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Thread: Life-long Politicians Out of Touch With Reality

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Life-long Politicians Out of Touch With Reality

    A couple weeks ago, Rudy Giuliani was in the paper, quoted that a gallon of milk was something like $1.95 when it was over $4 in Manhattan. He was asked about a few other everyday items and failed miserably about the cost.

    This is what totally pisses off average people. Beyond the fact that they vote to help their business buddies once they're in office.... they are sooooooo out of touch about what real people deal with.

    I don't remember if it was Reagan or the first Bush, but one of them went to a JC Penneys and had no clue about the cost of socks, and had to borrow cash from a secret service guy to pay for them.

    Life-long politicians disgust a lot of people. Me included. This may feed into M'skis worries about people bashing GW.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    I totally agree with you. How can they legislate minimum wage when they don't know what it costs to live...or just get by. It totally disgusts me.
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    What frosts me about them is their lifetime benefits.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    A couple weeks ago, Rudy Giuliani was in the paper, quoted that a gallon of milk was something like $1.95 when it was over $4 in Manhattan. He was asked about a few other everyday items and failed miserably about the cost.

    This is what totally pisses off average people. Beyond the fact that they vote to help their business buddies once they're in office.... they are sooooooo out of touch about what real people deal with.

    I don't remember if it was Reagan or the first Bush, but one of them went to a JC Penneys and had no clue about the cost of socks, and had to borrow cash from a secret service guy to pay for them.

    Life-long politicians disgust a lot of people. Me included. This may feed into M'skis worries about people bashing GW.
    I agree, most of them have no clue as to what things in the Real World Cost.
    "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism." - George Washington

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    What bothers me is those who use their elected office as a stepping stone to the next level. After deliberately moving into the district right before qualifying ends, Politician A is elected to a 4 yr term as a state rep. 2 yrs into that term, US rep office becomes available. He decides to run for that. During the campaign, there are rumors that he may run for governor. He vehemently denies these rumors. He wins the US rep seat and serves for 1 yr before deciding that he'll run for governor after all. By now, he hasn't served in any office long enough to have made a difference for his constituents, but does have a pretty hefty war chest. He's spent more time campaigning and fundraising than actually legislating.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  6. #6
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    This matter of ‘professional’ politicians is a tricky business. In order to get elected to office in many state level elections (and certainly in the case of federal elections) one needs a great deal of money to pay for the necessary political ads and a large number of connections in order to get the endorsements necessary to successfully sway sufficient numbers of voters. This usually means the candidate must either be independently wealthy or very closely entrenched with their respective party’s orthodoxy/powerbrokers (or sometimes both!). This state of affairs where big money and good ol’ boy networking control who gets into office encourages or even rewards corruption. All of these factors argue strongly for ‘cleaning house’ every couple years so that entrenchment and corruption are inhibited. The trouble is, however, that statesmanship really is a complex art requiring a great deal of skill and knowledge – it SHOULD take many years, or even a lifetime to master this profession.

    Until such time as meaningful campaign reform occurs or the two party system is abandoned, I think we can expect our leaders to continue to be out of touch with Regular People’s lives and the scope of their concerns.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  7. #7
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    It was sort of touched on by Maister. I think that politicians belong to a class of people who are removed from reality the average person is aware of.

    Rudy, Romney, Hillary and Joe Lieberman don't know what a gallon of milk costs or how much an average American has to scrimp and save to make that monthly mortgage payment or rent. But neither does Paris Hilton, David Letterman, Bill O'Reilly or Donald Trump. These are people with assistants and handlers that do everything for them that might smack of everyday getting s**t done.

    Also I don't know how fair it is to ask a white guy in his fifties what milk costs and expect him to know. He probably hasn't been to the grocery except to buy a six pack and potato chips since he said "I do." Ask him what a sheet of dry wall costs or the sticker price on a Chevy with a hemi.

    Me, I know what milk costs. I take the better half to the grocery every week.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  8. #8
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    Also I don't know how fair it is to ask a white guy in his fifties what milk costs and expect him to know. He probably hasn't been to the grocery except to buy a six pack and potato chips since he said "I do." Ask him what a sheet of dry wall costs or the sticker price on a Chevy with a hemi.
    Ha! Thats funny. Everyone knows that Chevy's don't have Hemis!! Oops sorry I forgot I am in the world of planners where everyone drives a Subaru or Saab! (And to be fair, I can't spell Toyota Camaray).

    Otterpop makes a keen observation that some folks only know what they know through conditioning. Just as I'll never know the latest Toyota products I don't expact that any of you should be as up on which Chrysler products have hemis

    Am I biased to my local industry? Absolutely. However when you consider how many of my family members worked for big 3 auto companies starting with my great-grandfather, and how the good wages were able to produce a middle class and opportunities to attend college you could understand why.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  9. #9
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post

    Otterpop makes a keen observation that some folks only know what they know through conditioning. Just as I'll never know the latest Toyota products I don't expact that any of you should be as up on which Chrysler products have hemis
    .
    Rams, Vipers and some models of Charger?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Wasn't it Bush I who didn't know what a bar code was? Talk about being out of touch with your voters.

