Third Party & Independents Archives

Anti-incumbent fever or just anti-majority?

Do the latest poll numbers, such as this one from The Washington Post, show that voters are finally getting wise and getting informed, therefore ready to clean out incumbents and start over, or do the polls simply indicate a dissatisfaction with the party in power?

Seems to me it's a justifiable dissatisfaction with the party in power, the Republicans; and for many, many good reasons. You can fill in the blanks yourself. While I think that's a good place to start, if the mindset of the voter doesn't include the realization that much that we're dissatisfied with can be attributed to overall complacency and arrogance, it will only be a start to a necessary house cleaning without a finish.

People need to realize that the minority party plays many of the same games, is beholding to many of the same special interests as well as specific ones of their own, has not done their job of being a watchdog on corruption (in fact, has joined in) and thus have failed us nearly as much as the Republicans have.

So while you're frustrated, angry and ready to kick the "bad guys" out by voting against the Republicans, realize that you're only doing half the job, therefore really not accomplishing anything, if you don't include the Democrats in your anti-incumbent passion. You'll simply be rewarding them for not being as bad, when in fact they are just as bad, just not in a position to take as much advantage of their power as Republicans.

So while I personally would rather see the Democrats in power come November than the Republicans (and that would be a good thing), it falls far short of my ultimate goal of a complete reforming of the system by infusing Congress with new blood, especially independents. While the Democrats will take advantage of the current climate, not infusing true independents into the mix and thus giving Americans more real choices and new ideas fixes nothing in the long run.

Posted by Zeb Pike at October 10, 2006 11:43 AM
Comments
Comment #187404

Zeb, your second to last paragraph is the most important of them all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2006 12:35 PM
Comment #187430
Zeb wrote: So while you’re frustrated, angry and ready to kick the “bad guys” out by voting against the Republicans, realize that you’re only doing half the job, therefore really not accomplishing anything, if you don’t include the Democrats in your anti-incumbent passion. You’ll simply be rewarding them for not being as bad, when in fact they are just as bad, just not in a position to take as much advantage of their power as Republicans.

Exactly. I fear that very thing.

  • THE PROBLEM: Democrat voters are afraid to vote for any non-incumbent for fear that a Republican will win. Republican voters are afraid to vote for any non-incumbent for fear that a Democrat will win. Also, some disillusioned Republican voters will simply NOT vote at all, rather than vote for a Democrat. Therefore, Democrats will almost certainly acquire the majority (maybe in both houses).
  • THE RESULT: Congress still maintains a 80% to 90% RE-election rate, as usual.
  • THE CONSEQUENCES: However, grid-lock will ensue with a Republican executive branch, and a Democrat Congress. So, little (if anything) ever gets any better, and our most pressing problems will continue to grow in number and severity. Incumbents will still vastly out-number newcomers to Congress, and newcomers will still be unable to pass any badly needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms.

Incumbent politicians already know ALL about this. They love it. That is why the politicians love to fuel the distracting, petty partisan warfare, and some voters are all too happy to wallow in it.

The only thing that will ever convince voters to stop doing what they are doing is education. Otherwise, voters will continue to re-elect (empower) the very same incubment politicians that use and abuse the them (the voters), and politicians will keep fueling the petty partisan warfare and the fear that THEIR party can’t lose seats. Nevermind that those cu$hy, coveted seats that voters are are protecting from the OTHER party, are already occupied by do-nothing, corrupt, irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way incumbent politicians that are threatening the future and security of the nation.

It’s strange (and unfortunate) how many people, once they take sides (and I, unfortunately, used to be one of them until a few years ago), can rarely (if ever) look objectively at THEIR own party, and choosed to blame most (if not all) problems on the OTHER party.

It’s comical to watch the brainwashed squirm and twist themselves every which way to make their beliefs congruent with THEIR party’s behavior. And, when facts and data no longer work, turn to name calling, labeling, and fueling the petty partisan warfare. That’s always easier than facing their own delusions, or ever admitting a mistake. So, the petty partisan warfare is powerfully seducing and effective, and some people are quite fond of wallowing in it, rather than take the time, and do the real work needed to make sure THEIR party coincides with THEIR values.

So, who do we have to thank for all of this?
Congress, who WE keep re-electing, proving that it really is a government Of / By / For The People (i.e. For some more than others), and that WE don’t know what the hell WE are doing.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 10, 2006 2:32 PM
Comment #187434

I’m beginning to believe that the United States system of government is fatally flawed, and needs some fundamental changes.

It relies too heavily upon voters.
The voters need help.
I used to be against TERM-LIMITS, but now believe that is a good idea, because it appears that it is the ONLY way to get some turn-over in Congress.

Newcomers to Congress can never pass any reforms because they are always vastly out-numbered. Also, it’s very difficult to unseat an incumbent, because they have stacked the deck. Tenure corrupts. Also, because of Congress’ track-record, it deserves TERM-LIMITs. Congress has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they can manage anything responsibly. One can fill volumes with their failures. They are bumbling fools that spend more time trying to get re-elected, than tending to the business of the people.

Ofcourse, it’s a Catch-22.
How the hell do you ever get the Congress that opposes a good many badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms to ever pass such a law?

After all, look at their voting records, and see how most refuse to pass any form of campaign finance reform. Incumbent politicians will never pass any common-sense reforms that may even remotely reduce their power, or opportunities for self-gain, or the security of their cu$hy, coveted seats of power.

That’s why it’s up to voters.
All they really have to do is the one simple, non-partisan, common-sense, inexpensive, peaceful, responsible thing that voters were supposed to be doing all along, always. Stop repeat offenders. Stop re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way incumbent politicians.
Or, voters can keep re-electing incumbents, and learn the hard way (again).
That hard lesson may not be far away.
This illusion of a good economy is just that. An illusion. Anyone can look prosperous and wealthy by rampant borrowing, spending, and money-printing.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 10, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #187441

I tend to believe the current mood is anti-incumbent rather than anti-majority party. While there is a massive amount of discontent with the GOP leadership (and much of it not as much about Foley as Dems would have you believe), there is an almost equal realization that the Dems have no plan to govern if they attain the majority.

Finally, both parties are probably, rightly, viewed as being more concerned with either keeping or attaining power that they have forgotten the average Joe and Jane on the street.

What will happen in four weeks, I don’t know, but my guess is there will be more turnover than usual, but not enough to make a big difference.

Posted by: Matt Johnston at October 10, 2006 3:32 PM
Comment #187453

I disagree with David—this is the most important paragraph in Zeb’s essay:

So while I personally would rather see the Democrats in power come November than the Republicans (and that would be a good thing), it falls far short of my ultimate goal of a complete reforming of the system by infusing Congress with new blood, especially independents. While the Democrats will take advantage of the current climate, not infusing true independents into the mix and thus giving Americans more real choices and new ideas fixes nothing in the long run.

I think most people are aware (some perhaps dimly to be sure, but enough to be uncomfortable) of the duopoly of American politics. What they are starting to look around for is the “true independents…[which will give] Americans more real choices and new ideas…”, something beyond the duopoly’s stale and self-serving rhetoric.

It isn’t here yet—but it is being forged.


Posted by: Tim Crow at October 10, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #187486

This is only perpetuated even more through Gerrymandering. It’s sickening.

Posted by: bman at October 10, 2006 5:23 PM
Comment #187488

I was at the Museam club in flagstaff Arizona two years ago when seven members of the northern arizona political party stood around the pool table and agreed to lie about rick renzi being a resident, and lie about him being employed in Arizona. Martin Zanzucci the owner also said that JD was next door because he did not want to be with THe MONEY.

Posted by: robert beaty at October 10, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #187502

Tim Crow,
I certainly hope for the same.
However, that’s more likely to happen (if ever) in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014.
Why?
Because more motivation is needed.
That motivation is more pain and misery for large numbers of voters.
Unfortunately, this current illusion of a good economy (financed with M_A_S_S_I_V_E borrowing, debt, spending, trade deficits, and money-printing) will start to unravel by eventually.
Voters will then realize things have been getting worse.
Only when things are bad enough (too late perhaps), vote might vote out more incumbents.
It depends on how educated the voters become between now and then.
If voters continue to think it’s the OTHER party that is the problem, then voters will simply let each of the two main parties continue to take turns.
Never underestimate the power of petty-partisan-warfare and the voters’ fondness of wallowing in it.
So, hopefully, look for more turn-over in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014.
It will take time.
But, pain and misery is a good teacher, and it’s highly probable that Americans will have to learn the hard way (again). And, they are on the right path. Get ready for much more money-printing, because the limits on borrowing are increasing, and even if not, more debt is just as disastrous.
What would be disastrous is if the federal government defaults, and fails to keep up with its $1 billion (or more) due daily in interest payments alone.
The government can’t let that happen. The only way to avoid it is what lots of other governments have done.
It is not a solution.
It is a sign.
The government and Federal Reserve will print more money. A lot of it. This will have far reaching economic ramifications. Inflation will rise. More bubbles will result. Inflation is economically destabilizing. Massive layoffs could follow. It’s becomes a snowball effect. The problems amplify the problems.
It’s really a Catch-22.
The only way out of this mess would require discipline and leadership that just does not yet exist within our government, or the voters.
Only the voters can change it now, because it is laughable to expect incumbent politicians to ever bring about any reforms voluntarily.
The longer the voters way, the more pain and misery they will heap upon themselves. Unfortunately, that’s the way it will mostly likely unfold.

