Politics as Blood Sport

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Politics as Blood Sport

Postby MarylandManson » Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:15 pm

What damned fool deleted this topic, anyway? Here it is again...

So Canadians will soon have a chance to clean House. Fun! It will be interesting to see if the Conservatives come out on top and form stronger ties with U.S. Republicans. Think Duke Cunningham, Tom DeLay, and Scooter Libby, all fine, upstanding citizens of topnotch character.

Lest these remarks seem partisan, the following link shows some recent shenanigans by members of both the GOP (Graft? Oh, Plenty!) aka the Republicans and the DNC (Deceptive, Nefarious Corruption) aka the Democrats:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051117/ap_ ... ___dollars

Of course it's always fun to consider the two-party poster boys, liars with their pants on fire:

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman..." -William J. Clinton

"We do not torture." -George W. Bush

These folks are exactly the types with whom Canadian politicians should form alliances. It's beautiful...Truth, Justice, and the North American Way! Not that South America or anywhere else in the world is any better. What might Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw have come up with over beers? "Democracy might be a good idea if anyone ever tried it."

I know, I know...SHUT UP, MM!!!!!!!!!!!

<grumble, grumble, grouse, grouse...>

Cheers, though! MM
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Postby Slade » Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:35 pm

MM,

Every indication is that it's going to be a particularly nasty election. The careers of the two main leaders - Martin and Harper - are on the line. The separatist party in Quebec has a new, dynamic, YOUNG leader, so that issue will raise its head. Plus, it's a winter election over the holiday season, and voters will be even more cranky than usual.

For me, what the election does is showcase the crucial difference between the American system - with its set election dates - and the British/Canadian system - with its fluid election calls. It's been only a year and a half since the last federal vote, and a simple no-confidence motion in parliament has immediately launched us into a quick, seven-or-so week campaign.

So which system is better adapted to the times in which we live?

The system that provides stability by maintaining the status quo for a set time, no matter what (short of impeachment)?

Or the system that reacts on the flip of a coin if things get too out of line?

Interesting question, with a myriad of pros and cons on either side.

Slade
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Postby EZ Rhino » Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:36 pm

What, Canadians aren't allowed to perform shenanigans? What about all them nifty flags that Sheila Copps 'purchased' for all us beer drinkin', hockey-loving Canadians? Does that qualify as a shenanigan? Or is that mere tomfoolery?
I wish the media would report more on public service and charity news instead of gossip. It is of much greater value. - Jackie Chan
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Postby MarylandManson » Tue Nov 29, 2005 8:56 pm

EZ: I thought Liberal shenanigans were a key trigger of the House cleaning. Will the voters use Lysol, Ajax, or Mr. Clean?

Slade: One potentially interesting aspect of future politics in America is to watch John McCain. He's an advocate of term limits and the line-item veto, two fascinating ideas that might work. Also, of course, he's a possible presidential candidate in 2008. Will his grandfather appear in Special X #12?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_S._McCain%2C_Sr.

Cheers! MM
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Postby GestaltAmigdula » Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:16 pm

MarylandManson wrote:One potentially interesting aspect of future politics in America is to watch John McCain.


John McCain has been and could be, again, in the running for the U.S. Presidency, but not without some scandal attached to his name which seems to resinate in politicians for some reason.

Before I cared about national politics, I seem to remember McCain being involved in the S&L investigation with Charles Keating - wasn't that in the late 80s?

Then there's Cindy McCain...she's no angel :twisted:
There is distortion even in the play and dreams of children. -Robert Engler
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Postby GestaltAmigdula » Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:42 pm

Senator McCain could get my vote, but we'll see.

This site looked interesting:

http://www.realchange.org/mccain.htm
There is distortion even in the play and dreams of children. -Robert Engler
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Postby raasnio » Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:13 pm

McCain could get votes and maybe even the Presidency, but there's no way he'll get the nomination. George Allen will probably get that unless Jeb Bush picks up steam and the current administration sees a bit of an upturn before '07.
The most merciful thing in the world... is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. - H. P. Lovecraft
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Postby MarylandManson » Wed Nov 30, 2005 5:41 pm

Slade wrote:So which system is better adapted to the times in which we live?

The system that provides stability by maintaining the status quo for a set time, no matter what (short of impeachment)?

Or the system that reacts on the flip of a coin if things get too out of line?

Interesting question, with a myriad of pros and cons on either side.


All things considered, the stability of maintaining the status quo isn't in the public interest, although it's very much in the interest of the politicians. At the most fundamental level, politicians are more interested in preserving their own positions--which afford them wealth, power, and ego maintenance--than in serving the public interest, although to be fair they end up serving the public interest somewhat. After all, the game has to be about something. But whatever shakes up the status quo and keeps leadership on its toes--this also extends to other realms, such as the business world--is more likely to benefit what government is supposed to be about: serving the public interest.

In business and government, as well as in art, ingenuity is often born of constraint, and the hanging sword of Damocles is quite a useful constraint. Ingenuity yields progress. The comfort of the padded chair leads to stagnation. Government needs less "let's do what we've always done" laziness and more "out of the box" proactiveness. Some folks rationalize the laziness by calling it "tradition."

But realistically, whether because of tradition or practical considerations of logistical change, the Canadian approach to elections wouldn't likely fly in the States. So term limits are a fair middle ground between what's currently in place and what could improve the situation.

