As of this writing, debate continues in the US Senate on the compromise Debt Ceiling bill, but one bit of information from the House vote presents an interesting view on the state of the Moderate position: all 5 of Iowa’s congressmen voted against the bill, even...
Talking points are truly amazing things. They capture the essence of the obsessions of political operatives. The political news has recently been dominated by the talking points surrounding the debt ceiling debate, with the main terms of choice being the assorted...
In the February 16th, 2010 Wall Street Journal, Gerald F. Seib wrote an article called Senate Woes Flag Wider Disease. The premise of the article is that the center of the political continuum has been eroded and that the bridge historically connecting the left and the right is being dismantled. He goes on to indicate that the result is a Senate without an ability to accomplish anything. The Framers, along with many who have followed, have long-since understood the power of the majority in a democracy. Accordingly, they have inserted safeguards against the potential â€œtyranny of the majorityâ€ that are now coming into clear view. Mr. Seib also points to the rapidly expanding use, over the last twenty years, of filibusters and cloture votes used to end those filibusters. In the end, the article concludes, â€œThe broader political system, more than the filibuster, is the problem.â€
The notion of the â€œbroader political systemâ€ is an interesting focal point for the current situation. And while I am not certain what Mr. Seib intended by his use of the words, I am certain that the problem we have is much greater than a purely political problem. To cast blame on the system is to address a second-order cause, as opposed to any level of fundamental or first-order cause. The issues we face today are simply a proxy for the broader existential and self-identification issues we face as a nation. We face an array of ontological problems that have been emerging over several decades, but are now, for the first time, exhibited for everyone to see. The fundamental issue we face today is one of determining whether we as a nation are going to be governed by the use of power, or whether we will continue to be governed via â€œauthority.â€ The distinction is becoming essentially clearer with every passing day. And the distinction could not be more significant.
Our nation was built on [...]
Term limits have lately become a popular topic of conversation. When a lot of folks start getting fed up with what's happening in Washington, term limits are sometimes becomes strategy #1 for solving the problem. But it's like the idea of a flat tax or domestic drilling... it sounds good as a sound bite, but what does it really end up meaning, and why do we really think it's going to help?
Frankly, I was a big supporter of the idea some years ago (back when Neal Smith represented my US House district in Congress), but I have figured out that the reason I was such a big supporter was specifically because of Neal Smith. That is, I wanted him out of office, and term limits sounded like an easy way to accomplish it. It was a specific, tactical, selfish reason.
I certainly recognize that there are other reasons, some of which are compelling. Let's make a list, shall we?
I don't like the person who's currently my (legislator, governor, etc.). From my own party, I've heard activists actually say "How else do we get rid of Tom Harkin (Senator from Iowa)?". Wow, so then what happens when we get someone in office who we actually like? You can't have it both ways... implementing term limits is not the way to move your agenda forward. Term limits will likely cause us more difficulty in moving the agenda forward. What you need is to bring candidates who can win elections.
Two terms (or one, or three, whatever the number of the month is) are enough for anyone to accomplish what they need to accomplish. If the purpose of sending someone to represent us in Washington or our state capital is to accomplish some singular thing, this might actually make sense. But the purpose of the legislatures includes doing a good deal of work that must be [...]
It's been an interesting week so far as reaction to the whole Joe The Plumber escapade has heightened people's awareness of Barack Obama's agenda.
For the sake of full disclosure, and ensuring people don't accuse me of taking his words out of context, you can see the full transcript of the conversation between Obama and Joe here. I'm going to focus on one sentence that Obama said:
I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody.
One can argue a hundred different opinions on this topic, and there's been a lot of comments around how this is a Socialist agenda (and many consider this to be pretty obvious). However, the new argument from the Left is that there's nothing new here that make Obama's plans more Socialist than we are today. Or more Socialist than we have been for nearly 100 years. I received an email