Some are looking at recent upward DOW spikes as great news. That same sort of market volatilty occurred just before the stock-market crash of 1929 too. That’s not to say we’re on the verge of a crash now, but don’t think it can’t happen again. For example:

  • September 3, 1929: The Dow reaches a record high of 381.17, just seven weeks before Black Friday began nearly 20 years of poverty and horror to America.

  • August 17, 1987: Another record high, 2700.57, two months before the October 19 crash that wiped out 23% of the Dow’s value and ensured a single term for Bush 41.

  • March 10, 2000: The NASDAQ hits a record 5132.52, beginning a long and devastating bloodletting that would only reach bottom in October 2002, when the technology index sank to 1,108.49 — a 78.4% decline in 18 months.

  • October 3, 2006: The DOW hits a new 5 year high.
Also, look at the big picture. The bursting bubble(s) in real-estate will take a year or more to play out. Foreclosures have been rising for almost two years. Houses are gonna be much cheaper by next year. Again, this type of economic instability is a result of economic mismanangement. Is the economy headed for a fall? Well, think about this. Recessions occur every 2 to 11 years for the last 46 years. The last recession was around 2001/2002. That was 6 years ago. Not very comforting, is it? Also, there are the inverted treasury yield curves. Two-year treasury notes yield less than six-month notes. That means interest rates will fall. Lower gasoline prices are welcome, but much of the damage has been done, and it won’t stop the coming disaster in the housing market. Lots of money will be lost. All the so-called net-wealth that the Rose-colored glasses group likes to tout is about it disappear before their eyes. There are experts out there in different areas of the economy, and almost all of them are predicting a “slow-down” in 2007. Why? Primarily, because they have done the math. However, few of them see the big picture, when all factors are combined, that it could potentially lead to an economic meltdown. Even if they did, few would say so, because it can’t do any good, and it might to some harm.

Watch foreclosures continue to climb, because a slowing economy as widely predicted in 2007 will probably come with layoffs. The U.S. economy has slowed quickly, more quickly than many predicted. Recession may be closer than some think, and it could have negative ripple effects around the world, helping the snowball effect along.

A mathematical model of the economy developed by a Federal Reserve economist (Jonathan Wright) estimates a 40% chance of a recession in 2007. That’s not very comforting at all to the Federal Reserve, but they helped create this monster. They fear higher inflation, and see limitations on growth. Several large companies are starting to report planned layoffs (10% at GM, 13% at Borg/Warner, 16% at Ford, 17% at Daimler/Chrysler, 10% at Hewlet Packard, 16,000 workers at Intel, recent layoffs at Sun, Microsoft, Borland, Oracle, Novell, Lenovo, SGI, etc.).

To weather the coming slow-down (or recession, or depression, or worse), save-up some emergency money. Own your home, even if it means downsizing. The importance of owning a place to live will become apparent later. Get out of debt, if at all possible. Diversify. Look at foreign investments too. Be prepared to get out of the market early (don’t be another one of those that rode it to the very bottom, like in 1999-to-2002).

Posted by: d.a.n at October 10, 2006 6:25 PM
Comment #187505

Robert Beaty, Report it.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 10, 2006 6:45 PM
Comment #187506

OK - everyone do this tomorrow morning (on the way to work or whenever)

Take a good long look at the people driving beside you. See the woman doing her hair and make up on the phone and drinking coffee while driving? How about the 300 lb. trucker picking his ear with a pocket knife? Maybe the convertible in front of you with his hair plugs blowing in the wind?

Now… can anyone honestly think we (as a country) are really “getting wise” to anything?

We live in a country where hair dryers have warning not to use them while in the shower - and Pop-Tarts come with directions. I think DC maybe far more of a true reflection of America than we care to think.

Posted by: tony at October 10, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #187514

Zeb:

You are assuming that the individual is more important than the party. In Congress, this is wrong. The majority party sets the tone, defines procedures, chooses the issues to discuss and has the biggest megaphone. The minority party has extremely little influence.

When you get rid of a Republican and replace him with a Democrat, you are reducing Republican influence. When you turn around and replace a Democrat with a Republican you nullify your accomplishment.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at October 10, 2006 7:31 PM
Comment #187515

I believe that its mainly anti-party at the moment, but that it’s the general state of affairs that people object to most. That means, if we Democrats don’t get on the ball, the voters could turn on us as easily as they’ve turned agains the GOP.

What people want are results. The people who show themselves best capable of those will find themselves in charge.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 10, 2006 7:37 PM
Comment #187523

Tony:

“Now… can anyone honestly think we (as a country) are really “getting wise” to anything?”

Point taken.

However, I think there are a number of assumptions and beliefs that Americans hold that are no longer applicable to our reality. Americans have (or used to have) a belief in the unchartered, the new, the unexplored. It was built into our physical reality—much of our early history dealt with exploring, discovering and exploiting; the mineral riches, the vast space, the natural wealth. This reality showed in the way we ran things, from business to government, even religion. Some of this was transferred to the space program of the sixties and seventies.

But now, reality is telling us it’s time to grow up—it demands conservation, living with less, compromise, cooperation with others, living within our means—but most of all, exploring ourselves and understanding and making peace with our collective inner demons. I believe what we are witnessing with the ascendence of the Right over the last twenty-five years is not only the last binge, the last blowout of imperial thinking of our nation, but the maturation of our species which demands a coming to terms with our limitations. We are witnessing the ransacking of the commons before the bell tolls on a greed and self-centeredness we can no longer afford or sustain.

The question is—will this neo-con, capitalist free-for-all end up being the nuclear end of us, in a fit of jingoistic, glandular and catastrophic immaturity? Or will it be global warming, and the slow agonizing destruction of arrible land, water and environmental resources?

Our assumptions are no longer valid—we have been in a limited-capacity, ‘space-ship earth’ reality for some time now, yet are still acting like teenagers on a Friday night spree.

As d.a.n. alluded to, there are a number of scenarios for ‘wising up’ the masses. We’ve already slept passed some pretty significant wake-up calls. Will we have the maturity, the strength of character, the humility, to drop our infatuations with more, better, faster, and live a more sane life predicated on human needs on a human scale?

I don’t know.

Posted by: Tim Crow at October 10, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #187527
Stephen Daugherty wrote: I believe that its mainly anti-party at the moment, but that it’s the general state of affairs that people object to most. That means, if we Democrats don’t get on the ball, the voters could turn on us as easily as they’ve turned agains the GOP. What people want are results. The people who show themselves best capable of those will find themselves in charge.

Yes, we need results, and soon.
I’m skeptical that Democrats will provide them.
After all, if you look at the past 60 years, Democrats don’t have a good track-record and have been in control much longer than the current “IN PARTY” (that has completely blown it in a relatively short period of time).

Parties are unlikely to solve our problems. The corruption in too wide-spread in Congress. They all look the other way. That one little thing speaks volumes.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 10, 2006 8:35 PM
Comment #187538

I’m skeptical, too. That’s why I wrote my latest entry. But my skepticism is tempered by the hope that my people are rational and observant enough to pick up on the need for change.

With an occasional kick in the pants by concerned cyber-pundits like myself, of course!
;-)

When it comes to human behavior, being too deterministic can end up creating self-fulfilled prophesies- in short, you lack the hope of doing something which might be possible, so you don’t make the effort to take that possible action, and the expected outcome happens because you failed to take the necessary action.

I don’t wish to just sit by and see the party whose ideals I admire just lay there as the opportunity comes by. I think partisanship can be a positive thing when it motivates people to compete to do things well, and to take pride in their work. Now, such positive partisanship has been neglected over the past few years because it guarantees no victories the way the other side can. But it has an advantage in the long term: positive partisanship encourages engagement, investment in the act of governing and the consequences of one’s decisions.