MM
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Postby Slade » Wed Nov 30, 2005 6:25 pm

MM,

Define "term limits" and "line-item veto," and tell us how they would improve American politics.

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Postby MarylandManson » Wed Nov 30, 2005 6:40 pm

Okay!

Term limits means that elected officials could only hold a certain number of consecutive terms, even if the electorate wished otherwise. This practice is already in place with the president--no U.S. president since FDR can serve more than two consecutive terms. Currently members of Congress can serve indefinitely if the voters elect them into office. Strom Thurmond, the longest-serving member of Congress, was a notable example of the upper end of this phenomenon. He was a senator for 47-odd years.

The line-item veto means the president can pick and choose which elements of a bill get vetoed. Current practice calls for riders, which are often special-interest/local-interest provisions that legislators attach--like remoras on a shark--to other "primary" bills. They're used as a political ploy: go ahead and sign the bill you want, and likewise approve the provision you don't want. Or, kill the bill you want because we don't want you to have it, so we put in all this junk we know you don't want.

In my previous post I explained why I think term limits would be beneficial. As for the line-item veto, I advocate a simple, straightforward approach that says, "Let's look at each individual issue and decide upon it based on its merits, or not." It would be more work for Congress to produce a slew of small bills. Most likely that would reduce pork. Also, as mentioned above, I'd like to see members of Congress "turn their asses to" a bit more. Laziness in public office...ugh.

In all fairness, some feel that the line-item veto would give the president disproportionately more power than Congress, undermining checks and balances. I disagree, but it's a fair point of debate.

Cheers! MM
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Postby raasnio » Wed Nov 30, 2005 6:45 pm

The Line Item Veto would allow two things to happen:

1. Controlling spending. Or at least the ability to curb it.

2. It could help keep bills honest. Instead of pork piggybacking on the backs of real bills we could see the possibility for less junk getting through just because much of the rest of the bill is needed.

If I could add anything else it would be that the Line Item Veto would also make it easier for a president to adhere to his principles.
The most merciful thing in the world... is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. - H. P. Lovecraft
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Postby WaywardSoul » Thu Dec 01, 2005 12:07 am

A few observations:

John McCain is part of the problem, not the solution. He sold his soul long ago and is no better than the rest of that den of theives in D.C.

Line item veto?
How many YEARS have they been dangling that tidbit out there? It ain't gonna happen, folks.

Term limits?
If you think any politician is going to legislate themselves out of a long term career and all the perks and benefits of living off of all that sweet government gravy, then you're smoking better stuff than I am.

Sure, they drag these topics out at election time and appear to support these ideas long enough to get your votes. Then term limits and line-item vetoes mysteriously fade into the background, until it's time to dust them off again for public consumption.

Lazy politicians are not the problem. The lazy American public is the problem.
Too lazy to remain vigilant and watch every move their government makes.

Too lazy to hold their appointed officials responsbile for their actions.

Too lazy to stand up and reclaim their government and force it to serve the interests of America, instead of wealthy lobbyists, big business, and their own self-serving interests.

Revolution anyone? :twisted:
"Remember, there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over." - Frank Zappa
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Postby Slade » Thu Dec 01, 2005 12:45 am

WaywardSoul,

Now that you've insightfully summed up the Canadian political landscape, what do you think of the American situation!!

I loathe politicians of all stripes.

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Postby WaywardSoul » Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:33 am

The revolution will not be televised, mainly because everyone was too lazy to show up! :twisted:

I'm sure that many a bright eyed idealist goes into politics with the best of intentions(Did somebody say something about paving the road to Hell?), but in the end, they all seem to fall in line, or quickly fade from sight.

I'll have to rely on you Slade, as well as the rest of the Canadian members here, to inform me of the happenings on the political landscape up there.
Believe me, just trying to keep up with the shysters on this side of the border is a full-time job.

And least anyone get the wrong impression, I always advocate civil disobedience as the first course of action.
"Remember, there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over." - Frank Zappa
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Postby MarylandManson » Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:17 am

WaywardSoul wrote:If you think any politician is going to legislate themselves out of a long term career and all the perks and benefits of living off of all that sweet government gravy, then you're smoking better stuff than I am.


I don't! I see that you also characterize the politicians as lazy. But that is the primary problem, and--I agree with you, WS--the lazy populace is the secondary problem. Why are the politicians the primary problem? Because they're the ones who built and have perpetuated the system. The populace followed their lead, and still does.

As a friend calls Congress since day one: Rich White Men Working For YOU. Well, it's a little more demographically diverse now, but the general model still applies.

As for McCain, whether he truly advocates reform or not, he's currently the best bet--and, again, I agree, it's quite a slim bet--for actually bringing about positive change. Wouldn't it be funny if he hoped to get the line-item veto in place for his own presidency? (Sorry, couldn't resist...that's just not going to happen.) Whether it's "dangling" the idea out there or not, the thing is, the more people hear about, talk about, and think about reform like line-item veto and term limits, the more likely it is to actually come about.

Check back in 100 years, WS, when our grandkids might see it happen.

Cheers! MM

P.S. I'm just envious that Canadians might have an opportunity to really clean House. Heads on poles!
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