Vote out all Incumbents and new term limits of 1 term for House and Senate

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    Apr 19, 2009 3:52 PM GMT
    I am not the first person to say this, but I have thought about it a lot lately. I think we all agree no matter which party we support that congress is a piece of crap. They follow party lines and do what it takes to get re-elected. Gone of the days of thinking independently for their constituents. Its all about getting re-elected and gaining power.

    If there is no chance of being re-elected then they can come into office, take care of business, and move on. This would get more people involved in politics and lessen the grip of special interests groups. It may even lessen the hold that our 2 party system has on us by finally making it possible for a 3rd or 4th party to come into play. While we are at it, how about shortening the campaign season. By law no more than 6 months of campaigning. The last Pres election lasted for 2 years.

    I would like to know what others think. Please don't post hate and blame on one particular person or party. Its about a broken system not a broken party.

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    Apr 19, 2009 4:04 PM GMT
    Is there an initiative system in federal govt like at the state level? I am aware of how difficult it will be for those that hold the power to take away their own power. In WA state the people can force legislation through an initiative process.
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    Apr 19, 2009 4:53 PM GMT
    two key flaws here.

    a house seat last for 2 years, if we voted every person in the house new every two years there would be no leadership or authority, new congressmen never know what they are doing till they have some leadership experience and some time in congress. because of this we would never get anything done. the senate would not have this flaw because 1/3 get vote din every 2 years so there would be a higherarchy and some leadership potential

    6 month campaining does not work either as the primary season lasts 6 months and that is just the voting. there is no way to reach hundred of millions of people in 6 months
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    Apr 19, 2009 5:00 PM GMT
    Another problem is that there are whole other groups of people working in the government who are NOT elected -- aides, lobbyists, various bureaucrats, etc -- and they would become the ones with the seniority and the experience edge if we impose term limits on the elected ones.
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    Apr 19, 2009 6:28 PM GMT
    Valid points above. I agree it would not work based on the system in place. Why not makes moves though to change the system? Baby steps I suppose. Thanks for the comments and for putting a little reality check in it.

  • Bunjamon

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    Apr 19, 2009 7:05 PM GMT
    Having incumbents is important for continuity in government. Even fewer things would get done if everyone who was there had very little experience.

    The presidential term of 4 years is pretty standard, and longer than many other developed countries (it's 5 years in France, for example).

    I do agree that there should be limits on how long campaigning can last. In Canada, elections last 36 days, so candidates only have that much time to state their platforms and get as many supporters as possible. Saying that more time is necessary is silly, seeing as we live in an age of global media and information. Plus, think of what could be done with all of the money that politicians use on their campaigns. Obama's campaign alone raised over $400 million. Imagine what could be accomplished if that money were put back into the system to fund healthcare and public universities. Instead, it's paying for private jets, hairdressers, stylists, photoshoots, and mud-slinging television spots.
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    Apr 19, 2009 7:41 PM GMT
    wadawg saidValid points above. I agree it would not work based on the system in place. Why not makes moves though to change the system? Baby steps I suppose. Thanks for the comments and for putting a little reality check in it.



    because the system was designed by the constitution. it is extremely hard to change the constitution and usually changing the constitution is ill advised hence why it is so hard to change
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    Apr 19, 2009 7:44 PM GMT
    Bunjamon saidHaving incumbents is important for continuity in government. Even fewer things would get done if everyone who was there had very little experience.

    The presidential term of 4 years is pretty standard, and longer than many other developed countries (it's 5 years in France, for example).

    I do agree that there should be limits on how long campaigning can last. In Canada, elections last 36 days, so candidates only have that much time to state their platforms and get as many supporters as possible. Saying that more time is necessary is silly, seeing as we live in an age of global media and information. Plus, think of what could be done with all of the money that politicians use on their campaigns. Obama's campaign alone raised over $400 million. Imagine what could be accomplished if that money were put back into the system to fund healthcare and public universities. Instead, it's paying for private jets, hairdressers, stylists, photoshoots, and mud-slinging television spots.


    canada has 12 or 13 provinces, the US has 50 states. each state has a primary so that candidate can be chosen and then there is the national election. the US also has a significantly large populaiton so it is harder to reach as many people. if the candidates got 36 days per state we would have a much longer process
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    Apr 19, 2009 7:49 PM GMT
    Term limits are one key in saving our democratic republic. The other key is campaign reform where by anyone can run for office not just people with money or who can raise a lot of money.

    incumbants are elected 90% of the time or more so the people become shut out of the process and the interestd groups have shut themselves in with the incumbants.

