Tuesday, January 25, 2011

WE THE TERM LIMITS

Barney Frank, Harry Reid, Barack Obama. The mere mention of names like these is all the argument one should need for term limits. Who could argue against term limits when these names are brought up?

Me.

I recently received a few emails that were, for the most part, a list of proposals most of which I could easily support. Among these were:

* Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
*
Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%
*
Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
*
Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

...as well as a few others. These all sound great and I have no issue with any of them. It would belong past due to enact them immediately.

But along with these fine suggestions was the call for term limits for Congressional members. I can't get behind this one. Sure. I'd like to see Barney Frank out of politics. Harry Reid, too. There's a host of senators and congressmen who have long ago worn out their welcome and whose continued presence does little to serve the best interests of the United States of America.

But here's the thing: somebody wanted them. They didn't get re-elected by accident (though in some cases it can be argued some won by fraud). But if these poor choices were termed out, so too would be those who are good in their roles as representatives of the people.

Now, I don't know with any certainty just who in the House or Senate are absolute crooks, saints or something in between. I can't say who entered with the right attitude and before the end of their first term became corrupted to a degree that affects his votes on whatever. I can't say just who entered with the intention of fattening their own bank accounts, seeing public service as a sure-fire way to financial freedom rather than as a rare privilege to serve the public interest.

But hey! THAT'S part of the problem. The reason we have so many losers in Congress is due to our own lack of interest in our own interests. If we as a self-governing people took the time, or at least SOME time, to pay attention, the losers could not keep their sweet gigs. Look again at that list above and tell me who would have voted for people who would exempt themselves from the laws they pass on the rest of us? If you knew that up front, would you even dare tell others of your support for them?

So the issue is not that these buffoons are left to run wild for term after term without hindrance. The issue is why have we let them? Where were we? We were going about our business under the assumption that all would work out because we elected people about whom we knew little to nothing.

"They're all crooks, anyway!" it is said. Nonsense and a cop-out spewed by the lazy who have just enough energy to whine and complain when things go south. (Indeed, this is spoken mostly by those who whine and complain and never vote in the first place. Their nerve in daring to utter a word on the subject entitles them to the greatest scorn for making the bed in which we all toss and turn.)

WE THE PEOPLE are all the term limits we need or should have. It is our responsibility as citizens to stay abreast of the actions and behaviors of our elected officials. If we can't know with certainty the character of a given candidate, we can surely know how he voted on proposals and bills and bounce him out at the next possible election. But if a guy keeps making all the right moves, I want him to stay as long as he is moved to serve.

Some like to say that our founders envisioned a citizen politician who would serve his term and then return home to live under the laws he helped pass. But if they meant for that to be the rule, then they would have instituted it as such. I can't help but think that they, too, left room for he who served well, offered to serve again and was the chosen one of the people. Some actually sacrifice better gigs in the private sector to serve their country. If they continue to do so well and honorably, why would I want to force them out?

There's also the problem of what term limits would solve. I can't see that it would solve anything but cause the problems to which I alluded above. The same dynamic would exist. People would have even less incentive to pay attention figuring that their stupid selection would only destroy so much until he is termed out. Term limits would NOT induce the electorate to be more responsible in selecting leaders and representatives. The only thing term limits would do would be to throw out the good with the bad. How does that help?

If there's any downside to my position, it is one that already exists. Our ability to persuade those with whom we disagree. It is a well known fact that among the left leaning portion of our society there exists some of the most stupid, self-centered and fantasy-land inhabitants one could imagine. They have too much sway over the well-meaning but poorly informed balance of their population. It's difficult to get them to see the world as it is, so they vote according to what they think it ought to be. It obviously doesn't work that way. One must be grounded in reality and vote according to how best to navigate the world as it is for the benefit of the most people. The right wing understands this but has failed to spread this understanding to our left leaning friends. That's why a Barney Frank can serve for as long as he has. But if we term Barney out, will his constituents then see clearly? Not likely. They'll only vote for Barney Frank II, then III, then IV.

WE THE PEOPLE are the only term limits we need or should have. That's the way it was meant to be. Let's not abdicate our responsibilities for convenience. If someone sucks, vote him out and get others to vote him out as well. If someone serves well, support him for another term.