    *And while a Republican was my example, there are people like that on both sides. This is just the one that always sticks in my mind.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    All this talk further solidifies the quote I heard many years ago, "There can be no democracy with professional politicians". Manditory term limits seem more important now than ever. Most politicians have come from wealthy families or backgrounds. Have been high power Attorneys (do they have a sense of reality either?) or CEOs. They make the decisions for us commoners, time for the middle class to step up and have a party of their own.
    @GigCityPlanner

  12. #12
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    They make the decisions for us commoners, time for the middle class to step up and have a party of their own.
    Or the "commoners" should just be better informed and not vote for the useless or self-serving candidates, incumbent or otherwise. Somebody must be voting in the career politicians?

    Some of the replies to this thread sound borderline Marxist. And we all know how well that system works, right?

    I agree that there are certainly politicians that are out of touch with reality, particularly at the Federal level, less so at the local or State level. But this problem isn't instrinsic to our system. The "people" certainly have equal if not most of the blame. If we don't like a candidate, don't vote for them.
    Last edited by mendelman; 08 May 2007 at 12:53 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  13. #13
    At the local level in Reno, an elected official can run for another office during the middle of their term. However, they must resign their original position when they announce theat are running for the new office.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by biscuit View post
    Off-topic:
    Rams, Vipers and some models of Charger?
    Don't forget the Jeeps and 300s too!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  15. #15
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    I'm not sure term limits are the answer. Here would be my top four:

    # 1 - Campaign money. Money is filtered to candidates through a new process that allows donations to a party, but not a particular candidate. Each person running at the start gets X amount based on how much is raised, then the party leaders whittle down the field, and those left standing get another round of funding and so on, until the last person standing gets the remainder. That way, no politician is specifically bought by a particular group.

    # 2 - Lobby reform. Lobbyist are legal bribers. Everyone knows it. Get them off the hill for good, and if they come back, jail them.

    # 3 - Performance based pay. Want to go skiing and miss several votes? Fine, you lose pay. I'm sure we could find several markers of performance and tie their pay to them. I mean, if I don't do my job, I'm liable. Why not them?

    # 4 - No living in Washington. When congress is not in session, you must return to your home state and have office hours. You live where you're elected.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
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  16. #16
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Yeah, it's often easy to just pick on the politicians, when other people their age, and several public figures/celebrities are just as out of touch with things.

  17. #17

    Political reform

    1. No one or no group is allowed to give a candidate more than $100.
    2. Serving is a public service, the Government will take care of lodging, travel, food and a small stipend, say $150 per week spending money.
    2. Congress is allowed to meet no more than 120 days a year to pass laws, the rest of the time they should be home working their regular jobs.
    3. Politicans don't deserve a lifetime retirement package, their regular job should take care of that.
    4. Presidents- elected by popular vote and subject to a vote of no confidence if the Preseident looses touch with the country.


    I'm not a fan of term limits, I think we need to make these postions more a public service position rather than a life time career.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    My personal experience is based upon my first-hand account of the tomfoolery of having a former US Senator help me jump start a truck in college.

    Let's just say, "Don't cross the cables sir..."


    True Story, remind me to tell you over coffee and cake sometime.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  19. #19
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    I think my Congressman is in touch with reality, since he only lives less than 1/2 mile from me. We have some the same societal ills that plague our neighborhoods.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    [If you want to reign in fund raising and the abuse of power brokers writing checks to candidates then you need publicly financed elections. Arizona has does this. To qualify you need to collect at least $5 from 100 different people. The amount given to state wide candidates is figured by the election board. If a candidate opts out then his opponent receives matching funds. I am not sold on this option it is the best answer I have yet to hear a feasible answer that addresses the problem in full. I also have problems with the use of tax payer funds for campaigns and I am not sure this would work well on the Federal level.

    On my flights between DC and Michigan I have meet several lobbyists. They have full time jobs from around the country but come to DC to make their opinions known. One gentleman was a farmer, another was a college student, and another worked in the sugar industry. They were all flying in to meet with their Congressman and Senators to discuss issues important to them. 2 of the 3 were registered as lobbyist. I also know lobbyist who work on K St. They represent a litany of clients who find more economic to hire a representative instead of fly back and forth when they want to offer input. One lobbyist I know represents cities and deal with Congress and the different government agencies. The city manager or mayor of City X can call his lobbyist instead making a call to both Senators and the 3 Congressmen for his city. The lobbyists also do the research on the issue and find support to back up the city. Another lobbyist I have met represents a major university and works with the entire state delegation.

    The point I am trying to make is lobbyist represent the interest of groups of people, trade associations, cities town and local government institutions. Most behave in a proper and efficient manner in their dealings with Congress. If you are a member of a trade association then part of your membership fees is going to cover lobbying efforts.