    George Washington showed us that people in power need to walk away and return to civilian life. He served 2 terms as President and went home.

    I suggest 6 terms for US House and 2 terms for US Senate. That is enough time. If you can't accomplish the work you wanted to do in 12 years, go home and give someone else a chance.

    There are 300 million people in this country, many who can do a great job and even a better job then the people in Congress but they are shut out of the Sysyem.

    Strom Thurmond died a few weeks after leaving the Senate in 2001 at age 100. He was there since 1954. Was he the only guy who could represent South Carolina? Was he the best?

    We need term limits and we need them now. We need public servants, not self-servant people like we have now.

    Term limits would allow more to get done, not less. Why? Every member would have a term that they do not have to run again and campaign. So they can actually work their 6 years or their 2 years the whole time for the people. They could be the ones who could give health care to all Americans and fix Medicare and Social Security because they can cast the hard votes.

    If we don't have term limits then all we will get is the same old same old. People not fixing an issue because they need to get reelected.

    A politician votes they way that will help themselves get reelected. A representative votes for what is best for his people. We need less politicians and more representatives in DC.
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    Apr 19, 2009 7:54 PM GMT
    Interesting thread and there are some good reasons for considering this point of view. The other point of view however, is that just because someone is new - doesn't necessarily mean he (or she) is going to be any good. A revolving door of new talent could show us some good people - and some bad. We would be just exactly where we are now. The other concern I have - is what about the good people - like Dianne Feinstein, for instance? She's have to go - and then some newbie (who would be possibly not so good) would get her seat.

    Your view is very interesting and would work well for getting rid of dead wood - but too bad there isn't a way to keep those who are great contributors.
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    Apr 19, 2009 7:58 PM GMT
    jprichva, A Senator is not a profession. it is public service. The reason why they get paid money is because the founders didn't want all rich people to serve. What founders did't see was what would happen in the future. In their day, no one ran for office, no one campaigned at all. Now everyone campaigns for themselves so now you have to be rich to run. That they did not see otherwise they would have had campaign reform way back then.

    Again, this is not an occupation, it is a public service like jury duty. Sadly many people people it is a job. No it is not. Washington modeled himself after the Romans who served and went home. You gave up your job and life for while to serve the people, and then you went home.

    We no longer have public servants, we have politicians who see this as their job, it is not.
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    Apr 19, 2009 8:06 PM GMT
    Jockbod48, a long time ago we left England, and with that event we said no one can take a title like Lord, Duke, Prince etc. No one is allowed to inherit a position in government.

    People wondered what would happen when George Washington left and we survived with Adams and the Jefferson. Some say they were worse then Washington but we lived.

    Sadly we put our hopes in individual people like Reagan, Kennedy, etc. Only they could do it right. That is why children inherit their parent's seats in office. Look at Bush, he is President because his father was. Look at Clinton, we barely got Obama because she was going to get her Husband's seat back. Imagine 28 years of the name Bush or Clinton in the White House.

    We have to break the mold, and we need to do it now. We tend to go with what we know, instead of thinking anew.

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    Apr 19, 2009 8:17 PM GMT
    pecfan saidWe have to break the mold, and we need to do it now. We tend to go with what we know, instead of thinking anew.



    You helped me make my point - i.e. *new* is not necessarily better. Thinking "anew" is all fine and good - but it should be better than the status quo. Throwing out the status quo just to go with some untried direction is not a good idea, IMO.
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    Apr 19, 2009 8:17 PM GMT
    jprichva, I disagree that it is a profession. It is not. It is a service. Like you serve in the army, you serve on a school board, you serve the public, you serve your state. The people serve on a jury and go home. They get a little money for the day and they go home. This is how public service should be. The Constitution says you have to be a certain age, a certain amount of years as a citizen (or a certain type of citizen for president), and live in the state you represent. No where does it say amount of education or training. If it did, then it would be a profession. Instead it is government service. You serve in the army, then you go home, you serve on the jury and you go home, you serve in Congress you need to go home.

    When people tend to cling to the idea that it is a profession, then we get the only lawyers and not the common folk in office. Government is something for someone else to do, because I the common folk can't do it. I don't have the professional skills to do a professional job. But that is false. We are the government, therefore we can all hold public office. We need a better system of picking the public servants.