I believe our best option is to see corruption and incompetence as directions that the system can takel, but which nothing says the system must take. It’s important that individuals believe that things can be changed for the better, and should be changed as such. Though individuals cannot wield much power over their government, a mass of individuals with changed attitudes can wield great power.

Parties cannot solve our problems, but they can be means of solving our problems. The direction and organization of purpose, both formal and informal, can be as useful in some hands as it is harmful in others. Like many tools of the human persuasion trade, it can be used for purpose both bright and shining and dark and evil.

In the end, we are the most important part of any solution to our problems.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 10, 2006 9:59 PM
Comment #187547

All of you clamboring to get rid of incumbents, if you’re serious, should really try to revive the Citizen Legislature Act which would limit Senators to two terms and members of the House to three terms.

Everything else is just spitting into the wind because incumbency is an extremely powerful force under the current system. If, like d.a.n., you think that voters “need help (a little too anti-democratic of a notion for me, but hey), then enough with the bitching and moaning—why not really get down to business?

The Citizen Legislature Act was part of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America. Get behind this Republican idea!

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 10, 2006 10:37 PM
Comment #187555

While all this raiing on about the shortcomings of our two-party is all well and good, do any other parties really give us anything worthwhile? They are all either over-focused on one problem, like the Greens or Ross Perot, or are mired in the past, like the Libertarians or the Populists. I maintain that we have a far better chance of changing the parties from within than tossing out “third-party candidates” as little more than cannon fodder. Prime example: a dear friend of mine is backing the Green Candidate (whose name escapes me) for governor of Illinois solely on the merit that he intends to try to pull Illnois National Guard troops out of Iraq (whether or not he would have the authority to do so is more than I know). What good would it do to vote for him, other than to pull votes away from Blagojavich and give the advantage to Topinka?

This having been said, by far the best way to change the existing parties is to set term limits in order to get as much new blood into government as possible. In this, amazing as it seems, I have to agree with Pilsner. Whodathunkit? :-)

Posted by: leatherankh at October 11, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #187559

Term Limits fit the presidency because tradition set the limits long before FDR set tradition aside. It wasn’t much of a stretch.

We have to consider that fresh blood isn’t always good blood, especially if its the wrong type. Term Limits have done little to make folks in the White House sterling moral examples.

What you want is good leaders. I like turnover better than I like term limits. It’s an active choice rather than a passive regulation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 11, 2006 12:53 AM
Comment #187566

I think Stephen Daugherty hits the nail right on the head. Term limits effectively limit us, not congress. New blood means inexperienced blood and takes away the ability to get representation on key committees, such as Ways and Means. This inevitably benefits larger states, since they have a far better chance of being represented on a broad number of committees, at least in the House of Representatives. In the end you’ll only change the power structure and the patronage involved, not abolish or even diminish it. This is far different than limiting the president, which is just one person (or one party) and far easier to abuse if extending for longer periods (such as FDR, the first one to go over George Washington’s voluntary limit.)

BTW, term limits are a joke, as are state’s rights. Even those who make them a talking point, seldom are serious and once in office, almost all politicians abandon principles of small government. They are just political rhetoric to appeal to a certain mindset.

Posted by: Ken Gould at October 11, 2006 3:15 AM
Comment #187575

leatherankh, we have many, many dozens of political parties in the U.S. And, though it is not readily recognized, they serve an immeasurably valuable function to our society. They tap and direct discontented citizen’s hostilities into a peaceful political process.

If those third parties were banned from our system outright, we would have underground revolutionary groups rising in their place, which plague other, not so free political systems like N. Korea, China, and Cambodia. Kim Jung Il is just as concerned about how the video footage of the public executions is getting out of his country as he is about the U.S. and China’s disapproval of his bomb tests. Perhaps, even moreso.

Third parties provide voice to discontented people’s in an open democratic society. To the extent that 3rd party voices are not permitted to be heard, their resolve to find other means to assert their will increase.

A perfect example are the third party coalitions now developing and operating in various places around the country like Texas, Florida and N. Carolina. Individually, these 3rd party and independent groups have not been heard, so, a new strategy is afoot, cooperative associations of many third parties and independents to create super3rds, with numbers, assets, and cross party voting for each other’s candidates, as a means of megaphoning their discontent with the duopoly party dominated system.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 11, 2006 7:00 AM
Comment #187596

The problem with voters is they are always too complacent, and always wait until it is too late.

Take a look at the reasons posted at TenureCorrupts.com:

PROs: List of Arguments in Favor of TERM-LIMITs:

  • (1) Overwhelmingly, voters prefer term limits. (It’s their native commonsense!?)

  • (2) Term limits downgrades seniority, favors meritocracy.

  • (3) Increases competition, encourages new challengers.

  • (4) Builds a ‘citizen’ Congress, versus career politicians.

  • (5) Breaks ties to special interests.

  • (6) Improves tendency to vote on principle.

  • (7) Introduces fresh thinking, new ideas, eliminates ‘Old Bulls’.

  • (8) Reduces power of staff, bureaucracy, lobbies.

  • (9) It will create a natural reduction in wasteful federal spending.

  • (10) Encourages lower taxes, smaller government, greater voter participation in elections.

  • (11) There are more reasons in favor of term limits than reasons against.

  • (12) Gets re-election rates back to near 50%, versus the current 90%

CONs:List of Arguments Opposed to TERM-LIMITs:

  • (1) Terminates the good politicians along with the bad.

  • (2) Instead of term limits, a reform of Congress’ procedures would be easier.

  • (3) Reduces range of voter choice.

  • (4) Loss of knowledge and experience.

  • (5) Increases the power of staff, lobbies, and bureaucracy.

OTHER PROs/CONs for TERM-LIMITs (from comments above):

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    CON: We have to consider that fresh blood isn’t always good blood, especially if its the wrong type. Term Limits have done little to make folks in the White House sterling moral examples.

  • Ken Gould wrote:
    CON: Term limits effectively limit us, not congress.

  • d.a.n:
    PRO: What we are doing now ain’t workin’ ! If most incubments are irresponsible, turn-over has a better then 50% chance of improving things, because newcomers are always out-numbered by incumbents who like things just the way they have perverted them. There’s a reason “incumbent” has become a dirty word. Can anyone name 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 268 (of 535) in Congress that are responsible, and don’t look the other way? Also, as stated above, voters have a bad habit of always being complacent, apathetic, and always waiting until it is too late. Voters lack of interest, low voter turn-out, and lack of voter participation must be factored in also.

HHhhhmmmmmmm … seems like more PROs than CONs.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 11, 2006 9:28 AM
Comment #187601

It’s still a Catch-22.
How can TERM-LIMITs ever be passed, when 90% (or more) of Congress is always incumbents?
How can newcomers pass TERM-LIMITs or other numerous, badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms when they are ALWAYS vastly out-numbered and bullied by incumbents?
Voters are brainwashed to vote for incumbents (i.e. pull the party-lever; vote straight-ticket), because they are more afraid of losing seats for THEIR party, than the welfare of the nation. This results in a 90% re-election rate, and the two main parties contently take turns being the “IN PARTY” or the “OUT PARTY”, gettin’ theirs, votin’ themselves cu$hy perk$ and raises, votin’ through massive pork-barrel, graft, corporate welfare, massive waste, cutting funding to FEMA, voting for bridges to nowhere (thank you Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)), and all while our troops risk life and limb, and go without body armor and adequate healthcare.

So, first things first.
Like Zeb Pike wisely said …

So while you’re frustrated, angry and ready to kick the “bad guys” out by voting against the Republicans, realize that you’re only doing H_A_L_F the job, therefore really not accomplishing anything, if you don’t include the Democrats in your anti-incumbent passion. You’ll simply be rewarding them [Democrats] for not being as bad, when in fact they are just as bad, just not in a position to take as much advantage of their power as Republicans.

True … that’s merely a function of who is the current “IN PARTY” or “OUT PARTY”. If voters do a half-ass job, they will get a half-ass result. Remember that Democrats have been strangely silent (giving the Republicans the rope to hang themselves) or complicit (goin’ along to get along).

Posted by: d.a.n at October 11, 2006 10:07 AM
Comment #187604

d.a.n, quite right. In order to achieve term limits for Congress, you first have to remove enough incumbents, replacing them with challengers who will do the people’s bidding. But, once you have a Congress willing to do the people’s and the nation’s bidding, you no longer need term limits.

Ergo, term limits is not the needed action. The needed action is to vote out enough incumbents over enough elections, to force their replacements to mind the needs of the people’s and the nation’s future first, and all other priorities afterward.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 11, 2006 10:20 AM
Comment #187606


It seems to me that many of the third party advocates are overlooking a major problem. Many seem to think that replaceing republicans and democrats with third party candidates will correct many of the bad policies issued by our government and that term limits will help in the replacement of corrupt politicians.

