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Thread: what's wrong with professional politicians

  1. #1
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    what's wrong with professional politicians

    in a couple of threads people have indicated a disdain for professional politicans and inherently, I understand what they are saying - the good old boy network, nothing ever getting done, deals made, etc. - we all live with and sometimes work with this score

    however, there is another side to this coin -
    1. in order to seek elected office on a state or federal level, you need to basically give up your day job or you can maybe work part-time - so how many people can just do that?
    2. so if someone says they are going to make a living by representing a constituency and they do a reasonable good job at it, so what?
    3. it takes a few elections before anyone returns your phone call in the beltway and in many state houses, so if we make people not run after a few times, then we always have a bunch of newbies running around - and we all know what happens when there's too many newbies


    I'm not trying to start a flame throwing contest but it was on the top of a few people's list as what's wrong with America and though I think it's a problem, it's not one with a simple solution so I thought I'd throw it out there to see if anyone wants to explain the differento the story...

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- California has term limits for all its legislators and the result is a government constantly run by amateurs.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    ^-- California has term limits for all its legislators and the result is a government constantly run by amateurs.
    exactly my point!

    it must take a few terms just to figure out the basics of the system - democracy is chaos

  4. #4
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I see good and bad of both sides. However, I am not in favor of term limits because it takes a bit for people to get acclimated to the new position and to understand the system. Additionally a network of contacts and channels are established, friendships are formed, and red tape is reduced allowing for a more expedient review of new bills or information.

    I do however think that the setup of no more than two four year terms is a good thing because it does allow for new blood in office.

    As for the idea of the Good Old Boys club, if people donít like who is in office, get someone else elected. Regardless of how long a person has been in office, we as a society have the power (even if we donít want to truly admit it) to change things. In the age of technology a person can be super empowered and create a snowball of information that can greatly influence the decisions of voters at all levels.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I'll bite since I'm the one who probably prompted you to post this LP.

    I have heard the arguments that you and JordanB brought up. And yes I agree with that sentiment and unfortunetly finding that "happy medium" is tough and I don't have the solution. There are many old school, entrenched, and most of all out of touch politicians in every state and even federal government (though I believe you can't get away with as much at the federal level as you can in the state or county level because there are less eyes on your every move).

    I read in another thread about the current boundaries of political districts and that they have been drawn to favor one party or the other. This is bad and does not promote competition.

    The two party system is bad and does not promote competition except for when one party has done something wrong and another party can take advantage of that weakness. A third party or even fourth could break up the logjam of partyline voting... which would require a more educated populous... there goes that idae.

    I had a quote I cut out of Newsweek 5-10 years ago and it said, "There can be no democracy with professional poloticians." And I agree because If being a politico is their job, and you want to keep your job right?, then you will do anything you must to ensure you stay in that position of power and comfortability even if you don't represent your true constituents in the proper way. Without compeition the old boys continue to vote each other in, both parties alike, and the cycle continues another 2 or 4 years.

    ____________________________

    Case in point:

    New Jersey is at a budgetary stand still. The Governor and Legislature cannot agree on a budget. In NJ after June 30 you must have a budget in place or the state shuts down, we have been shut down. The general consensus is that a 1% slae tax hike is the answer, but the problem... it's an election year and noone wants to commit political suicide by proposing that and passing it before November. Instead we'll get a smoke and mirrors budget this year and the sale tax hike will happen sometime later this year or early 2007 (which is a lame duck year with no house or senate seats up for reelection) and then us as the stupid fools who voted them in will forget it by Nov. 2008.

    What needs to happen here is someone needs to take the initiative, but noone will fall on the gernade for the party.
    @GigCityPlanner

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide
    SNIP
    The two party system is bad and does not promote competition except for when one party has done something wrong and another party can take advantage of that weakness. A third party or even fourth could break up the logjam of partyline voting... which would require a more educated populous... there goes that idae.

    SNIP
    We did have a 3rd party and it got Clinton Elected. While it would be nice to have a 3rd party that draws equal parts of both parties, it is not realistic. Instead it creates a 25% - 25% - 50% issue and creates a political dominance.

