Friday, July 03, 2009

Fire Them All!

This is the "Reboot Congress" initiative from the New Hampshire 912 Project. I think it's a good one. The danger of getting a worse scoundrel than we got rid of is nothing compared to the lesson we'll teach the Imperial Statemongers...that it is We The People who are in charge!

I endorse it!

Hey Congress - You're Fired! You Can Take Action NOW!
As voters, we face a prodigious challenge in the coming elections. The challenge itself has been with us for decades, and for decades we have failed to step up to it. Yes, the blame for the failed policies of the past lies squarely on the shoulders of the American voter – not George Bush. Likewise, the failed policies of the future (now being formulated in Washington by the Obama coalition as a doubling down on the failed policies of the past) are directly the responsibility of - yes - the American voter.

How, with the best of intentions, have we gone wrong? Certainly we can point to having been hornswaggled by politicians and special interests, but we are a self-reliant people and most of us are not inclined to blame others for our own mistakes. We must examine our failed voting policies of the past and correct them. And we must do it before the next general election. Most of us are truly frightened by what is happening in Washington D.C. There is no time to waste.

The Lesser of Two Evils voting policy: This is the excuse we use when voting for borderline (or outright) criminals for public office. This rationale generally favors the incumbent as “the devil we know” vs. “the devil we don’t know”. This voter policy is directly responsible for negative campaign advertising. Voters almost universally don’t approve of negative campaign advertising BUT IT STILL WORKS. It works because it succeeds in planting the notion of greater evil about one or another candidate and political operatives know we will select the lesser of two evils. So long as this voter policy is in place the political operatives will be able to outmaneuver us. The major failure of this policy is that it promotes incumbency (the devil we know). Incumbency fosters the proliferation of unholy networks of public servants, lobbyists and political operatives (the parties) within which favors are done by the public servants and favors are paid for by the special interests. These are subtle exchanges, usually unlikely to be prosecutable in a court of law. If no politician could serve even a second term, these networks would deteriorate, there not being sufficient time to form them into stable, robust cabals.

The Straight Ticket voting policy: This policy simply applies the “Lesser of Two Evils” policy to slates of party candidates. Voters who tend to favor the Democrat platform vote for Democrats and vice versa. Because the voter now only has to make one decision, rather than many, it is a much more efficient path to political Armageddon. Similar to negative campaign advertising, this policy leads to a continual demonization war each party against the other. We now have rancorous political rhetoric bombarding us every day even when there are no elections in process. The consequence of this voting policy is incumbency squared. The parties are the promoters and the facilitators of the unholy networks within which wealth is transferred from special interests to politicians and, through legislation passed by the politicians, from the American voters to the special interests (guess who makes a profit on this). Parties almost always renominate an incumbent, so this voting policy practically guarantees high levels of long-term incumbency.

The question is, “Can we formulate a voting policy to break this cycle of voter failure?”. The answer is certainly “Yes” (else we are certainly doomed). Term limits you say? That is not a voting policy. That is an appeal to the legislature to pass a law to save us from ourselves. How pathetic is that? Not to mention the impracticality of it. Do you expect the U.S. Congress to ever pass a law that would derail it's gravy train? The unholy networks have been enormously profitable for most members of congress; and, although many of them will say they support term limits, the legislation itself will never, ever happen.

The Reboot Congress Voting policy: Just a few weeks before the election of 2008, Congressional approval hit an all time low of around 12%. One would therefore expect the reelection rate for sitting congressmen in 2008 to have been quite low, but in fact it turned out to be 94%! The last time the congressional reelection rate was below 94% was 1994. The lowest reelection rate in the last 50 years was in 1970 – 85%. Maybe we just love to hate these folks. In any case we have consistently empowered them to take advantage of us.

“And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable pre-eminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government, and be your rulers. And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation, for their vanquished competitors, of the same spirit, and from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavoring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.” Benjamin Franklin

We MUST say to these people, loudly and clearly, “You're fired!”. The successful voting policy is easy to implement. It requires no research, no soul searching. All the information needed to do it is printed right on the ballot. Simply do not check the box for an incumbent. If by this policy the American voter can limit Congress to a reelection rate of 75% in 2010, that will be enough to shatter the confidence of Washington D.C. And it will reverberate throughout the country at every level of government. If we can achieve a reelection rate less than 50%, that will be total victory. Yes, if we follow this policy, we're going to elect some scoundrel challengers who may be worse than the deposed incumbents, but they will know they are likely to be one-termers if they don't win our approval. Ultimately of course, we will have to adopt a different policy we'll call “the greater of two goods” - the sooner the better. But for now, as voters, we need to take drastic action.

YOU CAN TAKE ACTION NOW by clicking here and notifying your congressman of his/her term limit.


  1. Thank You! Signed on,and passed it on...

  2. My thanks for the post as well. Signed and passed on.

  3. I think straight ticket voting is the greatest travesty to the democratic process.