Politics

8 Percent of Americans Want to See Congress Reelected. 90 Percent of Congressmen Will Be Reelected.

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According to a new national poll:

Just 8 percent of Americans want the members of Congress re-elected, according to a CBS News-New York Times poll taken nine months before roughly one-third of the Senate and the entire House face voters.

The Feb. 5-10 survey found 81 percent of respondents saying the lawmakers shouldn't receive another term.

And yet, that same public will almost undoubtedly return about 90 percent of incumbents running for reelection to office.

Americans are pretty terrible at throwing the bums out, no matter what we tell pollsters.

Via Glenn Reynolds, who optimistically headlines the item "Hope."

NEXT: Obama. Taxes. Lies.

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  1. No, it’s everyone *else’s* Congressman that’s the problem. Not mine! He’s great at bringing home the bacon.

    1. Does he wear a hat? Does he have a tie?

      1. SHHHH! Nobody is supposed to know.

    2. Exactly.

      1. Yes.

        And yet, that same public will almost undoubtedly return about 90 percent of incumbents running for reelection to office.

        The difference between the and their.

  2. This isn’t surprising. People will generally tell you that “Congress Sucks” and is full of pork barrell seeking idiots; except for their congressman, who is a generally nice guy who brings lots of money to the state.

    1. My senator is Al Franken. My congress man is Keith Ellison. I never have, nor will I ever vote for either.

      1. I have Babs Mikulski and Donna Edwards.

        I win. :::sobs:::

        1. I have Dan “king of pork” Inouye, Dan “going senile but still reelectable” Akaka, and Mazie Hirono.

          I think I “win” with that lineup.

      2. You only have one Senator in Minnesota?

        1. We also have Amy Klobuchar.

          But c’mon. Al Franken??? It’s like what became of Bluto in Animal House.

          1. It’s like what became of Bluto in Animal House.

            I view that as a much more desirable outcome than Franken.

            Franken is more of a Stork.

            1. “We all thought the Stork was brain damaged!”

      3. I’m in the same district, but new to town. I hope there’s a better option than Ellison in the fall. I think it’s great that MN elected a muslim, but couldn’t we have gotten one of the anti-war conservative Somalis instead of Mr. Statist?

    2. I don’t think that’s necessarily how it works.

      I think what really happens is that the districts all tend to be badly gerrymandered so that one party or the other has a sizeable hold on the majority of voters. Even ignoring gerrymandering, people of similar beliefs and interests tend to congregate in the same areas of the country.

      Because most incumbents don’t face a challenge from within their own party in the primary (unless they’ve pissed the party off), in order to throw the bum out, you have to vote for someone from the other party in the general. In most districts, folks would rather kill themselves first.

      So, for example, folks in Danny Davis’ district might not think much of the man (and they don’t), but they sure aren’t about to vote for a Republican either. I suspect the same thing goes on in places like Georgia and Utah with the parties switched.

      1. Wow. Voros McCracken reads Hit and Run. I wonder how many libertarians like sabermetrics?

      2. I suspect the same thing goes on in places like Georgia and Utah with the parties switched.
        In GA if you are for smaller government and greater individual liberty you’d be crazy to vote out your incumbent Republican Congressman in a general election.I doubt you could get a viable primary challenger much more pro-liberty than Paul Broun and Lynn Westmoreland.(FWIW I live in Cynthia McKinney’s former district, it is going to be represented by a Black Congressman to the left of nearly anyone in CA,NY,or MA.)

        We have two horrible Big Government, pork-grubbing GOP Senators who need serious primary challengers.Even so, voting for a Democrat to throw them out isn’t exactly a good option with 6 year terms

      3. > I think what really happens is that the districts all tend to be badly gerrymandered so that one party or the other has a sizeable hold on the majority of voters.

        Indeed, and recall this is relevant to the LOCAL elections this year. If you elect state level politicos who aren’t Democrats, then those people will be in charge of the redistricting come 2011 and the new Census data. And the Gerrymandering will not favor Democrats.

        I, personally, would be much in favor of limiting gerrymandering completely. Districts should have a limited number of “sides”, with a side being either the centerline of any form of street or “natural” object — a river, a mountain chain, a lake, or a state boundary (or anything I’m not thinking of). One would think that 20-30 sides should be adequate to get the number of people in a district to the correct count. The idea that a district should represent anything other than a number of people is anathema to the idea of a representative democracy.