But, the system really doesn’t care if a politician is a democrat, republican or third party. A politician that doesn’t play ball with the system isn’t going to be in Washington D.C. very long at all.

How long will it take the system to corrupt your third party candidate?

The corporations and the chamber of commerce own and control our government and until their system is broken up, it really won’t matter what politicans we send to Washington.

The effort put forth to replace reps and dems with third party candidates in an effort to regain control of our government is a noble cause. But, the main emphasis should be placed on a grassroots effort to destroy the system which has control of our government with its money and favors to those politicians willing to work for them rather than the people.

Posted by: jlw at October 11, 2006 10:28 AM
Comment #187611

Idealistic and naive perhaps, but no change has no change of being important change. I have to keep my optimism that slowly awareness will lead eventually to true change, at least enough change to improve things. And I think that change in the hearts and minds of Americans is there, just how much and how significant is yet defined.

BTW I am an independent and want to see more indies have a chance to get in. I’m not an advocate for a third party. I do think Americans are hungry for that but the system is not yet in place to make their candidacies viable. I didn’t talk much about reform in this post but it’s essential and I’ve talked about it much before.

Posted by: Zebster at October 11, 2006 11:26 AM
Comment #187617

From Lou Dobbs at CNN:

NEW YORK (CNN) — I don’t know about you, but I can’t take seriously anyone who takes either the Republican Party or Democratic Party seriously — in part because neither party takes you and me seriously; in part because both are bought and paid for by corporate America and special interests. And neither party gives a damn about the middle class.

Read the rest of the article:
http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/10/10/Dobbs.Oct11/index.html

Posted by: mem beth at October 11, 2006 12:22 PM
Comment #187621

David R. Remer,
Perhaps the threat of TERM-LIMITs may be a good thing? : )
It’s sort of a moot point, since an irresponsible Congress will never pass it voluntarily.
However, the repeat offenders are also the voters. They always lose interest until things have got really messed up (i.e. too late), and there is some truth to the saying “tenure corrupts”.

mem beth wrote: From Lou Dobbs at CNN: NEW YORK (CNN) — I don’t know about you, but I can’t take seriously anyone who takes either the Republican Party or Democratic Party seriously — in part because neither party takes you and me seriously; in part because both are bought and paid for by corporate America and special interests. And neither party gives a damn about the middle class.
Yes, Lou Dobbs was on CNN this morning talking about some of that. Good article. Lou Dobb is also going to have a special next Wednesday on 18-OCT-2006 (7PM EST or CST?) about the real war: “war on the shrinking middle-income-class”.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at October 11, 2006 12:54 PM
    Comment #187665
    jlw wrote: It seems to me that many of the third party advocates are overlooking a major problem. Many seem to think that replaceing republicans and democrats with third party candidates will correct many of the bad policies issued by our government and that term limits will help in the replacement of corrupt politicians. But, the system really doesn’t care if a politician is a democrat, republican or third party. A politician that doesn’t play ball with the system isn’t going to be in Washington D.C. very long at all. How long will it take the system to corrupt your third party candidate? The corporations and the chamber of commerce own and control our government and until their system is broken up, it really won’t matter what politicans we send to Washington.
    jlw, Good point about government being essentially FOR SALE. All the more reason to make the first step be removing incumbents, because that ALSO sends the message to Congress to start passing some badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms, and fast, before the next election, or have a short career.
    jlw wrote: The effort put forth to replace reps and dems with third party candidates in an effort to regain control of our government is a noble cause. But, the main emphasis should be placed on a grassroots effort to destroy the system which has control of our government with its money and favors to those politicians willing to work for them rather than the people.
    jlw, You are correct! The emphasis should be to do exactly what you are saying. We must disrupt the current, corrupt, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way, government FOR SALE system. Sure, another party is noble, but highly unlikely. However, there is a good chance that all third parties and independents combined (if they could ever see the obvious advantages for themselves) could have a significant impact … enough to change the political landscape significantly; enough to start putting some fear into corrupt politicians and give them some incentives to clean up their act.

    Many have put a great deal of thought, time, study, and research into this, and in my opinion, the best approach with the mostly likelihood of success, is to place the emphasis on voter education, and make it clear to voters that they must remember to do the one simple, common-sense, no-brainer, non-partisan, inexpensive, peaceful, responsible thing that the voters were supposed to be doing all along, always:

    • Stop Repeat Offenders.

    • Don’t Re-Elect Irresponsible, Bought-and-Paid-for, look-the-other-way, Incumbent Politicians !

    Only then, when voters have finally demanded (peacefully) reforms, and Congress has complied, will we start moving forward again. The longer voters fail to do their share, the more threatened our future and security will become. It’s already in a precarious state. This current illusion of a “good”, “goldy-locks”, or “very good” economy is just that; an illusion funded by massive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing. That is a house-of-cards with a real potential for collapse. It’s guaranteed if we stay on the current path. It may already be too late to avoid the eventual consequences.

    If that is not possible, then we might as well forget it.
    If that is not possible, then this system of government is a failure.
    If that is not possible, then we are in trouble.

    But, since no one knows for certain, and since no one has offerred a better solution, the best thing to do is to try to make this system work correctly.
    A huge problem is government is FOR SALE.
    Money in politics makes it rotten to the core.
    Already, 83% of all ($2.4 billion in 2004) federal campaign donations ($200 or more) come for only a mere 0.15% of eligible voters. The other 17% ($400 million of that $2.4 billion) comes from a vastly larger number of U.S. voters, but pales in comparison to the vastly larger donations from a very tiny 0.15% (300,000) of the total 200 million eligible voters.

    The Supreme Court has already ruled that limits are constitutional.
    Much more strict limits are needed.
    Otherwise, government will grow increasingly elitist, corrupt, and FOR SALE.
    The war in the middle-income-class will continue.
    The 1% of U.S. population with 40% (see graph) (and growing) of all wealth will continue to grow to 41%, 42%, and larger. Already, it is worse now than it has been since the Great Depression of 1929.

    But, first things first.
    Vote out ALL irresponsible incumbent politicians.
    Keep the good ones (if there are any; there aren’t in my state; none are getting my vote).
    If possible, help educate others.
    Eduacation is important.
    It’s not complicated.
    It’s up to voters.
    It’s most voters that will suffer most for their own negligence, complacency, apathy, or resigning to futility.
    Expect more of the same (or worse) if you keep re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way incumbent politicians.
    Expect more of the same (or worse) if you keep being seduced into the petty partisand warfare, and keep misplacing your loyalty in a party that is (on the whole) just as irresponsible as the irresponsible politicians it consists of.
    Nothing fancy.
    No vast schemes or conspiracy theories.
    No partisan spin or petty partisan warfare.
    Just the one simple thing voters were supposed to be doing all along, always.

    Voters will do that eventually (provided they don’t lose their right to vote, or obtain an accurate vote-count).

    Why?
    Because their motivation will grow and grow, as their own pain and misery grows. It’s a good teacher.
    The objective is to learn to do it earlier, rather than later, because the later it is, the worse it is, and the voters (the largest group) have only themselves to thank for it, and will get exactly what they deserve.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 11, 2006 3:20 PM
    Comment #187687

    mem beth, I have been a Lou Dobbs devotee for over a year now. Very smart man, Lou Dobbs. He doesn’t call them all right, but, most, that’s for sure.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 11, 2006 4:14 PM
    Comment #187726

    Still fighting the good fight eh d.a.n?

    Your plan’s greatest flaw has always been that it’s predicated upon massive cooperation between peoples of different ideologies. Human nature being what it is, your solution is not feasible in any manner.

    I agree that the “government is for sale,” and that this is a problem, but this is not a workable solution.

    By the way, I still stand by my claim that if this plan of yours ever gains momentum I will do everything I can to aid it.

    Posted by: Zeek at October 11, 2006 10:39 PM
    Comment #187737

    Hey Zeek,

    Haven’t seen ya around in a while.

    Yes, we’re still at it.
    Heck, I’m skeptical myself at times.
    But, here is what keeps me going.
    You nor I know for certain whether voters can be convinced to stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians.
    Therefore, neither of us or anyone else knows.
    Stranger things have happened.
    Such is the American Revolution.
    Such as voting rights and civil rights.

    So, why not try?
    Doing nothing will accomplish nothing, but doing something might? No one knows.
    So, what is the logical choice? BTW, I’m not alone. You may be surprised by the growing number of people that see it the same way. We are getting tens of thousands of hits, and it’s growing.

