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« Londonistan | Main | And You Thought The UN Corruption And Sex Scandals Are Bad Now? »

From Revolutionaries To Arrogant Elites

Mark Steyn writes about the new aristocracy on Capitol Hill. I'd love to see ballots printed with "None of the above" as an option. If that option wins the election, we start over, with no incumbents, and new primaries. Call it the American form of lack-of-confidence vote.

Sadly, the old libertarian cliche that there are far more similarities than differences between two parties seems all too true once again, particularly when it comes to corruption and lust for the acquisition and maintenance of power. Equally sadly, we continue to suffer from the phenomenon that while everyone dislikes Congress, they all love their own congressman (of a kind with the notion that everyone thinks that the economy is doing poorly, though they're doing fine). I'd love to see a lot of Congresspeople lose their seats this fall, but this phenomenon, coupled with the entrenched positions resulting from gerrymandering by both parties, still militates against it, I suspect.

Posted by Rand Simberg at May 28, 2006 06:16 AM
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I fear our Republic is at a very dangerous point in it's history. Our elected officials do consider themselves elites and the incumbents have stacked the deck in their favor through gerrymandering, influence peddling, and flat out criminal behavior. It's my opinion that term limits of congress-critters are essential to fixing the system.

Posted by MickeyD at May 28, 2006 08:12 AM

Term limits are a two-edged sword; one of those "simple solutions to a complex problem, which is invariably wrong". In a sense, governence *should* be conducted by an "elite" -- intelligence, skill, and experience all make for a better lawmaker. Term limits would remove that last variable from the equation, which could be extremely detrimental. Politics should not *always* be a game for novices.

Gerrymandering is the far greater evil. It is intrinsically anti-democratic, and is what has lead (as the Economist likes to point out) to a lower turnover rate among congressional incumbants than among the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly in North Korea. And we call ourselves a democracy? The solution to this alread exists -- check out Iowa's redistricting model. Apply that nation-wide, and politics would immediately get far more competitive, and honest.

Posted by Nathan Koren at May 28, 2006 09:16 AM

Under term limits, the bozos replaced will be indistinguishable from the those replacing them.

It's the voters, dude! It's the feed trough mentality.

Posted by Sharpshooter at May 28, 2006 09:51 AM

The sense of entitlement increases with the length of incumbancy. So, does the corrupting influene of special interests (see public choice theory).

Term-limits would force a periodic reset of the badness-clock, so to speak.

Posted by purpleslog at May 28, 2006 10:47 AM

I've been calling for a None of the Above checkbox for a while now.

There should be a way to fire the bastards if we want to.

Posted by V-Man at May 28, 2006 11:45 AM

Better than non-of-the-above...

All registered voters are considered to have voted for non-of-the-above *unless they register a valid vote for a candidate*

If non-of-the-above wins, re-run the election with a totaly new set of candidates - the previous lot are barred.

Kick the bums out by sitting at home.

Posted by anon at May 28, 2006 02:38 PM

There's a difference between taking the trouble to go to the polls to vote for none of the above, and not bothering to vote. If we considered the latter the former, it would be unusual for anyone to win an election, since most registered voters don't vote much of the time.

Posted by Rand Simberg at May 28, 2006 02:42 PM

We've suffered before under an unresponsive, elite government that abused its priviledges, passed laws opposed by the majority of residents and levied taxes on us for the benefit of others. We solved the problem, temporarily, in 1776. Time for another fix, I say.

Posted by lmg at May 28, 2006 03:44 PM

How amazingly similar, on several levels, are the situations of the UK and the USA. Here we have a Boundary Commission (the purpose of which should be obvious) with political appointees so that MP constituency boundaries are suspect; we have the redrawing of local government maps to favour the incumbent government; and in my town we have a local town council that has, blatantly, literally moved people around to favour the incumbents.

A competent opposition is the best guarantee that any democratic government does not overstep its bounds.

Posted by Ian Campbell at May 28, 2006 04:22 PM

Leave the governing to others and others will govern. We get the governments we vote for. Two true cliches for you. More involvement in the primaries with more candidates and more involvement from voters will lead to better government.

Posted by Bill Maron at May 28, 2006 11:03 PM

Never underestimate the power of a criminal conviction to remove a congresscritter from office.

Posted by Alan Kellogg at May 29, 2006 12:29 AM

BINGO! We have a Winner! I agree, it's the voters!

>>>Under term limits, the bozos replaced will be indistinguishable from the those replacing them.

It's the voters, dude! It's the feed trough mentality.
Posted by Sharpshooter at May 28, 2006 09:51 AM

Posted by Cali_Mynd_Kontrol at May 30, 2006 07:17 PM

Anyone who automatically assumes that term limits are (is?) the answer should first read The Complete Yes Minister and then report back to us. Measures that replace an entrenched elected elite with clueless newbies steered by entrenched unelected bureaucrats don't particularly appeal to me.

I would vote for "none of the above," though!

Posted by Old Grouch at May 31, 2006 08:18 AM

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