        The Redistricting Game

  3. 8 Percent of Americans Want to See Congress Reelected. 90 Percent of Congressmen Will Be Reelected.

    Democracy. In a nutshell.

    1. Not really.

      The 8% is based on a national poll for postions which the nation does not vote.

  4. Americans are pretty terrible at throwing the bums out, no matter what we tell pollsters.

    Please make sure Nick Gillespie reads this post before writing one of his own panting-for-polls posts. This is one of many terrific examples of why polls do not reflect PRACTICAL reality with regularity or precision.

  5. There was a great deal of ink spilled in the ’90 elections about anti-incumbency sentiment of the voters.

    Incumbency rates fell from 98% allllll the way down to 95%.

  6. This year, the vast majority of the action is in the primaries, as a lot of more legit small government types try to snag party nominations from the clutches of the congresscreates approved of by those at the top. If you live in a state in which the Libertarian Party already has access, look into your primaries and see if there is anyone worth voting for. It won’t hurt the LP in the general, and it might make a TINY difference overall.

  7. I suspect these numbers do not reflect congressmen who do not run because they know they will not be reelected.

    Without knowing how many seats changed party or changed person these numbers do not tell an accurate story.

    People adapt. They do not willing spend huge sums of money and over six months worth of work to run campaigns they know they are likely to lose. They quit and look for work elsewhere.

    1. After going back and reading the comments i am disheartened at the lack of critical thinking.

      A 90% win rate for those who seek reelection only tells us that politicians are not fatalists. A congressmen who knows he will not win reelection will not seek reelection.

      I thought you guys understood markets and how poeple will react rationally to changes in markets?

      If you know the value of your stock is going down do you wait until it hits bottom before you sell? or do you sell before it hits bottom? Why would politicians act any differently when looking at their reelection potential?

      1. Reality is a bit more complicated than that. Are you suggesting that incumbency grants no advantage over a challenger? Having generous constituents who want to see the gravy train continue isn’t an advantage? Franking privileges? Free news coverage? Patronage isn’t an advantage? Resistance to change by the voters and a lack of adequate information about challengers? Elections laws that keep 3rd parties off the ballots by default?

        Besides, the point of the post was the cognitive dissonance between stated perceptions and reality.

        1. Exaggeration using faulty data is not needed to prove the point that incumbency grants advantage.

          But really that was not Kathy’s point. She was trying to push the view that voting is pointless and anti-incumbency movements are always impotent. Which is not true at all when looking at better data.

          How many senators and representatives have announced they will not run again this year?

          I do not know the answer but I would suspect that the number is unusually high.

    1. > Vote None of the Above

      Indeed. Come the revolution, we need to change the rules for elections — something to reflect the following idea:

      One option on all ballots is “None of the above”. If “none of the above” wins the plurality, the current crop is tossed out, and not eligible to run for ANY public office for a period of not less than five years, and an entirely new election, with none of the prior candidates, is held. Lather, rinse, repeat. If this process extends past the inauguration date, the seat is left empty until the electorate finds someone they’re willing to support. I mean, if the majority hates the current candidates, why should one of them win the election as the best of a crop of blatant dunderheads?

      I’m sure the notion can be fleshed out some, but something along these lines so that we don’t have to elect someone just because he/she is the “best” of an awfully wretched set of choices.

  8. John Dingell has been a congressman since 1955. His father held the seat for 20 years prior to that.

    Why don’t we just make these people lords so they don’t have to bother with the campaigning?

  9. These incumbents are the same people bitching about how unfair it is that corporations can run ads against them. Another reason SCOTUS got it right.

  10. Yes, most members of Congress will win their race, but unless the economy makes a sudden and significant turnaround, I think we’re headed for a record low incumbency reelection rate.

    When a member of the vaunted Kennedy dynasty has to step down because he knows he can’t even get reelected in New England, there is something going on far above and beyond the normal public dissatisfaction with Congress.

    1. I think we’re headed for a record low incumbency reelection rate.

      Incumbency reelection rate is not the same thing as the reelection rate.

      Kathy’s numbers do not reflect the reps who do not seek reelection.

  11. what happened in 1980 to cause the drop in senate reelections?