    My goal is education only, with the goal of convincing people to only do the one simple, commons-sense, non-partisan, responsible thing that voters were supposed to be doing all along, always. That message is the purest, most honest, most logical recommendation out there. It encourages people to think for themselves. All the others want to think for the them. Just pull the party-lever, vote straight ticket.

    At any rate, if people don’t learn now, they will learn later, the old fasioned way; the hard way. That is, provided we don’t screw around and lose our right to vote or the right to an accurate vote-count, people will eventually become unhappy enough to do later, what I’m recommending they do sooner, rather than later.
    This has already happened to varying degrees.
    When people get upset enough, they vote out large numbers, like in 1958 and 1980 (see graph).
    It will happen eventually, regardless, because there that is the built-in motivation for voters. That’s what the founding fathers intended. That obvious motivation is pain and misery, and it is a good teacher. Two steps forward, and 1.999 steps backward.

    Besides, who has a better idea?
    What we have now ain’t workin’ is it?

    P.S. Wait until 2008. That’s when you will see the most voters feeling fed-up with their irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way incubment politicians, because the next two years will be grid-lock with a slightly Democrat Congress and a Republican Executive Branch. By 2008, voters will be even more fed-up with both do-nothing parties, and it will be more apparent to voters that both main parties are just takin’ turns enjoying their cu$hy, coveted seats and a 90% re-election rate. So, look for anti-incumbency to grow for the next several years, because little (if anything) will get better between now and 2008.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 12, 2006 12:40 AM
    Comment #187753

    d.a.n.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it once more:

    If you don’t fix the gerrymandering issue, then nothing else matters. You will need too great a radical shift in voter choices to overcome the head start that gerrymandering of districts gives to incumbents.

    I like your idea of getting incumbents out. I just honestly think that calling on voters to change the balance is the wrong approach, without attacking gerrymandering first. Unless the gerrymandering is fixed so that districts aren’t set up to be Dem or Rep, the only thing that will change will be the percentage that incumbents win by. They will still win, but not by as much.

    Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 12, 2006 8:52 AM
    Comment #187759

    d.a.n. Your comments should be put together as a post (perhaps you have before). It’s great to see so many with similar and more and better ideas.

    And if the voters don’t smarten up enough to change it, then we’ll have to wait for evolution to create a better voter.

    Posted by: Zebster at October 12, 2006 9:26 AM
    Comment #187782
    joebagodonuts wrote: d.a.n. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it once more:
    Please, keep saying it too! It is an important issue. It’s on my web-pages (here, and here)
    joebagodonuts wrote: If you don’t fix the gerrymandering issue, then nothing else matters. You will need too great a radical shift in voter choices to overcome the head start that gerrymandering of districts gives to incumbents.
    joebagodonuts, Respectfully, there are a LOT of us here with our pet issue(s):
    • For some, it is TERM-LIMITs.
    • For some, it is Campaign Finance Reform.
    • For some, it is Social Security and/or Medicare.
    • For some, it is Healthcare.
    • For some, it is the War in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.
    • For some, it is the National Debt.
    • For some, it is the Economy (outsourcing, falling incomes, trade deficits, etc.)
    • For some, it is the Federal Reserve (and excessive money printing).
    • For some, it is the Eminent Domain Abuse.
    • For some, it is the Illegal Immigration.
    • For some, it is the Crime.
    • For some, it is the Public Education.
    • For some, it is the Taxes.
    • For some, it is Election Reform, Voter Fraud.
    • For some, like yourself, it is Gerrymandering.

    And for some (including me), the MOST important issue is solving the root problem for ALL of those symptoms above, and the root cause is:

    • Irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way incumbent politicians

    • and voters that keep RE-electing them.

    That is, WE are all culpable, and Education is what is needed to solve the problem, because merely chipping away at the edges of all those symptoms above is futile without first addressing the root cause of all those symptoms. It’s like a ballon that you squeeze on one end, and the other end grows, so you squeeze the other end, and the middle grows, etc., etc., etc.

    joebagodonuts wrote: I like your idea of getting incumbents out. I just honestly think that calling on voters to change the balance is the wrong approach, without attacking gerrymandering first.
    joebagodonuts, It’s the same old Catch-22. Not just with Gerrymandering, but with all those symptoms above. Why? Because you expect the irresponsible incumbent politicians to resolve it (i.e. pass reforms), and those irresponsible incumbents (who always out-number newcomers to Congress), will NEVER pass badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms voluntarily. The ONLY way to peacefully force government to be responsible is for voters to be responsible too, and help newcomers to Congress pass some of those badly-needed reforms. That will require education. The two main parties are not the solution (as evidenced by our current situation), becuse parties are simply the sum of their parts, which are currently too many irresponsible incumbent politicians in both parties. Independents might have a chance, if they learn to work together to give voters more choices, which is a no-brainer when anti-incumbent sentiment is strong. Still, Education is what is needed most. Why? Because most people will stop shooting themselves in the foot when they finally understand that pulling the trigger on the gun is what is causing it. Pain and misery is a good teacher, and voters are currently on the right path to make sure their motivation is on the way.
    joebagodonuts wrote: Unless the gerrymandering is fixed so that districts aren’t set up to be Dem or Rep, the only thing that will change will be the percentage that incumbents win by. They will still win, but not by as much.
    Agreed, but we’ve got to get the horse ahead of the cart first. First things first. Everything else is futile unless voters make it happen. And if that is not possible, then we might as well forget everything. It requires voter education. Not yet another brain-washing party to fuel more partisan warfare. Only the one pure and simple, common-sense, responsible thing voters were supposed to be doing all along, always. And if voters never do it, then we will have to (as Zebster states above) wait for evolution (or something) to create a better voter. I personally think voters will figure it out eventually, because history has shown us some progress (2 steps forward, 1.999 steps backward), and voters have a built-in motivation called pain and misery. They have to revisit that lesson repeatedly, but they will mostly likely figure it out eventually (provided they don’t screw around, take too many steps backward, and lose their right to vote or, the right to an accurate vote-count).

    Think about it.
    You have to take the human factor into account.
    Voters will only see the logic in something if they are shown the logic.
    That requires Education.
    No society, organization, or government can be successful without sufficient Conscience, Education, Transparency, and Accountability (i.e. Responsibility).

    • Education = an understanding of the importance of: Education, Transparency, Accountability, Power, Responsibility, Corruption, and the fundamental human desire to seek security and prosperity with the least effort and pain, and that some will resort to dishonest, unethical, or illegal methods to obtain it;
    • Transparency = visibility and simplification of cleverly over-complicated processes to reveal and identify abusers, create outrage, reduce opportunities for abuse, and discourage abuse and dishonesty;
    • Accountability = consequences needed to encourage law enforcement, encourage ethical behavior, and discourage abuse and dishonesty;
    • Power = force required to enforce the laws, discontinue abuse, ensure consequences, punish abusers, and discourage abuse and dishonesty; but unchecked Power without sufficient Education, Transparency, and Accountability breeds Corruption.
    _______________________________________
    • Responsibility = Power + Conscience + Education + Transparency + Accountability
    • Corruption = Power - Conscience - Education - Transparency - Accountability
    joebagodonuts wrote: If you don’t fix the gerrymandering issue, then nothing else matters.
    Many have said the same thing about the National Debt, voting fraud, the fiat monetary money system, public education, Social Security, etc.

    The fact is, all of those symptoms are the result of a root problem that must first be addressed, or nothing else matters.

    That root problem can ONLY be resolved by Education.

    The best way to do that is to show voters the proof:

    • Show the voters the proof that petty partisan warfare is distracting from real issues.

    • Show the voters the proof that most (if not all) incumbent politicians are irresponsible and unaccountable.

    • Show the voters the facts about THEIR incumbents. Many haven’t the foggiest.

    • Show the voters how pulling the party lever (i.e. straight ticket) is empowering irresponsible incumbents.

    • Show the voters how incumbents (of both parties) are increasingly corrupt.

    • Show the voters how the nation’s problems are growing in number and severity.

    • Show the voters the holes in the Rosy spin and cherry-picked data that always comes from the “IN PARTY”.

    • Show the voters the obstructionism that always comes for the “OUT PARTY”.

    • Show the voters how they are enabling that.

    • Show the voters how enabling that is hurting them, their pocket book, and threatening the future and security of the nation.

    • Show the voters how neither party is addressing solving those probelms.

    • Show the voters how both parties take turns enjoying their cu$hy, coveted seats and a 90% re-eleciton rate.