UPDATE!!!

Regarding the email itself (there were actually two, both pretty much the same), it should be noted that much of it is not entirely true. My focus always fell on the call for term limits, which I strongly oppose. To the rest of the emails I gave little attention, and what little attention I paid it met with no disagreement. How could it? It all sounds so good. But so much that floats around the world wide web is faulty, so I checked out a few things.

*Congress has been paying into Social Security since 1984.
*Congress passed an amendment in '89 allowing for automatic pay increases unless lawmakers specifically vote to reject it. They have rejected it before. (I would change this to NO automatic pay increase ever, but that's how it works now.)
*The Congress Accountability Act of 1994 mandates that Congress abide by any law they pass.

These a but a few. The point aligns with what I have been saying about term limits. If we pay attention, if we do OUR due diligence as much as we can, these kinds of things can't be put over on us any more than bad politicians be put over on us. It's what self-governance is all about.

48 comments:

Craig said...

I agree, term limits are an easy cop out in order to get rid of congers folks who represent someone else. The rest of the list is long over due.

Mark said...

You make some good points. I'm going to have to rethink the pros and cons of term limits.

How about Supreme Court Justices? Do you believe in term limits for them?

Marshall Art said...

The situation with SCOTUS is really the consequences of not paying attention. Had just 10-20% of Obama supporters actually done any real research into who Obama was, he wouldn't have won the presidency and he wouldn't have been able to pick Supreme Court Justices.

I have no problem with four of the Supremes, as they seem to decide based on how they're supposed to decide. Thus, I'd hate to see them termed out. Considering that they are NOT legislators (except where they overstep their duties), it's really kind of apples and oranges. Still, I'm unaware of any rules or mechanisms by which a justice can be forced from the bench outside of blatantly illegal activity. What if they just lose their touch, so to speak?

But generally, I think SCOTUS is a whole 'nuther ball game, but is mostly covered by the participation of well educated voters. Good presidents will generally pick good justices, or at least not pick based on inane and irrelevant traits such as heritage or sex.

Mark said...

I suggest you read "Men in Black" by Mark R Levin.

In it, Levin enumerates the number of Supreme Court Justices who were clinically insane before they either retired or died while still serving.

It's really quite scary.

Marshall Art said...

I have not read that book as yet. Does he cite actual medical reports on these people?

In any case, it does leave a bit of a problem. Perhaps an age limit in their case, of no more than, say 70 years old, at which point they must step down. I just threw out that number as I have not given limits on SCOTUS much thought. The emotion is usually tied to Congress.

Parklife said...

lol

Marty said...

You are under the illusion that you, the voter, elect your congress critter. But you actually choose from those who have elected themselves and have the money to do it. And hence "they're all crooks anyway" makes some sense.

Marshall Art said...

Marty,

What's the matter with you? Has there ever been a time when the average citizen had a direct input on who the nominees were? Go back as far as you'd like and show me how things were ever any different. Unless you decided to run yourself, and do all that was required to put your own name on the ballot (which in this case still requires some kind of list of signatures the hopeful must solicit by himself or proxy---then solicit funds if the hopeful has none of his own), OR, unless you decided to encourage someone else to do all that, you have always been in the position of selecting from whatever pool of candidates exists. Where does this "elect themselves" crap come from? It doesn't matter how much someone spends or has spent on them, they don't get elected without our votes.

Yours is exactly the type of attitude that has brought us to this sorrowful place. I hope you're not a voter, because we need people who pay attention and vote for the best possible people based on their track record and/or platform.

In any case, term limits won't do a damned thing to change the damage done by such thinking. But it will limit the work a good representative can do. Term limits is the lazy citizen's way of doing their duty.

Marshall Art said...

Parklife returns with his most insightful comment to date.

Marty said...

"Where does this "elect themselves" crap come from?"

Perhaps I should have said you elect people who choose themselves.

"I hope you're not a voter, because we need people who pay attention"

I pay attention, but am quite disgusted with what I see.

"and vote for the best possible people based on their track record and/or platform."

Pfft. Best possible people? Choosing between tweedledum and tweedledee? No thanks.

Mark said...