  12. There is nothing logically inconsistent about liking your own Congressman and hating the body as a whole. Libertarians think Ron Paul is swell, but have total distain for Congress as a whole. Yet, somehow their position is not subject to the yearly “Americans are so stupid they re-elect their congressman but hate Congress” posts.

    1. Good point, if Ron Paul lived in every libertarian’s district.

  13. I think we need a Constitutional Amendment for term limits. It certainly wouldn’t be a total fix, but if it stops the Ted Kennedys, Ted Stevens, Murthas, and Byrds from infesting congress for decades, it can’t but be better.

    I think it would be possible to get it through – when less than 10% of people want congresscrap re-elected. Just don’t include state legislators on the ‘term limited’ list…

    1. Five terms for a representative, two terms for a senator. Simple, and more than generous.

      1. 6 and 2. 12 years each. Or, get rid of the 17th amendment and many problems solved.

        1. Yes, with no 17th Amendment the party hacks and corporate criminals could save a lot of money, by just bribing a few state legislators instead of funding expensive televised campaigns to fool the voters into electing the exact same person.

      2. I’d say 2 terms for each job, period. They could still move from Rep to Senator to President, so a few could still be around a long time. But only a few that could pull that off.

        1. I believe in freedom, and that’s all I need… And these term limits. I need freedom and term limits. And boomcar bans. I need freedom, and term limits, and these boomcar bans, and that’s all I need!

          …And this paddle-ball game.

    2. Why shouldn’t the people have the right to vote for whoever they want?

      If the the people of a district really like their representation, why should the government say no?

      1. > If the the people of a district really like their representation, why should the government say no?

        Because it rewards pork and truffle work.

        SoooEEEEE!

    3. We’d have the healthcare bill if enough Democrats didn’t need to worry about getting reelected. The survival instinct can be a good thing. What we really need is voters who aren’t such dumbasses.

      1. What we really need is voters who aren’t such dumbasses.

      2. What we really need is voters who aren’t such dumbasses.

        1. Jesus fucking titties wrapped in barbed wire. WTF fuck is up with those cheesedick retarded squirrels that run the Reason comment section?
          Did somebody in IT sell their soul for a chance to suck the abnormally shrunken appendage of Bill Gates or what?

          Let’s try this again:

          What we really need is voters who aren’t such dumbasses.

          +1000
          Good luck with that.
          We have devolved into a nation of dimwitted herd animals who have no problem with making sure that all of us will be forced to suffer under the government that they, themselves, truly deserve.

          1. “”We have devolved into a nation of dimwitted herd animals who have no problem with making sure that all of us will be forced to suffer under the government that they, themselves, truly deserve.””

            Devolved?

            That would assume we were not that way before.

            1. > That would assume we were not that way before.

              I think that one could make an adequate case that enough of the FF’s were not quite so dumb.

  14. I think they should randomize what district you are voting for. This year, KY-3 (my district) gets to elect the rep for [rolls dice] NY-17.

  15. Something horribly wrong when it’s easier to vote than get a drivers license.

    1. What the fuck are you talking about? The only good voting does is to randomize things enough so that no one can fuck things up too badly. We’d be better off if only blind chimps could vote.

      1. > The only good voting does is to randomize things enough so that no one can fuck things up too badly.

        LOL. Then, by all means, explain the events of the recent year.

        The Democrats yelled “Yahtzee!”???

    2. I agree with Zeb. What are you talking about.

      Voting is not like applying for a defacto national ID card.

    3. I don’t think so.

      Voting is a right of all citizens in a republic. A driver’s license is a privilege. Like all forms of state licensure it is inherently immoral, but that certainly doesn’t imply it would be easier.

      1. But driving is a right of all persons with driver’s licenses. Not everyone in a Republic is a citizen of that Republic, nor does everyone deserve to be.

      2. > Voting is a right of all citizens in a republic.

        But in all republics, not all citizens are fully vested in their citizenry.

        The FF’s expected those who vote to be intelligent, educated, and sensible in their exercise of franchise. Hence, in the original system, you pretty much had to have a vested interest in the system. Most voters were responsible landowners, not just anyone laying about. All sorts of things could deprive you of your capacity to vote. Some good and right, some (skin color, gender) not so good.

        Nowadays we’re unfortunately devolving to a “warm body” democracy, which has the unfortunate problem of all WBD’s: “Bread and Circuses”.

        Once a majority realize their capacity to vote for whatever they want to be taken from the remainder (and we are almost there, if not there already), then that society is doomed.