    • Show the voters history and what the probable outcome of their negligence will be for them and their children.

    Show the votes, and they will understand.
    But it takes people willing to help Educate others with the facts.
    It takes people willing to battle the partisan warfare.
    It takes people that care.
    Don’t worry. That time will come when enough people care. It is a cycle. Their own negligence will eventually create their own motivation. Pain and misery is a good teacher. The goal is progress through education. Sooner is better than later. Later means more pain and misery. Unless you are one of the very few with vast wealth and power, you will also suffer that pain and misery. The way things are going now, with such a disturbing fiscal picture, and the growing list of symptoms above, an economic meltdown is not far fetched. Our hard lesson (our motivation for change) may not be far away.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 12, 2006 12:23 PM
    Comment #187811

    “Are you laboring under the impression that I read these memoranda of yours? I can’t even lift them. “


    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Posted by: Tim Crow at October 12, 2006 2:48 PM
    Comment #187820

    Zebster, Thanks!
    Yes, it’s comforting to see more and more people, like yourself, that think for yourself. I’m a late bloomer, myself. The last few years have been eye-opening. I see from your age that you figured this all out long before me. Good for you. Hopefully, that number will grow. Times like now is actually what helps make people think (some anyway).

    Zebster wrote: And if the voters don’t smarten up enough to change it, then we’ll have to wait for evolution to create a better voter.
    Yep. And consequences can do that. Pain and misery is a good teacher. Crappin’ in your own nest is not too smart, but that’s exactly what too many Americans are doing, and it is that larger group of Americans that have power in numbers, but lack the intelligence to use it wisely. Voters waste their power by empowering the very same irresponsible incumbent politicians that use and abuse the voters. Voters truly only have themselves to thank for it, because they have the VERY mechanism right under their very own noses to make things better for themselves, but prefer instead to wallow in the petty partisan warfare, blind loyalty to those that use the voters, and allow themselves to be bribed with the voters’ own money. Until voters catch on, they will continue to be used and abused, and the voters’ own quality of life will continue to decline. How far will things decline? Hard to say. It could last decades longer, or an economic melt-down could happen soon, which could accelarate things. Unfortunately, things seldom can get better until they get much worse. The only time humans take action in advance to avoid specific consequences is when they thoroughly understand the cause, history, and methods to avoid those consequences.

    For example, I think most Americans have done pretty well to understand the 1st Amendment, and avoid making the terrible mistake of creating another theocracy. Now, Americans need to learn another very important lesson. Government should NOT be FOR SALE, because politicians no longer care about the nation; they only care about their own self-gain, securing their power, and making their cu$hy, coveted seats more secure. Most Americans understand this, but obviously don’t have the foggiest idea how to resolve it. Little do they know, the mechanism is right there under their very own noses. Just stop re-electing bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians.

    Unfortunately, we have probably already waited far too long to avoid a hard-landing (economically). Time is critical. The longer it goes on, the worse it will get. The only solution is Eduation. Most Americans have figured out that most incumbent politicians are irresponsible, but they are still in denial about THEIR incumbents and party. They still think it’s the OTHER party or the OTHER guy’s incumbents. Not THEIR own. The fact is, it is most (if not all). For over a year, I have challenged people to name 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 268 (of 535) incumbents in Congress that are responsible, accountable, don’t vote on pork-barrel and waste, don’t pander, or look the other way. As of yet, no one has provided more than one or two names, and when they do provide a name or two, guess who they are? THEIR incumbents. Hello ! ? ! ?

  • Posted by: d.a.n at October 12, 2006 3:18 PM
    Comment #187833

    True, anti-incumbency is increasing, but that has typically been among party lines. Namely Democrats and centrists being resentful towards Republicans. This is by no means a move towards bipartisan cooperation.

    I do think trying is better than doing nothing, but who says we cannot work with the status quo?

    I don’t know. You claim stranger things have happened, but even during the American Revolution and the civil rights movement there was not widespread agreement. Considering how extreme the motivating factors for both those situations was it almost seems inevitable that the “hard way” as you put it is the bare minimum for your plan to work.

    We’re in for a lot of “pain and misery” until then.

    Posted by: Zeek at October 12, 2006 4:33 PM
    Comment #187870

    Zeek,

    Heck no, I don’t ever expect bipartisan cooperation. Maybe some among third parties and independents that could clearly benefit from multipartisan cooperation.

    True, there was disagreement during the Revolution and the civil rights movements, but the end result is the main point.

    The status quo is no good.
    It will most certainly lead to more decline.
    Even the status quo can’t last forever.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting my hopes up. Not at all. It’s mostly likely voters will have to learn the hard way (again). It’s just that trying is better than nothing, and only Education can lead to action.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 12, 2006 8:56 PM
    Comment #187876

    d.a.n.

    We seem to have the same goal in mind, but different ideas of how to achieve it. I recognize the difficulty of getting our current politicians to institute either gerrymandering reform or term limits. It might be nigh impossible. But….I think its better than trying to “cat-herd” the enormous number of voters into working in unison to oust incumbents. You’ll need to have Democrats voting for Republicans, (or for Democrats who face a greater chance of losing to a Republican), and vice versa. I don’t see enough trust on either side to have that work.

    I plan on voting anti-incumbent this year (you and David Remer can now sing out with massive huzzahs and hallelujahs), but I’m telling you it won’t accomplish a thing. Jim Walsh will win re-election easily, Hillary Clinton will win re-election easily and nothing will change, except for my vote.

    I know that if enough people follow suit, the strategy will work. I don’t see enough people following suit, ergo the strategy will ultimately fail, people will see it fail, and be less inclined to do it in the next election. I don’t see it gaining momentum, but rather dying a quiet death.

    If we can perhaps use the courts or some method of instituting gerrymandering reform or term limits, I think we have a better shot at solving the problem. It may just be the difference between a hopeless plan and a mostly hopeless plan. It’s not even totally clear whose plan is the more hopeless one—that just depends on opinion. Both methods are longshots, but I applaud your efforts.

    Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 12, 2006 9:40 PM
    Comment #187877
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting my hopes up. Not at all. It’s mostly likely voters will have to learn the hard way (again)

    You sound a bit less optimistic and energetic than you did a year or so back. I’m worried about you, d.a.n, your resolve isn’t weakening is it?

    Posted by: Zeek at October 12, 2006 9:59 PM
    Comment #187899

    joebagodonuts,

    I applaud your efforts too, and I will also keep harping on Gerrymandering too (among the many symptoms). It’s on my web-pages.

    Zeek,
    See joebagodonuts comment above. That sums it up. Lots of us are trying to find a solution. I’ve given it much thought. It’s good to work on those problems too (e.g. Gerrymandering, voter fraud, National Debt, etc.), but I still believe Education to encourage voters to stop re-electing irresponsible incumbents is the best approach (while also trying to address the other symptoms too). Why? Because that addresses the root problem.

    It’s all a Catch-22.
    Whether it’s encouraging voters to do what they should have been doing all along, or addressing Gerrymandering, or Debt, or Voter Fraud, or Campaign Finance Reform, or Tax Reform, it all requires Education.

    It does not require everyone to be educated. Just enough to make a difference. A few million people can have a far reaching effect. A few million voters could change the political landscape significantly. Remember that, because it is important. Most elections are won by a small margin. If only a few percent of all eligible voters understand that, then it can work. Do the math. Only 121 million of 200 million eligible voters actually vote. If 3 or 4 million will stop re-electing irresponsible incumbents, it could change the outcome of many elections. Don’t look at it so black and white. Success does non require most voters to stop re-electing irresponsible incumbents. Not even one tenth of all voters. All that is required is a small percentage. Ofcourse, the more the better. But, all that is needed is just enough to start making incumbents take notice and start being more responsible.

    Think about the math. The goal is not as insurmountable as one might think. If only 4% (5 million) of all (121 million) eligible voters stop re-electing irresponsible incumbents, it could result in a drop from 90% to 80% incumbency retention in Congress, and politicians WILL take notice. That is not herding cats. It’s only calling upon a small percentage of the population that might gladly do so, if only they knew it were possible, and better than re-electing irresponsible incumbents politicians. There is also power in small numbers.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 12, 2006 11:58 PM
    Comment #187902

    No fan of what goes on in government, I sympathize totally with what lies behind this anti-incumbent stuff, but I can’t help but feel that there’s something fundamentally unsound with this knee-jerk anti-incumbent mentality.

    If 3 or 4 million will stop re-electing irresponsible incumbents, it could change the outcome of many elections.

    Yep, no doubt. But would THAT change? Who are these people running against the incumbents? In almost every case, they are incumbents currently in other offices.