Whew! From Marty's non-answer, it looks as if we can assume she doesn't vote.

Thank God for the little blessings.

Marty said...

So far, I've voted Mark. Doesn't mean that I like what I see or that I really want to. I can usually find someone during the primaries that I sorta like, but they never make it past the primaries. Each election cycle I tell myself I'm not gonna vote (I live in Texas, so what's the point?), but I usually work the polls on election day, so I'm there already.

Marty said...

My good friend, a republican, is the election judge. She encourages me to vote even though she knows we are polls apart politically.

Marshall Art said...

Marty,

"Perhaps I should have said you elect people who choose themselves."

Again, Marty, I don't see your point here. When has it been any different? Even if a hue and cry goes up amongst the people that Marty should lead us, Marty must also choose herself before anyone could elect her. So it seems a strange thing to say and stranger to consider as having any relevance to voting.

"I pay attention, but am quite disgusted with what I see."

Who isn't? The right-wing always has the better pool from which to choose and we now have millions of Tea Party types who have risen up against the GOP's list of usual suspects. The difference is that the Tea Party people are average people fed up enough to go out and make their voices heard in an attempt to affect change. They're being the type of term limits of which I speak. Now it only remains to be seen if they continue holding politicians accountable, if the GOP actually reforms to reflect this movement and if we begin to see more and more of the type of candidates we all wanted in the first place. If that happens, there would be no need to "throw the bums out" through liberty infringing term limits.

Jim said...

Just so you know:

* All members of Congress participate in Social Security now
* Congress does not vote themselves pay raises. Their pay increases through means of a COLA.
* Congress has basically the same health care system as anyone of us who works for a company that participates in health care plans. They even pay premiums like everyone else (family plan for federal employees living in California is almost exactly the same as mine). Only difference is, their plan is administered by [horrors] the government.
* Can you cite some laws that don't apply to members of Congress?

Marshall Art said...

Jim,

As it happens, I have been wondering about some of these claims myself and am preparing an update. My focus was on the term limits portion of the email and that's all I meant to focus on in this thread. But your comments are legitimate and worthy of saying so.

I had received two variations of this email (one I received twice) and I did not send along any of them (I don't send chain emails of any kind anyway unless they are strictly humor---but only the really funny ones).

But it did occur to me that as there are so many goofy things being sent all over the internet, it wouldn't hurt to look at some of these more deeply. At this point, suffice to say that this email would make a lot more sense if this was 1980.

Jim said...

Thank you for a thoughtful response to my post.

One of the reasons that I frequent blogs that generally disagree with my politics is that it prompts me to do the research to verify or refute what is written thereon. This post was such a case.

I don't just read Wikipedia or Snopes, either. And when I do use them, I check out the footnotes and citations to see their sources. The source of my information above was primarily from totally independent sources and not Wiki. I also used the government employees benefits site to get information on health care benefits.

I'm divided on term limits. They are really only possible at the state level without constitutional amendments. And I don't think they would be workable or fair without a level playing field provided by something like public financing of elections. I'm for something like this anyway, because I think it would lessen the power of lobbyists and special interests.

Craig said...

MA,

I could be wrong, but I remember that congress was specifically exempted from Obamacare. It may have changed or I could have misremembered, either way congress should not be allowed to exempt themselves from any laws they pass.

Jim said...

Craig, your source for that was likely a chain email. :-)

Parklife said...

"Parklife returns with his most insightful comment to date."

Aww.. Thanks Ma. My comment was 1000 times more insightful than your post, a post that reads naive in its best parts. Sadly Ma, this is what passes for "intellect" here.

"your source for that was likely a chain email."

:)

... Hard to link to that..

Marshall Art said...

"Sadly Ma, this is what passes for "intellect" here."

Ironically, you haven't shown you possess the intellect to make such a determination. Why don't you stick your neck out and actually present a comment with whatever passes for substance in your fevered little mind? If you find fault with anything in the post, give it your best shot. Otherwise, your comments are no more than bad gas.

Parklife said...

Why?

Marshall Art said...

Can't you even stick your neck out in asking your question? About what are you asking "why?"?

DF said...