  16. How about, instead of term limits, say that a politician cannot represent the same district for 2 consecutive terms.

    If he wishes to run again, he must seek election in a district chosen at random 3 months prior to election day.

    This could make pork worse – no politician would want to fight pork in another district for fear that he might have to run in that district – but pork is a relatively small part of the budget anyways. It would, however, make a politician’s position on issues much more important because that would be the only thing he would be known by in his new district.

    1. I’ll go one better.

      Congressvermin can serve as many terms as they are elected to, assuming they survive being hunted down by their constituents, at the end of each term.

      I’ll even be sporting and give them a 15 minute head start.

      1. I’ll allow 15 minutes head start only if they are on foot and I’ve got a good horse and pack of hounds.

        View Halloo!

  17. Look at the 1980 Senate race. Only 55% re-elected. That’s how bad Carter was. And as we all know, Obama is even worse than Carter.

  18. That’s because when you think of “Congress” you automatically think of the worst of the bunch–for me, I think Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barney Frank–and then rate the whole body by that standard.

  19. Anybody notice the 1980 senatorial abberation? If my memory is correct, as many as half a dozen incumbent democrats were ousted. Frank Church of Idaho was one of the casualties along with Ted Kenedy’s Harvard pal, John Culver of Iowa.

  20. What is going on here? Why are the names of so many posters not being posted.

    The last post was from LM.

    1. TickleStick here. I have noticed that too. It seems to happen if I’ve been on H&R for a while. I also noticed that after a while I am unable to comment in the nested thread style (I can hit “reply to this” 100 times and nothing happens.

      1. …me too. I have to close the browser, get back in and it’s fine again. Weird.

        1. It happens to me often. I do the same thing.

  21. I think they should randomize what district you are voting for. This year, KY-3 (my district) gets to elect the rep for [rolls dice] NY-17.

    I believe the Representatives should be chosen randomly, and assigned to a district far away from their place of residence.

    I also believe they should be released back into the general population at the end of their term with the admonishment that they will be shot on sight if they return to the district of Columbia.

    1. I also believe they should be released back into the general population at the end of their term with the admonishment that they will be shot on sight. if they return to the district of Columbia.

      You’re welcome.

  22. Note that in 1994, after the first Democratic health care debacle, when Republicans roared back to seize control of Congress, the reelection rate was 90% in the House.

    So you can have high reelection rates and big changes, so long as it’s just one party losing seats.

  23. Tea Party Candidate Goes After Meghan McCain
    By David Weigel 2/12/10 1:35 PM
    Here’s one example of how little the McCain brand is cherished by the conservative grassroots. Les Phillip, the self-identified Tea Party Republican candidate challenging party-switching Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.), just fired off a lengthy statement attacking Meghan McCain ? who’s become a sort of a spokeswoman-without-a-constituency for GOP moderation ? for comments attacking apparent racism inside the Tea Party movement.

    “Myself, and several other black conservative candidates, have enjoyed broad and growing support from the tea party movement,” says Phillip. “Ms. McCain has led a life of privilege and couldn’t understand the pressures of living from paycheck to paycheck. I respect her father’s service to this country, but she ridicules what she cannot understand.”

    The whole statement:

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala.? Alabama Republican congressional candidate Les Phillip, in a statement issued today, called out Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain’s daughter Megan McCain for “reckless and uninformed” comments about the tea party movement. Ms. McCain stated in an appearance on ABC’s “The View” that she believed the tea parties were inherently racist. Her claims were based on discussions within the tea party movement regarding a requirement for voters to demonstrate the ability to read and understand English. Opponents of literacy tests claim that because minorities have lower literacy rates, the tests are meant to prevent minorities from voting. Supporters suggest that literacy testing would result in a more informed electorate, less likely to succumb to catchy but substance-less candidate marketing.
    http://rawstory.com/2010/02/me…..te-racism/

    “Myself, and several other black conservative candidates, have enjoyed broad and growing support from the tea party movement. While any movement has bad eggs, the Tea Party movement has shown itself, as a whole, to be a movement of the people against massive government spending, infringement on personal rights, and job killing regulations. It’s a movement of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. It’s a movement of all races, creeds, and colors. Just this week, a young black woman from Mississippi announced her candidacy for U.S. Congress, after appearing at nearly every Tea Party event held in the state over the past year. This young woman, Angela McGlowan, wrote a top-selling book about how the left has used false accusations of racism to drive blacks into the arms of the Democrat Party, and away from the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King Jr. Mrs. McGlowan is the face of the Tea Party movement for many in the deep south state of Mississippi, a true testament to the attitude of most Tea Partiers,” Mr. Phillip said.

