Politicians- need for a change?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

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?
 

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