    If a 4 party was introduced, then it could get real interesting and possibly each would balance out the issues, and help voters with a real choice instead of the lesser of two evils.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- I agree that gerrymandering is one of the biggest problems with our democracy. I don't think that term limits solve that though. What we need is what they have in England: A "Ministry of Boundaries" draws up the map based on census data and then that map goes to the legislature. The parliament can accept or reject the entire map, no tweaking or amendments, and no possibility for backroom deals and incumbent protection policies.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
    http://hafd.org/~jordanb/ Pretentious Weblog.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    We did have a 3rd party and it got Clinton Elected. While it would be nice to have a 3rd party that draws equal parts of both parties, it is not realistic. Instead it creates a 25% - 25% - 50% issue and creates a political dominance.
    BUT, you also have the posibility of the 33%-33%-33%, then what? A third party does not necessarily have to draw from one party or the other, and I believe current American apathy is turning voters away from both parties.
    @GigCityPlanner

  9. #9
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide
    BUT, you also have the posibility of the 33%-33%-33%, then what? A third party does not necessarily have to draw from one party or the other, and I believe current American apathy is turning voters away from both parties.
    I donít think that you would because the new parties candidate would be a break off or the views would end up being viewed as similar to one of the two older parties.

    That is one of the downfalls of the Green Party. Most of their votes would come from Liberal tree hugger types who in the past have voted for the democratic candidate.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  10. #10
    If you impose term limits on politicians, you eliminate the last incentive politicians have to do what's right for people. re-election.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    If you impose term limits on politicians, you eliminate the last incentive politicians have to do what's right for people. re-election.
    I think that is a good point. However many positions try not to do something stupid even if they can not get re-elected to that position, because there is always another position, and you donít want to mess things up for your party.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    ^-- I agree that gerrymandering is one of the biggest problems with our democracy. I don't think that term limits solve that though. What we need is what they have in England: A "Ministry of Boundaries" draws up the map based on census data and then that map goes to the legislature. The parliament can accept or reject the entire map, no tweaking or amendments, and no possibility for backroom deals and incumbent protection policies.
    Arizona has a bipartisan board that draws maps but the instructions are to preserve many historic boundries and seperations they had a court draw one of the maps.

    The closer the elections the more likely we can do what michaelskis suggests and make politicans truly responsible for their constitutents.

    In 2000 the Ohio legislature cut all funding to protect livestock against foot and mouth disease because they did not understand the language. Once staff explained what they did they reinstated the funds.

    Term limits say people are not smart enough to make the correct decision at the voting booth but poll after poll people overwhelming support them.

    As for more politcan parties it seems whenever a third party gets started it winds up either being a non factor ( Libertarians and Greens) getting 1-5% of the vote or it winds up merging with a larger party. The other side affect is what Michaelskis suggests the second choice winnering (ie Bill Clinton or Woodrow Wilson).

    Conditions are right for a third party movement. Republicans are controlled by the extreme of the party and the Democrats are without a rudder and the only ones speaking for them are the far left. The middle is wide open and ripe for the picking.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  13. #13
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    I think term limits would hurt Democrats more than Republicans. If there are term limits, then much more of the taxpayers money is being used simply to teach a new crop how to legislate. On the other hand, long serving politicians may be more likely to engage in Cronyism and Gerrymandering.

    I think the two-year election cycle of the house is too frequent. Legislators have to constantly campaign and pander for money. Four years would allow them to focus on issues rather than continual fundraising. Naturally, the Senate opposses this as an erosion of their six-year long power cycles.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  14. #14
    (for now) Frozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I believe in terms limits for executive positions (governors, presidents, etc.), but legislators should not have term limits for the reasons noted above - amateur governing, etc.

    And gerrymandering is just wrong and manipulative.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dobopoq
    I think term limits would hurt Democrats more than Republicans. If there are term limits, then much more of the taxpayers money is being used simply to teach a new crop how to legislate. On the other hand, long serving politicians may be more likely to engage in Cronyism and Gerrymandering.

    I think the two-year election cycle of the house is too frequent. Legislators have to constantly campaign and pander for money. Four years would allow them to focus on issues rather than continual fundraising. Naturally, the Senate opposses this as an erosion of their six-year long power cycles.

    Term limits are often imposed by majority parties to help keep the lesser knowns 'lesser known'. I'd think that there has to be situations where the dems have pulled the trick to screw the republicans too. Although in CA and MI you can clearly tell it was a republican agenda that put it in.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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