    Those running against incumbent Senators are current or former House members or state governors (or visa versa), hence they are already part of the very system and culture you want to change. The same holds true for other offices as well.

    There is a political class in this country who maintains their power, and voting for or against incumbents means at best that you’re trying to influence how a person already part of the system gets a job transfer.

    If you want to change the CULTURE of government, that means changing the faces. You have to bring in new people entirely, not just change the deck chairs around on the Titanic.

    And that means one thing, and as far as I can see, one thing only: term limits.

    Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 13, 2006 12:54 AM
    Comment #187924

    Mr. Remer, trust me, if a viable 3rd party candidate came up, I would totally give him/her a shot. I have nothing against 3rds. I just have not yet found one that I think would be worth voting for.

    Posted by: leatherankh at October 13, 2006 7:58 AM
    Comment #187929

    Neo-Con Pilsner, leatherankh, Zeek,

    Yes, new faces are important.
    That’s why 3rd parties and independents should interested in the anti-incumbent sentiment.
    By the way, for me, it’s only irresponsible incumbents that need to go. However, that would be most (if not all). For over a year, no one can name more and a few responsible incumbents, and they are almost always THEIR incumbents.

    More candidates could develop with more Education. That education will come in one and/or two forms. The smart way, or the hard way.

    Don’t worry. Anti-incumbent will grow between now and 2008, because grid-lock from a slightly Democrat Congress and a Republican executive branch will only let things get worse. The decline of the U.S. is what helps create more anti-incumbents. It’s a somewhat self-correcting (even if it is far too slow/late; 2 steps forward, 1.999 steps backward). The danger is tyranny grows too strong to allow the voters to bring about change, which could lead to less peaceful solutions. That is what history shows us.

    Recommending people stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians is not a knee-jerk reaction, herding cats, rearranging the chairs on the Titanic, or any of those other flippantly offered things.

    Not re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians is the only thing that recommends what voters were supposed to be doing all along, always.

    What’s wrong with that?
    Who has a better idea?
    I really haven’t heard a better idea yet.
    RE-electing irresponsible incumbents because no one has a better idea makes no sense either.

    What is most illogical is this:

    • There are no good alternatives. So, until there’s something better let’s keep re-electing irresponsible incumbents? ! ?

    • We need Term-Limits. So, until then, let’s keep re-electing irresponsible incumbents? ! ?

    • We need to end Gerrymandering. Yes, but until then, let’s keep re-electing irresponsible incumbents? ! ?

    • The other candidates have already run in other offices. There are no real non-incumbents. So, until we have more choices, let’s keep re-electing irresponsible incumbents? ! ?

    • We need a viable third party. But, until then, let’s keep re-electing irresponsible incumbents? ! ?

    Respectfully folks, I’ve heard all these arguments many times, considered them all carefully at length, and do not see them as bad ideas (possible coinciding efforts), but still see ideas that have more chances of success than merely trying to Educate voters to do the one simple, common-sense, peaceful, justifiable, and responsible thing that voters were supposed to be doing all along, always. Just simply stop re-electing irresponsible incumbents, and politicians WILL get the message, eventually, in a few elections. If not, continue to stop re-electing them. That’s the way it is supposed to work. That is the way it works, eventually, provided tyranny doesn’t remove the right to vote, or the right to an accurate vote-count, or revolution happens first, or worse.

    I know it’s a long shot, but the other things being suggesteg (which should NOT be discouraged; e.g. a third party, congress passing term-limits, campaign finance reform, etc.) are even longer shots.

    The idea of simply not re-electing irresponsible incumbents is what will happen eventually, anyway, when voters get upset enough. The goal is to help that happen sooner than later, and only Education can lead to it. Actually, regardless of the idea, education is required.

    Part of that education is to keep showing voters how irresponsible incumbents are, and most (if not all) incumbent politicians are making it increasingly easier to prove, as they grow increasingly irresponsible, FOR-SALE, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way, and corrupt.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 13, 2006 9:47 AM
    Comment #187931

    D.a.n, given the President’s desperate attempts to defend his policies this week in his press conference, I think you need to leave the door open for the possibility that if Dem’s take one or both houses, the President makes earnest efforts to find common ground with Dem’s on some issues in order to shore up failing public opinion of the GOP for 2008.

    Mind you, this would not likely be Bush’s original strategy, but, Rove’s. But, Bush would be well advised to follow such advice.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 13, 2006 10:03 AM
    Comment #187940

    The major problem with our government is the disinterest of the American people. So, how can this wall of disinterest be broken down?

    My answer is the interactive game show called ” Know Your Government” in which every voter can compete with one another to gain a spot on the show. Contestants on the show will compete for prizes such w’s/d’s, tv’s, ipods, computers, cars, cash, etc. by answering questions about the government, the laws they pass and the way each politician voted. In addition, there will be the nightly 10,000 drawing which will be won by some lucky voter tuned in. There could also be the weekly 100,000 drawing and the monthly 1,000,000 grand prize. A great incentive to encourage voter registration and participation.

    If there are any producers interested, give me a ring, i’m still waiting on the American Dream.

    Posted by: jlw at October 13, 2006 11:10 AM
    Comment #187941

    David,
    To answer your question, IMHO the answer is both, the average voter is sick of the majority party and the minority party and incumbants in general. Charged with the task of representing the people, this Congress has performed dismally and this has not gone un-noticed by the voters.

    mem beth,
    Lou Dobbs show is great, I used to watch it regularly until the past year when they changed the time it aired to 3:oo pm Pacific, and I couldn’t watch it.

    d.a.n,
    IMHO you should add to your list 1 more item, that being the yearly voting on members of Congress. just like we do every 2 years now shorten it to 1 year. A constant election cycle would serve to remind those in power that they have a responsibility that goes along with the reward. I beleive this is effective just based upon the work of the Congress in the last few months when compared to the last few years.

    Posted by: j2t2 at October 13, 2006 11:22 AM
    Comment #187963

    David R. Remer,

    Perhaps. If Democrats try to punish Bush, it may drive him into more denial (see below; nothing you don’t already know with a background in psychology), and uncooperativeness. However, if Democrats aren’t too hard on Bush, then perhaps Bush will bargain (see Bargaining below). However, it will probably be a combination, and I have very little doubt that Democrats will also abuse their turn at being the “IN PARTY”, and Republicans will take their turn as the “OUT PARTY” to become the obstructionists, and neither are likely to pass any significant reforms.

    Bush shows all the symptoms of denial:

    • Simple denial of facts (such as the possibility of 600,000 or more deaths in Iraq). Refusal to believe there were no WMD. Even when none were found, Bush said there was.

    • Minimizing of the facts. Well, we’ve seen lots of that, such as Bush reporting and maintining no more than 30,000 deaths in Iraq, and downplaying the civil war, etc.

    • Rationalizing, which we’ve seen lots of too, such as “We’re better off without Saddam” (regardless of the cost), “Saddam was a threat” (despite the fact that Iraq had no WMD), “it’s hard work” (despite the contradiction with the minimalizing), “mistakes are made in all wars”, “if we could have ever imagined”, etc.

    • Intellectualizing or Generalizing, such as claiming it is a “crusade”, or the “front on the war on terror”, or “it is making us safer”, etc.

    • Blaming, such as accusing Democrats as being “cut-and-run obstructionists”, “soft on terror”, “weak on terror”, etc. (despite the fact that many Democrats supported Bush).

    • Diversion, such as “I’ve already been asked that question 5 times”, “That’s a nice suit”, “We need an amendment against Gay marraige”, etc.

    • Bargaining, such as demanding concessions from Democrats, pass this spending bill so we can complete the job in Iraq, or other back-room deals, etc.

    • Passivity, such as simply ignoring the problem, saying “it’s beyond our control”, etc.

    • Hostility, such as “I’ve already been asked that question 5 times”, “I never said Saddam was behind 9/11” (despite the many attempts to imply a connection), “they are the party of cut-and-run obstructionists” (and other similar hostile, and unjustified attacks), implying those that oppose the war in Iraq are pacifists or unpatriotic, or cowards, despite the fact that those same people supported the war against terrorists in Afghanistan and simply don’t see the logic of the diversion in Iraq, etc., etc., etc.

    jlw wrote: My answer is the interactive game show called ” Know Your Government” in which every voter can compete with one another to gain a spot on the show.
    jlw, That’s a good idea. It has to be fun and interesting, or no one will watch it. It’s better than a lottery. And think of all the useless trivia on the existing game shows. It would be great if some producer/media company would do that. Heck, you can make anything interesting, if you do it correctly. Look at the “Wheel of Fortune”, “Let’s Make a Deal”, “$10,000 Pyramid”, “The Price is Right”, “Family Fued”, “Weakest Link”, “$64,000 Question”, “Hollywood Squares”, “Password”, “What’s My Line”, “To Tell the Truth”, etc.
    j2t2 wrote: d.a.n, IMHO you should add to your list 1 more item, that being a yearly voting on members of Congress. Just like we do every 2 years [now]; shorten it to 1 year. A constant election cycle would serve to remind those in power that they have a responsibility that goes along with the reward. I beleive this is effective just based upon the work of the Congress in the last few months when compared to the last few years.
    Perhaps it would be good to change the Senators’ term from 6 years to 2 years (like the Representatives of the House)?


    j2t2 wrote:
    I beleive this [annual voting] is effective just based upon the work of the Congress in the last few months when compared to the last few years.