An excellent post! I agree that someone somewhere elected these people even if they are totally contrary to what we may believe. The problem with term limits is that for every idiot like Barney Frank or Pelosi there is someone on our side who has been in office for awhile but is doing good work. I would hate to see the new majority leader or others on our side who have served in office for a long time but are actively fighting for our values and beliefs to be forced out.

Probably the best way to deal with "they're all criminals" is to give the ethics committees some "teeth" or better yet lets establish a committee that is not actually run or controlled by the people it is investigating.

People like Charlie Rangel are excellent examples of how the system is broken. He lied on declaration forms, cheated on taxes, etc., etc., yet he felt that by going in front of fellow law makers and shedding a few tears he could avoid any real punishment. Turns out he was right.

Most of our problems would not be solved by term limits, a few would be, but until individuals are swiftly and equally held responsible for their actions while in office there is a lot of other things we could be doing.

DF

Parklife said...

Love the word choice DF..

Ma...

Why don't you stick your neck out and actually present a comment with whatever passes for substance in your fevered little mind?

Why? I would rather point and laugh at your comments. Hearts and minds will never be changed here. Youre dishonest as the day is long.

And I was so looking forward to the Bears playing this weekend? What happened?

Marshall Art said...

"Why? I would rather point and laugh at your comments."

A not uncommon practice of some mentally challenged individuals. How would anyone differentiate between such a person and you if you refuse to stick your neck out? Pointing and laughing at reasoned and logical comments makes no other point but that YOU are mentally deficient. Or are you just trying to make that crystal clear?

"And I was so looking forward to the Bears playing this weekend? What happened?"

The Bears were not the team their record suggested they were. From that first controversial call in the season opener against Detroit, they had been blessed with a combination of "balls bouncing their way" in a variety of manner, including overall team health (the Packers were ravaged with injuries for most of the season), and instances of individual greatness popping up at the perfect time. I would also suggest that their play calling wasn't the best when it needed to be in the playoff game against the Packers, where everything was running smoothly in the previous game against Seattle. The Bears have a goodly number of great players, including, I would insist, Cutler, but were never a great team. If they can improve that offensive line with good draft choices or free agents, add a great receiver (we have a couple that could be great, but how long does one wait?) and perhaps dump that cover two defense, they can duplicate this year's record in a more dominating fashion.

Parklife said...

Sounds like you really enjoy the NFL..

Marshall Art said...

As often as time allows, which ain't enough. Now I can focus on da Bulls.

Parklife said...

Does it bother you that football is wildly successful given how socialistic it is?

Marty said...

And highly regulated.

Marshall Art said...

OK. I'll bite. Each of you tell me what the hell you mean. Then I can tell each of you why you're goofy.

Parklife said...

NFL is socialist
MA loves the NFL
Therefore.. MA loves socialism.

Touchdown!!

Parklife 7
MA 0

Marshall Art said...

Before you can claim victory, Parkie, there are two things required:

First, support your contention. To say that the NFL is socialist and just leave it at that is as meaningless as saying Parklife is mentally unbalanced without also showing why, i.e. his constant "LOL's" along with his consistently substance free comments put forth as if they had meaning.

Secondly, one must actually win. You have yet to "score" in any discussion to date. At some point, one must cross a goal line, cross home plate, put the ball in the basket or the puck in the net in order to score. Never have you "won" a debate or scored anything resembling a rhetorical point. You are really posturing yourself as a very sad and pathetic figure, jumping up and down in a victory dance as if you're actually playing on a team.

So please, take your best shot and, if you have anything akin to a spine, try to explain just why you think the NFL is socialist. I'm always up for a good laugh, and I have no doubt you'll come through.

Parklife said...

Sigh..

Ma, can you do anything for yourself?

The Draft for starters:
1. Forcing people to sign with a team
2. "Rewarding" bad teams with high draft picks
3. Omg.. lets hope there isn't a rookie cap.

Regular Season:
1. Green Bay doesnt pay its players that much
2. GBP are a non-profit
3. Salary Caps
4. Franchise Player Tag

As a fan you want to see competition. The NFL gave you parody and you love every min. of it.

Marshall Art said...

"Sigh..

Ma, can you do anything for yourself?"


If you mean come up with stupid ideas like the NFL is socialist, why would I want to?

