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Term limits for elected officials?!?!




There was a Western Front Article (article??? Is that what western fronts are?) A few days ago (don't get me started on no dates on the damn articles on the Hutch News website) about the need for term limits for Senators, like there is for the President.

And.. I think I disagree with it but i would like some more opinions to help forge mine.

Doesn't term limits for elected officials just legislate more power away from the voter. Isn't every Senator's "Contract" up for renegotiation every time that they have to get re-elected.

I really don't think we should have them for the President, I don't fell strongly enough about it to launch a campaign against it, but I think elections should decide when elected officials leave office, not amendments or laws.

I know the damn arguments for term limits, and some of them have some legitimacy. I just think the more rules we make to protect voters from their own stupidity, the more responsibility we take away from them, the less they have to think and get involved in the day-to-day stuff and the stupider and less informed they become.

All of the damn rules of elections is a big reason why (percentage wise) so few people actually vote. Punting the electoral college would instantly lead to more voters in the ballot box. People don't get it and it makes them think their vote doesn't count.

ok different post, I know.

I disagree with term limits.

Mr. Schmidt, If you don't like Pat Roberts, put all the effort that you possibly can into making sure he doesn't get re-elected. If he wins, stick with it for another term and see what happens. I don't think we should make laws to take even more power away from the voter.

Link to Western Front Article, post, column, thingy.

12 comments:

  1. You're exactly right. If someone is the best person for the job, who cares if they are 32 or 72. It's hard enough to find good politicians; why count some of them out who have obviously already proven themselves by being elected time and time again.

    Also, what does LBJ and Vietnam have to do with it? LBJ started the war and then we reelected him. There were term limits, just not in his case yet. It seems like the author is more worried about comparing Iraq to Vietnam than actually voting down a standing senator. If that's the case, write that story.

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  2. I can see the presidential office being limited, since it's the highest office in our government, and held by only one person. Gotta keep those wanna-be dictators in check! Jokes aside, I do it's best to keep the presidential agendas rotating.

    I'm not sure if that applies to Congress, even though I do wonder how burnt-out and corrupted lifers become. I mean,if I had to watch C-SPAN for more than 24 hours, I do believe I would go stark-raving mad. I can't imagine living it. But that's why I'm a ne'er-do-well, not an elected official.

    I believe there might be a shred of sense to shaking up the political system every now and then, but I think if particular congressmen and senators are consistently re-elected by their constituencies, they must be doing something right.

    Experience does count. Although I'm sure they experience burn-out, become cynical or even corrupt as they're exposed to the political process, I imagine they've picked up some good tricks along the way.

    But then that makes me think about campaign financing ... that's another story! Only politicians who can gather the financial resources are on offer to the voters. I would LOVE to read through some of the donation disclosure reports, just for fun.

    But money is the lubricant, and that's a fact. Finance reforms have leveled out the playing field at least a little bit. I suppose that's why, after thinking about it, I'm pretty cool with the system being as it is: limit the terms of presidency and allow Congress to run for office til they're doddering old fools. If the people didn't like their elected officials, I imagine they wouldn't vote them in term after term.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Oh, and Cody said:

    I know the damn arguments for term limits, and some of them have some legitimacy. I just think the more rules we make to protect voters from their own stupidity, the more responsibility we take away from them, the less they have to think and get involved in the day-to-day stuff and the stupider and less informed they become.

    AND

    All of the damn rules of elections is a big reason why (percentage wise) so few people actually vote. Punting the electoral college would instantly lead to more voters in the ballot box. People don't get it and it makes them think their vote doesn't count.

    --I agree largely on both counts. I think the electoral college is hinders the process and less people would feel their vote doesn't matter if it were eliminated. But I still think we need to keep the highest office in rotation. That's as close to absolute power as a person's going to get in this country. That could be a very dangerous precedent. As for House and Senate? Let 'em at it.

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  5. Holy crap. Great comments!!

    Thanks Scott and thanks Nora.

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  6. Who is Mr. Schmidt?

    If we didn't have term limits for the presidency, Bill Clinton would be getting ready for his fourth term, btw.