    “I have spent the last year attending and speaking at Tea Parties myself, here in the 5th district, and throughout Alabama. I attended the monumental rally in Washington D.C. on September 12 and I’ve heard from Tea Party activists from all over the United States. Here in Huntsville, the Tea Party rallies have been organized by a hard working 26 year old girl, Christie Carden with the help of several others in their 20’s and 30’s. These young patriots are not thinking about race when they rally against trillion dollar stimulus bills, the massive government takeover of health-care or the “cap and trade” bill that would drive many of them onto the welfare rolls with thousands of dollars in new taxes and increased energy costs. They are thinking about the future and they are thinking about the jobs we will need to survive. Ms. McCain has led a life of privilege and couldn’t understand the pressures of living from paycheck to paycheck. I respect her father’s service to this country, but she ridicules what she cannot understand.”

    “I encourage voters to look past race, political parties and petty ridicule. Look at the powerful diversity, conservative constitutional principles, and Christian values that made this nation the greatest on Earth. The Tea Parties have figured that out, and I believe that on election day, the people of North Alabama will vote to restore those values and bring back personal responsibility and economic liberty. I pledge to support those values for every American, and fight for jobs and businesses here in the Tennessee Valley.”

    1. Why is that surprising? McCain was never a conservative. I’m not sure I’d call him a RINO, but he pushed that envelope. It was “McCain-Feingold”, if you’ll recall.

      As a result there would be lots of disagreement between him and his supporters and those of the Tea Party mentality.

  24. As for term limits, my personal choice would be six years in each body: three terms in the House, one term in the Senate (with the possibility of moving from one to the other, for a total of twelve years in the federal legislature).

    After that- the guillotine!

  25. They should Work From Home. From their home districts. There’s no honest reason why they should cluster in DC.

    This would reduce the opportunities for graft.

    1. Agreed. Even preferable to term limits would be a strict limit on the number of hours or days congress could be in session, making them a part-time legislature the way the Founders intended.

      For those who say it isn’t possible, Texas is a large state and they manage pretty well with a part-time legislature.

      1. I’d vote for a limit of 0 days and 0 hours in session each year. Congress serves no purpose, except to extract money from us.

    2. > There’s no honest reason why they should cluster in DC.

      Well, it does offer the opportunity to take them all out with one good explosive device, if one were so inclined.

      *If*.

      Not sure what ObamaCare is doing to that inclination, but I don’t think it’s decreasing it.

  26. It’s the lack of alternatives (presented on TV). People vote for who’s on TV.

  27. I’d vote for this guy:

    A man from Cumberland County who’s running for Congress has his campaign locked-and-loaded.

    Tim D’Annunzio ? a former paratrooper ? is a 30 year Raeford resident and conservative Republican running for the 8th District Congress seat currently held by Representative Larry Kissel.

    Thursday night he held a fundraiser in Fayetteville at Jim’s Guns. For a $25 donation, participants shot off MP-5s and Uzis. They also got a Carolina bar-b-que plate and sweet tea.

    “It was awesome, it was great,” Raeford resident Denyse Leake said.

    More than 50 people showed up and registered for door prizes, which included an AR-15 machine gun.

    “They are as fired up as they can be and as fired up as I’ve ever seen them,” D’Annunzio said.

    http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/st…..id=7272926

    1. More than 50 people showed up and registered for door prizes, which included an AR-15 machine gun.

      “Machine gun”?

      1. “Well, she’s a girl and she’s your friend…”

      2. Technically, an AR-15 isn’t a machine gun, neither is an M-16. Machine gun only applies to gatlings, 50 cals, Vulcan mini-guns, and the like.
        An AR-15 isn’t even automatic, but no problem to convert to rock and roll.

    2. I wish Michigan not-Democrats would do something like this in races for State Sen, cause Levin and Stabenow totally blow. And unfortunately, have for years (see subject blog).

      Besides – what’s more fun than shooting guns? OK – dead baby jokes – but besides that?