I could do a whole post on just why this is a stupid notion, but I'll just hit a few points. I first want to state that if your last comment is what passes for substantive comments from you, then I was wrong to insist on you putting forth the effort. You're obviously not capable and you'd be better off sticking to your poor attempts at clever patter.

First of all, there is an attempt at "parity" in the NFL. "Parody" would be something such as, Parklife is a "parody" of a real commenter because he is a feeble and ridiculous imitation of what a real commenter sounds like.

Anyway,

No one is "forced" to sign with anyone.

Winning teams drafting last and poor teams drafting first are the league's way of enhancing the product they market to the consumer. A league where anyone can win is more exciting than one where the same team wins every year. The end result of this game plan is more profits for all who own teams. But the outcomes aren't guaranteed, which is a goal of socialist systems. Each team wants to win and will hurt their opponents to do so. This is not the sign of socialism, as the outcome of the games and seasons are at stake, with the attendant extra money for playoff appearances and wins, as well as individual contract incentives included. Players make a variety of salaries depending on the strength of their agent's negotiating skills together with their individual talents.

I could go on. It's obvious you must have gotten this idea from one of the many idiotic liberals who bring it up from time to time, like that incredible fool and absolutely unfunny comedian, Bill Maher. If you're going to try to run with somebody else's ideas, it would be good to find a good idea to steal.

Parklife said...

"First of all, there is an attempt at "parity" in the NFL. "Parody" would be something such as..."

LOL.. Ma.. You really dont get much of anything.

But, thanks for playing.

Parklife said...

"Winning teams drafting last and poor teams drafting first are the league's way of enhancing the product they market to the consumer. A league where anyone can win is more exciting than one where the same team wins every year. The end result of this game plan is more profits for all who own teams."

I think you get it!

"But the outcomes aren't guaranteed, which is a goal of socialist systems."

Umm.. not true. LOL.. you just are not very smart. That seems to be the biggest problem.

"Each team wants to win.."

And... if you want to break it down to that level, then each team.. wait for it.. wait for it.. plays like a TEAM! They work together to be the best they can be.

Oh.. and a side note.. The owners get handouts from cities for stadium deals. And.. as popular as the NFL is.. No team in LA? Really? Do you think a free market system would let this happen?

And.. not to mention the whole amature / college setup.

The other problem is you don't have a good follow through.

Marshall Art said...

"LOL.. Ma.. You really dont get much of anything."

I get that you're an idiot in the most clinical sense. LOL at that.

"I think you get it!"

But you don't. The NFL does not work as they because of gov't mandate, but by a shared understanding of what works best to increase their profits. All companies work the same way. They all "work as TEAMS" in order to maximize profit potential. That isn't socialism.

"Oh.. and a side note.. The owners get handouts from cities for stadium deals. And.. as popular as the NFL is.. No team in LA? Really? Do you think a free market system would let this happen?"

Handouts from cities---so what? I begrudge no one from getting as much as I do a gov't in giving. It ain't their job to do so. Yet, if a city chooses, and their citizens don't object, that's their problem and they will experience the consequences. You want to panhandle? Not my first choice. But if you can make a living begging, good for you. Obviously you've convinced someone to pay your way.

I've always opposed sports teams putting the squeeze on a city for funds to build stadiums and such. That's got nothing to do with my enjoyment of the games. I totally enjoy sports and am not ashamed to say so. If some retard wants to pretend the NFL is socialist and my enjoying their product makes me a hypocrite or something, such pretense is proof of retardation or some other mental deficiency.

BTW, a free market system lets all sorts of things happen by virtue of its freedom that allows anyone to rise or fall on their own merits. No team in LA? The city obviously won't support one to the extent that basing a team in that city is profitable.

"And.. not to mention the whole amature / college setup."

Apples and oranges, fool. And it's amateur, genius. Or are you going to pretend THAT misspelling was on purpose, too?

"The other problem is you don't have a good follow through."

This from a guy with no set up or approach.

Parklife said...

yawnnn...

Ma.. sorry that nobody cares.

Parklife said...

You're way too myopic to have a decent conversation with.

Marshall Art said...

"Ma.. sorry that nobody cares."

