limits should be, prison standards should be, etc. Congress bribes the states into accepting recommendations on what speed limits should be, prison standards should be, school standards should be, etc. Not much practical difference, but the solutions are different (and their methods are constitutional, even if an end around the 10th Amendment). Reducing the amount of money that goes to the federal government reduces the power of the federal government to bribe the states.

That interstate commerce clause has just been butchered all to hell. The number of 5-4 decisions in the Supreme Court make it clear that it's really hard for people to figure that thing out. I don't know of a good solution for that except to hope for judges that take a more restrained view of what sort of things the federal government can lump under interstate commerce.
 

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