Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Changing The Best Government Money Can Buy

Changing The Best Government Money Can Buy: Term Limits


As the news of and reaction to the Abramoff and DeLay influence scandals it is apparent to me that one of the roots of this evil is the thirst for money that election-oriented politics generates.


As an elected federal legislative or executive branch official I need money to finance my next campaign.  To get that money I have to make decisions and cast votes in a manner that pleases those who can write the big checks.


What if I didn’t have to worry about re-election because I was barred by law from serving a second term.  If all I get is one shot at making my mark in history, wouldn’t I be inclined to do what was right and just and not what was made necessary by the political expediency of getting re-elected?


Look at this list of things that would go away if a second term was not an option:


  • Lobbyists and Political action committees would be defanged.  Influencing legislation by making donations to re-election funds would not be an option.
  • Corporations would have to make business decisions based on reality not what influence they can exert to warp reality to their liking.
  • The rhetoric, animosity, and frustration that our election process engenders would no longer be fueled by huge war chests build up over four or six year terms.
  • Policy decisions would be made on the basis of facts and debate over them, not by compromises that please the most generous of contributors.


How would this work in practicality?  Once the constitution has been amended to forbid re-election.  Existing members of Congress would serve out there existing terms before exiting.  There would be no wholesale turnover in Congress.  House and Senate bodies would each have to have mid term elections so that the influx of the newly elected would not be disruptive.  Some congressmen would be halfway through their term when they are joined by the newly elected members providing continuity for the bodies.


The executive branch would see no changes other that there would be a new president every for years.


To those who would say that term limits would destroy the traditions of the elected bodies, I say its high time they go!


To those who would say that Congress and the Executive branches would never vote to terminate their good thing, I say you are probably right.


And where would all these new candidates come from?  How many average americans would be willing to step into the roles?  Would Americans relish the idea of the Citizen Statesman again.  Honestly I don't think so.




The true pleasures in life are almost always overshadowed by the blatently obvious ones.

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