  28. Well, yeah, because Washington is the mother of all Prisoner’s Dilemmas.

    1. And yet, when a snowstorm shuts down DC the world somehow survives.

      1. Any Federal employee (or agency) that took any time off due to the snow is, by definition, “non-essential”, and should be de-funded immediately.

      2. “There’s a big difference between the inevitability of Death and Taxes.
        Death doesn’t get any worse every time Congress convenes.”
        – Burt Lancaster –

  29. O.K., term limits may take an amendment to the Constitution. But how about other measures that would serve to limit the terms: salary only double the national medium; no pension except social security, limited expense account – to and from district only four times a year and via coach,
    health care insurance for themselves only at the minimum coverage set by the state they represent and with a 25% co-pay; only one constituent mailing per session of congress.

    1. > only one constituent mailing per session of Congress.

      Warning: If you mail him to me, I might not send him back in one piece.

      “Hey, hey, don’t blame me — it was the US postal system… He musta got damaged in transit. Yeah. That’s it.”.

      :oP

  30. There are some interesting reasons for this paradox that aren’t immediately obvious. The biggest one is that the near certainty of incumbent reelection means that incumbents do not attract reasonable challengers — or any at all. In 2008, there were 56 UNCONTESTED Congressional seats. No elections were held and voters couldn’t vote against the incumbent if they wanted to.

    Then, in a far larger number of seats but harder to quantify without fistfights, the incumbent attracts only nominal challengers, often flakes and gadflies. Even when the Don Quixotes aren’t nuts, they are nearly always broke, as neither party will use valuable resources against incumbents when there are genuine elections being held in open seats elsewhere. These elections are not competitive or meaningful.

    Term limits are the solution to this broken system, as they would require open seats in every seat at least once every eight (or whatever the limit is) years. The 90%+ automatic reelection rate would be a thing of the past overnight.

    Term limits by themselves wouldn’t guarantee any change in the way the country is governed. But it would make change a *possibility,* which currently it simply isn’t.

    1. > In 2008, there were 56 UNCONTESTED Congressional seats.

      This is one place where my idea of “None of the above” (see above @ 3.24.10 – 3:11AM) would come into play. Even in cases of no opposition, the voters could still reject the incumbent.

  31. By the way, Sen. Jim DeMint has entered a bill — the first since the 1990s — to limit the terms of the House to three terms and the Senate to two. It has attracted three Senate cosponsors (Coburn, Brownback, Hutchison).

    To sign the U.S. Term Limits petition to limit terms of the U.S. Congress, please go to http://www.termlimits.org.

    1. I tried clicking the link and got a “no home page, perhaps under construction” notice. Do you have reason to believe that the site is live and in good working order, PB?

      1. Found the problem. There is an extra period at the end of the URL which is confusing my browser.

  32. I wish everyone in this thread would forward a link to this, to everyone who thinks Congress is worried about what the folks back home think…

    It just goes to show, what you think of other district’s politicians doesn’t matter; it only matters what you think of the politicians in your own district. …and they’re not worried that you’re gonna vote for the opposition. They’re just afraid you’re not gonna vote…

    …which begs the question, why vote?

    If “libertarians” are people who don’t think politicians are the answer to our problems, then why would “libertarians” vote? You’re just giving the machine more justification to mow you down…

    Stop putting fuel in that tank! Please. Your vote does nothing but support the system that’s grinding us all into the ground.

    Your vote means nothing. Have a nice day.

    1. > Your vote means nothing. Have a nice day.

      Uhhh, yeah. Libertarians don’t believe in NO government. That’s “Anarchism”.

      Libs believe in LIMITED, MINIMAL government. Not the same thing.

      Breaks down even more when you grasp that there is a distinct difference between libertarians and Libertarians. I am certainly an individualist and hence a libertarian, but I’ve rarely agreed with a substantial element of the platform of the Libertarian Party.

      But thanks for playing. Glad I could give you a chance to clear up your confusion.

  33. I like term limits and have little patience for the whining of people who say that this leaves inexperienced officeholders up against the special interests and permanent bureaucracy, or that pols must always be in campaign mode because of the inevitable need to “get another job” once they are termed out.

    I also think the “three and two” scheme is reasonable, though I suppose I would prefer “4 and 2” if I had my druthers (given that 42 is the ultimate answer, after all). So I’ll probably sign that petition mentioned above.