    In 1787, the white male property owners gathered in a room to pick their leaders. They could talk about all the possibilities for a leader and then vote on who they want in public.

    We need a system that can gather people together to talk about our options and pick our leaders.

    Being a lawyer is a profession
    Being a Doctor is a profession
    Being a teacher is a profession

    Being a member of Congress is a public service.
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    Apr 19, 2009 8:19 PM GMT
    Jockbod48, well taking your logic, why not bring back the King of England to rule us, why change?
  • Bunjamon

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    Apr 19, 2009 8:23 PM GMT
    chungo44 said
    canada has 12 or 13 provinces, the US has 50 states. each state has a primary so that candidate can be chosen and then there is the national election. the US also has a significantly large populaiton so it is harder to reach as many people. if the candidates got 36 days per state we would have a much longer process


    So that means they're getting 3 days per province/territory (there are 10 provinces, 3 territories), and I guarantee you that NO candidate for a federal election is going to Iqaluit or Yellowknife, so that's increasing the days in the more populated states. If you gave US politicians the same about of time, they'd need 150 days to conduct their campaigns, not two whole years and hundreds of millions of dollars. The primary system could be executed much more quickly than it is now, and campaigns could be announced later, which would reduce the amount of official campaign time. Obama announced in candidacy on January 16, 2007, just shy of two years before the election was to take place. Even if the campaign limit is a year, it's a start.

    Also, I think the argument that more population = more difficulty spreading your message falls a little flat in an era where almost everyone has a newspaper subscription, cable television, or the internet. Candidates barely even travel to states that always vote the same way (how much time did Obama spend campaigning in NY? Not that much).
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    Apr 19, 2009 8:38 PM GMT
    If you really want to reform the way people are elected, you could start with getting rid of the electoral system used to select the president. This 18th century invention was a compromise at the time, and if it did make sense then, it certainly does not make sense in the 21st century. Huge states like California and Texas and New York see little campaigning by presidential candidates (just fund raisers) since they are not considered competitive. Small states see none since they have few electoral votes. That means the candidates spend huge amounts of time, money and resources on just a hand full of states where they try to tip the election in their favor. How can any country where the person who comes in second, win the election, call it self democratic (and yes, I know, the US is a republic, not a democracy) ?
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    Apr 19, 2009 8:43 PM GMT
    jprichva,

    We are then we want people in Congress who know what they are doing. Sadly that is not the case with the current members. Most bills are written by staff or outside interests groups and they don't even read the bills themselves. Both Republicans and Democrats don't read the bills and think for themselves.

    Sounds like we need new blood in Congress icon_biggrin.gif
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    Apr 19, 2009 9:09 PM GMT
    jprichva, I am not telling you who can represent you. You get to choose from the 600,000 people in your district. The person with the most votes gets to represent you for a maximum of 12 years in the senate and the house.

    I get this idea from the Constitution that says the President can only have 2 terms and from the Revolution that says the King will no longer rule America from England.
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    Apr 20, 2009 3:15 AM GMT
    jprichva, yes the Constitution says the President has 2 terms. It is the 22nd Amendment TO the Constitution, therefore it is part of the Constitution, therefore the Constitution says it. No matter good or bad, the Congress proposed it and the States Ratified it. Many States have followed along with their Governors having two terms. Why? Because it makes sense that no one should hold the reigns of power until they die, like Roosevelt.

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    Apr 20, 2009 3:34 AM GMT
    I have enjoyed the back and forth (for the most point.) I guess what I was hoping to get out of this thread was some brains storming on how we could have a more responsive and responsible congress. The most recent gallup poll numbers I found were from Feb 2009 with a 2 year high approval rating for congress at 31%. Quite the majority feel as I do that the system is broke. I am a positive thought person so I prefer to think about what I can do instead of what i cannot do. Good luck to us all!!
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    Apr 20, 2009 3:52 AM GMT
    pecfan saidjprichva, I am not telling you who can represent you. You get to choose from the 600,000 people in your district. The person with the most votes gets to represent you for a maximum of 12 years in the senate and the house.

    I get this idea from the Constitution that says the President can only have 2 terms and from the Revolution that says the King will no longer rule America from England.

    Think about the historical elected official (any time in history) that you most admired. What if that person represented your district or state? Everyone loved him/her, but that person couldn't continue to represent you because of term limits, so you were forced to choose someone else. That would suck.