How true. You brought it up and you're a nobody.

"You're way too myopic to have a decent conversation with."

Learned a new word today, did ya? How nice. You're way too stupid to have even a poor conversation with. But I try to be nice to the mentally challenged.

Parklife said...

"You're way too stupid.."

Aww.. poor Ma.. Still cant come up with a response to my original post. Its okay, nobody cares how the NFL is run.

And.. as always.. you are the best reminder as to why church is pointless.

Parklife said...

Oh.. just for fun.. are you athletic in any way, shape or form?

Marshall Art said...

"And.. as always.. you are the best reminder as to why church is pointless."

But we are both reminders why it is so desperately needed, provided it aligns with the Truth.

Just the same, to pretend that a Christian is required to be perfect is to take the easy way out. We don't pretend to be. What's worse, however, is that those like yourself give no weight to the idea that a world without Christianity would in any way be better off. You certainly don't act better, so it makes your condescension rather pathetic.

"Oh.. just for fun.. are you athletic in any way, shape or form?"

Oh..just for fun..tell me why you'd care. Otherwise, take a hike.

Parklife said...

"take a hike"

ha! Ma, perhaps you should take your own advice. Why do I care? Really, I dont. Just curious if you had given up.. marshal arts.. in favor of cancer filled dinners and a sedentary lifestyle.

"a world without Christianity"

LOL.. Ma, its not what I said. And Not even close. Whichever church you attend, I want nothing to do with it. Apparently this group only aids in being increasingly narrow minded.

I'm sure I've taken up your time enough today. Plus, you've got a full night of sitting around and eating pizza to catch-up on.

Marshall Art said...

"ha! Ma, perhaps you should take your own advice."

Take a hike from my own place? Yeah. THAT makes sense.

"Just curious if you had given up.. marshal arts.. in favor of cancer filled dinners and a sedentary lifestyle."

And I'm just curious if you still play with your own poop.

"Whichever church you attend, I want nothing to do with it."

You can't imagine the relief that gives me. But you really need to find one someday.

"Apparently this group only aids in being increasingly narrow minded."

If by "narrow minded" you mean a strict adherence to truth and fact, I plead guilty. Somehow I get the feeling that you take the term to mean one who doesn't tolerate absolutely anything.

"I'm sure I've taken up your time enough today."

That's never stopped you before.

Parklife said...

"Take a hike from my own place? Yeah. THAT makes sense."

Wow.. you're slow. Really.. Ma.. take a hike.. Crawl out from under your rock.. get out of your parents garage.. and get outside. It'll be good for you.

"And I'm just curious if you still play with your own poop."

Ahh.. spoken like true christian.

"If by "narrow minded" you mean a strict adherence to truth and fact.."

LOL.. thank you for proving my point. Ma.. Im not sure we really disagree on anything. I make comments, then you prove how ignorant or narrow minded you are. Really, its win-win.

Marshall Art said...

"...spoken like a true Christian."

First of all, I doubt you have any idea of what a true Christian would look like. Nor do I believe you could stand to be in the presence of one. Finally, I don't believe you're qualified to determine just how a true, or even poor Christian like myself, should act or speak.

Perhaps you could take some time and try to find anywhere that I have even hinted at being the perfect picture of a true Christian. All I've ever done is state that despite my own shortcomings, I'm unwilling to pretend Christian truths no longer exist or apply.

As to proving your point? When have you ever expressed a point? There has never been any noticeable point within any of your snarky comments. If we've ever been in agreement on anything, no one could ever tell by the low level of your comments. You comment and you prove how much of an idiot you are. This isn't an unChristian insult. It's a fact of the matter. Your idiocy is supported by your own idiotic comments that are bereft of cleverness and wholly devoid of a point.

As to the first: if you really expect anyone to fall for that dodge, that your "take a hike" line meant to get outside and enjoy the weather instead of the usual meaning, you show your idiocy once again.

Really Parkie, I'd much prefer a mature and respectful conversation. You've never shown any desire to have one. It's easy to point and mock. Someday you'll have to provide an intelligent reason why mine should be. And really, if you don't disagree, as you suggest just now is a possibility, then you are indeed an idiot for the tone of your comments.