    There are lobbyists who do abuse the system. Getting rid of lobbyist is not the answer but restricting what they can give to elected officials is the answer. They should be able to only provide education materials and opinions, no trips or junkets, gifts, sporting events, lavish meals or donations to PACs. The PAC donation is where the back door is to the system and any campaign reform effort without this restriction is toothless.

    As for pay, going back to a per diem could be a valid solution. This was the old way of doing it.

    As for returning to the District most Congressmen do just that. The rumor on the Hill is that 50 Congressmen have no DC residence. They sleep in their offices and fly home after the last vote on Thursday and fly back on Sunday or Monday. To my knowledge all 100 Senators have a DC residence. Many of them live together in a “garden Apartment or row home. Senator Schumer lives with two other Senators and a Congressman in a two bedroom row home.

    To make sure we get the best politicians in DC we need as many competitive Districts as possible. If they have a serious fight for their seat every two years then they will be more responsive. If the incumbent could not count on PAC money to create an overwhelming advantage then he has to campaign and earn his job for another 2 or 6 years.
    "You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it,..." -Bane

  21. #21
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    [If you want to reign in fund raising and the abuse of power brokers writing checks to candidates then you need publicly financed elections. Arizona has does this. To qualify you need to collect at least $5 from 100 different people. The amount given to state wide candidates is figured by the election board. If a candidate opts out then his opponent receives matching funds. I am not sold on this option it is the best answer I have yet to hear a feasible answer that addresses the problem in full. I also have problems with the use of tax payer funds for campaigns and I am not sure this would work well on the Federal level.

    On my flights between DC and Michigan I have meet several lobbyists. They have full time jobs from around the country but come to DC to make their opinions known. One gentleman was a farmer, another was a college student, and another worked in the sugar industry. They were all flying in to meet with their Congressman and Senators to discuss issues important to them. 2 of the 3 were registered as lobbyist. I also know lobbyist who work on K St. They represent a litany of clients who find more economic to hire a representative instead of fly back and forth when they want to offer input. One lobbyist I know represents cities and deal with Congress and the different government agencies. The city manager or mayor of City X can call his lobbyist instead making a call to both Senators and the 3 Congressmen for his city. The lobbyists also do the research on the issue and find support to back up the city. Another lobbyist I have met represents a major university and works with the entire state delegation.

    The point I am trying to make is lobbyist represent the interest of groups of people, trade associations, cities town and local government institutions. Most behave in a proper and efficient manner in their dealings with Congress. If you are a member of a trade association then part of your membership fees is going to cover lobbying efforts.

    There are lobbyists who do abuse the system. Getting rid of lobbyist is not the answer but restricting what they can give to elected officials is the answer. They should be able to only provide education materials and opinions, no trips or junkets, gifts, sporting events, lavish meals or donations to PACs. The PAC donation is where the back door is to the system and any campaign reform effort without this restriction is toothless.

    As for pay, going back to a per diem could be a valid solution. This was the old way of doing it.

    As for returning to the District most Congressmen do just that. The rumor on the Hill is that 50 Congressmen have no DC residence. They sleep in their offices and fly home after the last vote on Thursday and fly back on Sunday or Monday. To my knowledge all 100 Senators have a DC residence. Many of them live together in a “garden Apartment or row home. Senator Schumer lives with two other Senators and a Congressman in a two bedroom row home.

    To make sure we get the best politicians in DC we need as many competitive Districts as possible. If they have a serious fight for their seat every two years then they will be more responsive. If the incumbent could not count on PAC money to create an overwhelming advantage then he has to campaign and earn his job for another 2 or 6 years.

    I think the non-stop flight between Omaha and DC on Midwest Airlines was made specifically for Sen. Hagel. The last time I flew back from Omaha, I chatted with Sen. Hagel breifly. However, I could tell that I was getting in the way of the lobbyists and the business people on board. The flight is relatvely cheap too at $218 RT.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  22. #22
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I am not against lifelong politcians. I used to be in favor of term limits but am no longer. Would we rail against people who are life-long doctors, lawyers or planners?

    Being in Congress is a job. It is a job where you get a job performance review on election day.

    That doesn't mean that I don't think congressmen are way over-compensated or that they deserve a fat pension.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  23. #23
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    I've got plenty of problems with politicians, but the biggest problem out here in California are the initiatives. I'm sorry, if we're going to have a representative government, you have to give the reps the ability to make a budget, fund a budget, etc, etc. If they don't do things the way you like - vote them out.

    Prop 13 has caused sooooo many horrible expected and unexpected consequences, but since propostions like it are good for any one person and simply bad for society at large, overturning them or defeating them in the first place is nearly impossible. A person can be smart and informed, people as a group are stupid and will almost always do what is best for them personally.

    Everyone you talk to here will support better schools, better infrastructure, lower crime, etc, but ask them to pay for it and the answer is always "I pay enough taxes already" or "The government wastes too much money". Both might be true, but when politicians hands are tied from the moment they enter office, what can we really expect?

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