    Hmmmmmm … good point about the last minute rush in Congress prior to an election. I’m still not sure about an annual election cycle, or the amount of work Congress actually accomplished in the last session.

    Still, getting any BILLs passed to change term-lengths, term-limits, eliminate Gerrymandering, election reform, and a good many other badly-needed, common-sense reforms is still a Catch-22 when the people that must pass the BILL are the very same ones that perpetually refuse to pass any common-sense reforms that may even remotely reduce their power, opportunities for self-gain, or the security of their cu$hy, coveted incumbent seats.

    Lots of good ideas here though; all of which should be on the table and open for discussion.

    The trick is how to ever get any reforms passed?
    But, no matter which way I look at the problem, all that comes to mind that seems to have any real chance of peacefully reforming government is Education. Why? Because that approach has already worked with some other things, such as:


    • the abolishment of slavery

    • voting rights regardless of race, gender, wealth, etc.

    • civil rights; many nations are behind in this area

    • striving to help the truly needy

    • the importance of education for all of our children

    • the extra earning power of a college degree

    • the importance of training

    • the importance and necessity of force required by government to enforce the law

    • the benefit of CDC education to avoid healthcare disasters

    • the benefit of consumer agencies, reports, and reviews to share data and statistics about products, services, quality, and concerns

    • the emerging realization of the importance of Transparency

    So, there has been progress over the many centuries (2 steps forward, 1.999 steps backward).

    At any rate, we will learn the smart way or the hard way. We’ve learned to do some things the smart way. We’re just no good (yet) at selecting our elected officials, other nations recognize it, and regardless of what politicians do, votes keep re-electing them, repeatedly giving incumbent politicians a 90% re-election rate, empowering them (programming them) to grow ever more corrupt, as we are witnessing. Why? Because we lack Education to see how we are being manipulated, and trapped in a pattern of circular behavior. The solution has to account for the human factor, and compensate for it. Education can lead to the other things, such as transparency and accountability. Some rules must be changed to increase transparency and accountability. But, that will only happen later than sooner (if ever), without first learning to stop re-electing the very same irresponsible incumbent politicians that always refuse to pass any reforms.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 13, 2006 12:27 PM
    Comment #187995

    I agree, d.a.n. You just need to get the word out in a more stream-lined fashion. Have you considered a corporate sponsor? ;)

    Posted by: Zeek at October 13, 2006 4:41 PM
    Comment #187999

    A corporate sponsor?
    Yikes!
    I don’t know many corporations that want the status quo to change, with record profits and all now.
    Zeek, I support many organizations (time and money) with the same idea. See my web-site for many links to non-profit organizations.
    A for-profit corporation or organization would create a conflict of interest.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 13, 2006 5:17 PM
    Comment #188004

    JBOD said: “I plan on voting anti-incumbent this year (you and David Remer can now sing out with massive huzzahs and hallelujahs), but I’m telling you it won’t accomplish a thing.”

    JBOD, I know it is difficult in this electronic age of instant Google results and drive through fast food, but, one simply must stretch one’s view beyond the next 24 hours, month, or election.

    This election on Nov. 7 is a first installment on a continued and growing effort by 10’s of thousands of new activists to lower that 90+ percent reelection rate to 50%, or lower, if need be. I cannot tell you how many folks have emailed me at V.O.I.D. to express their support for the argument that the only way to force politicians to put the nation and people ahead of personal gain, reelection bribes, and wealthy lobbyist interests, is to not reelect them, forcing them to lose despite the bribes, lobbyist, and special interest donation support.

    It is a sound argument, and so many folks are waking up to it, and spreading it on the net, with their families and friends, and to co-workers. The polls show this is the right argument, the right movement, at the right time in our political history for the voters take back government for their own.

    But, it won’t happen overnight. It cannot happen in one election. It may happen in 3; this November’s being the first of. It all depends on those who know the argument is valid, giving themselves to spreading it continuously over the next 3 election cycles.

    We have to keep our eye on the prize, politicians beholding to the voter and solutions to the nation’s problems. And we must work for that prize, give our time and money to achieving it, like any other goal in our lives. Our, and our children’s, personal lives, security, freedom, and prosperity very much depend on the success of our government. It just doesn’t get anymore personal than that. Nor, more important.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 13, 2006 5:46 PM
    Comment #188021

    Yes, my entire family (all former Republicans) are on board (brothers, sister, father, mother, in-laws). So are my neighbors. They understand Bad Politicians = Bad Government. They understand it will take time, but they also understand that no one else has a better idea.

    We have tried everything else.

    So, why not try the one simple, logical, common-sense, responsible thing that we (the voters) were supposed to be doing all along, always.

    See the newer thread just above this for a list of 26 PROs and CONs.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 13, 2006 7:12 PM
    Comment #188035

    It was poking a bit of fun at you, d.a.n, sorry.

    Posted by: Zeek at October 13, 2006 9:26 PM
    Comment #188156

    No offense taken; no need to apologize.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 14, 2006 2:04 PM
    Comment #188409

    David:

    My opinion is that the idea of voting out incumbents will slow and stop as people see that most incumbents get re-elected despite their efforts. That’s why I think gerrymandering reform or term limits should come first. We may want the same result—-new people representing us—but we have differing ideas of how to get there.

    Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 16, 2006 7:46 AM
    Comment #188427

    joebagodonuts,
    Yes, we differ on the strategy.
    The Gerrymandering issue is important.
    However, it is probably more difficult to educate voters about Gerrymandering than simply asking voters to stop re-electing irresponsible incumbents.

    Afteral, Congress has had many decades to pass many badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reform BILLs, but simply refuse to do so. The BILLs keep coming up for a vote, and they keep voting them down. No mystery here. None at all.

    Which of these two have the greater chance of success? :

    • Voters pressure congress to pass a BILL to restrict Gerrymandering?

    • Unhappy voters and worsening economic conditions motivate them to stop re-electing incumbent politicians, giving newcomers who are usually vastly out-numbered by incumbents, a better chance to pass reforms.

    What are the chances of incumbent politicians passing a bill to prohibit Gerrymandering, when they won’t even vote to eliminate the “Marriage Penalty Tax”? Or campaign finance? Or election reform? Or tax reform?

    The thing is, if unhappy voters can be convinced to stop re-electing the irresponsible incumbents that are making them unhappy, then the may be a chance for a wide range of reforms, including Gerrymandering (by getting to the real root of the problem, instead of chipping away at the edges of one or more symptoms).

    For example, I think “ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL” would reduce pork-barrel, waste, graft, and corporate welfare (via ear-marks). But, that BILL will never be passed without making a more fundamental change first. The current crop will never pass such a BILL. They will never pass anything that may even remotely reduce their power, opportunities for self-gain, or the security of their cu$hy, coveted incumbent seats.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 16, 2006 11:20 AM
    Comment #188656

    Due to physical constraints it has been quite some time since I have been able to contribute. Seeing this topic has moved my to comment in the most positive way.

    It has been a very long time since I have seen as many posts so intelligently and enthusiastically put together. There is flow, subject matter is right on, research seems to be solid and posters have respected the positions of respondents. Some posts are only a few words short of a short story (way to go d.a.n.).

    It is very excitiing to see how issues as important, critical, etc. as anti-incumbacy voting, terms limits and transperancy of government have come to the forefront in the eyes of as many as it seems. As a strong supporter of VOID, I am very excited about this potential progress. Sadly however, I am still a Redskins fan.

    Posted by: steve smith at October 17, 2006 7:27 PM
    Comment #188675

    Steve Smith,
    Thanks!
    Thank you, and thanks to all the supporters of a more responsible government by striving to help the newcomers to Congress pass badly-needed, commmon-sense reforms that irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, do-nothing, look-the-other-way incubment politiciams NEVER will.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 17, 2006 8:55 PM
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