    It's hard to beat incumbent senators. Rarely does one lose, they usually retire. I'd be interested in seeing the statistics.

    Also, you say damn a lot. You seem very passionate about this issue.

    Nate

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  7. Nate,

    You are one of the if not the smartest all around person I know, but....

    You ask who Mr. Schmidt is because you didn't read the article I linked to at the end of the post.

    You post as anonymous everytime. But then sign your name and then you tell us Bill Clinton would be getting ready for his 4th term. Wouldn't he be getting ready for his 5th term if your claim that he would just keep getting reelected were true???

    Just kidding, thanks for the comment.

    (Everyone else get ready Nate may fire back at men keep your head low).

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  8. I didn't read the article, but on principle, I agree with everything that someone named Schmidt says. Especially is they are named Alvin.

    Fifth term, indeed.

    Answer me this. How can something be anonymous if you sign your name to it? Did your head just asplode?

    Nate

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  9. Sorry for the long post, but this is right up my alley. While I like the idea of a Bill Clinton 5th term, I believe that term limits are essential for executive offices (President, Governors and Mayors). There is simply too much appointment, enforcement and police powers involved to allow executives to remain in office for extended amounts of time. I support the intended purpose and spirit of term limits for legislators, and like the idea of every so often throwing the bums out, but I do not agree with term limits themselves. I will ignore seniority issues (since Congress uses seniority, all states would have to have term limits or else be punished, and if there were term limits doing away with seniority, it would likely punish smaller states with less population—i.e, there wouldn’t likely be an Iowan and a Montanan as the chairs of the Senate Finance Committee.

    I feel that legislative term limits punish legislative experience. While term limits may weed out a few corrupt/lazy legislators, it would likely throw out more reasonable and experienced legislators. I appreciate having people involved in current Armed Forces/Foreign Relations legislative issues that also were involved with the Cold War, who remember the Savings and Loans scandal when dealing with the current mortgage crisis and remember the mistakes made with the universal health care push in the 90s when dealing currently with SCHIP and hopefully future legislative efforts.

    There are other ways to help get rid of the corrupt/lazy etc. legislators, besides voting of course. I think serious campaign finance reform and ethics reform should be a top priority (PACs, Corporations contributions, etc.), as well as limiting the role of lobbyist, making it easier/more accessible to vote, etc.

    I also believe that non-race based gerrymandering should be prohibited (although this would not affect senators). One of the big problems is that congressional districts are usually drawn using strict political lines, almost ensuring that one single political party will always win the election. This protects whoever is lucky enough to get elected to that district, and almost ensures they will always be reelected unless defeated in a primary (a tough proposition). In Iowa, a nonpartisan bureau draws the districts. Aside from contiguity and population equality criteria, the bureau keeps counties and cities largely intact. Political factors such as incumbent residences, previous boundary locations, and party makeup of the district are forbidden. The process has led to districts that follow county lines, and a fairly even split in the congressional districts between Dems and Republicans (with the exception of one heavily GOP district). This has led, in my opinion, to more moderate, attentive representation, and regular competitive elections.

    Senators, unfortunately, are a different matter, and besides election reforms mentioned above, and good opposition candidates, this will unlikely change. Nate is right, I think over 90% of senators win reelection. Even in a groundswell election like 2006, only 6 incumbents running actually lost (out of 33 races run, although some of those were open seats). I have changed my mind, maybe we should limit them, to something reasonable like 4 or 5 terms (24-30 years). But I sure would miss Ted Kennedy…

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  10. Dave, I agree with your stance on term limits. Except I would take it a step further. I would propose a two term limit in Alabama, applied retroactively, and possibly something carrying a hefty fine or perhaps prison term for those in violation, which at this time would only be Senators Shelby and Sessions.

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  11. Great comments Dave and anonymous from Alabama!!!!!

    I went through this little doubt thing where I questioned it for Presidents, really I am not completely convinced on that, but if that alone is the reason Bill Clinton isn't in there right now then I am for it.

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  12. Nate and Cody, I see your Alabama senator and Bill Clinton term limit proposals and raise you immediate term limits on anyone who I don't agree with or who ticks me off.

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I love the discussion in the comments.. so... GO FOR IT!

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