    But has anyone put serious thought into whether it is possible to determine optimum term limits for any given office? And also, what kind of permanent infrastructure (training, info resources, communication systems) might make citizen politicians most effective during whatever limited terms they would have? In particular, I want to dismiss such arguments as, “Two terms isn’t enough time to come up to speed and be effective in the congress/legislature…” In the private sector world of work, if you can’t start showing impressive, consistent results after, say, six months, you could easily be fired, and certainly would not earn promotion. Surely a legislator could, at least given the right training and tools, come up to speed in a year and spend the second year of his or her first term being “effective” enough to earn re-election so as to be “effective” for another two years.

    If anyone has links to studies or papers that tackled these questions, please post them here. I am truly curious.

    1. Actually, I’ve thought of a slightly more complex variant of this, and that is the “vote to retain”.

      In the primaries, one would also include the option to downcheck any incumbent’s re-election. The first time, the incumbent has to get a 55% “retain” vote in order to make it to the main elections. The second time, they have to make a 60% retain, the third time 65%, and so forth, until it maxes out at, say, 75% (If you can get 75% of the people to say they want to keep you, that means you must be doing something correct).

      If you fail the retain vote, your term ends and you cannot run for that office in that district ever again. If need be, a runoff is held with the remaining candidates of your party to see who gets to fill that slot, assuming you were in the running for the seat from the regular primary vote.

      Problem solved — if the people REALLY want to retain the person, they can still run and win — but they have to do well enough to keep people pleased with them, all the more so the longer they’ve been in office (and which is harder to do since they’re likely to owe lots of favors to others in the meantime, which is one of the numerous problems of long-term office holders)

  34. I’ve always wondered what percentage of Americans deserved to be peeled alive with a cataract laser scalpel microscopic layer by microscopic layer. Now I know.

    1. Nah. That cauterizes the wound. Use a rusty scalpel, it’s much more fun.

  35. Americans are pretty terrible at throwing the bums out, no matter what we tell pollsters.

    Coming back to this comment section for a third time is even more disheartening then the other 2 times.

    HEY DIPSHITS WAKE UP!!!

    THE DATA KATHY USED TO TRY TO PROVE THIS POINT IS FAULTY AND THE FACT IS VOTE THE BUMS OUT DOES WORK!

    Anyway from reading the above comments it is safe to say the voting public is generally smarter then “hit and Run” commenters.

    1. Anyway from reading the above comments it is safe to say the voting public is generally smarter then “hit and Run” commenters.

      Drink!

      1. No i have to use “reason” and it has to be directed at the writers “unreasonable” stance.

        ie “for a magazine called Reason…”

        If you drink it only means you want to drink…in no way are you following even a liberal interpretation of the drinking game stated rules.

        1. lawyering is not allowed in drinking games.

          1. Drink!!

    2. JC, is your interpretation based upon the overthrow of the Democratic congress in ’94? I would suggest reviewing the speech Newt Gingrich gave upon taking the gavel if you are ever in search of a meaningful interpretation of the word ‘disheartening’.

      However, if you counter that in spite of the fact that the ’94 take down turned out to be flawed it did lead to the Era of Glorious Gridlock, and more importantly, shows the way to the possibility of success based upon a small percentage shift in voting patterns, I would agree and respectfully reply with ‘touch?‘ to your well reasoned argument.

      However, I’m keeping that eight percent of the American public that has no problem with the political establishment as my property to abuse as I see fit.

  36. The second graphic on this page hasn’t been visible to me in two days. Technical difficulties?

  37. Voters who have a conscience should only vote for Congressmen who swear on a Bible to never, ever, bring one penny of Fed money back to their districts.

  38. John Kerry is the guy who looks after me and my needs. Phhhhhh

  39. > Voters who have a conscience should only vote for Congressmen who swear on a Bible to never, ever, bring one penny of Fed money back to their districts.

    Well, that’s pretty stupid idea.

    I don’t want him/her to vote AGAINST that. I want him/her to vote for what’s right IN SPITE of what it brings back to the district.

    That takes a kind of “principle”, I know. And yeah, that’s not too common, offhand — I can only think of three politicians at the moment who I know for a fact clearly have it.

    Joe Lieberman, George Bush II, and Sarah Palin.

    There’s a few others I suspect have it, but most of them have fewer principles than a whore at a sailor convention.

  40. Sounds like a bit of election fraud going on to me.

  41. Term limits anyone?

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