Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Governmental Power

“Boy, here is a good example off what happens to individuals who once tastes the power of elected office. It is a very addictive form of power and is a taste so sweet that once a person has a taste for it he is unwilling to let go of it.

The New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, wants to defy present law and seek a third term in office. The counsil is expected to pass legislation later this year extending the limit to three terms. This would benefit the counsil as well as the mayor. The question is whether they should be allowed to do this in defiance of two referendums of the people supporting the fifteen-year law.

The Christian Science Monitor supports this change using the excuse of and I quote, “Mr. Bloomberg (an independent) should be allowed to seek a third term because that would provide voters the fullest choice at the ballot box next year.” This is an excuse not a reason.

It is an excuse rather than a reason because if what they say is true then the voters were not allowed the fullest choice since the term limits law was passed and the people themselves supported that. More important is the fact that the people supported the reasoning behind term limits

Another excuse that the Monitor uses to support this change is and I again quote “With no reelection prospects ahead, office-holders are tempted to go for the short-term policy play and ignore long-term issues.” The key word here is tempted. We can sit here all day long and cite the temptations that every politician has once he is elected.

So, is the fact that politicians are tempted to do things a good reason to change the laws on term limits? In my opinion, it is not. Remember, if the people voted in the right person in the first place that person would not give in to the temptations of his office. In addition, if a politician does give in to the temptations, the limit on terms will in itself be a check on how much that politician will benefit from it.

We passed a Constitutional amendment limiting the holder of the office of the President to two terms and we did so for a good reason. That same reasoning should be applied to every political office. Politics, in a country that declares itself as being of the people and for the people, should never be considered as a career choice.

Making politics a career choice and there are many who have upsets the whole purpose and meaning behind the idea of self-government. It no longer is a government of the people but a government of that person. It no longer becomes a government for the benefit of the people but a government for the benefit of that person. We need to remember that self-interest is the primary attribute that drives each and every one of us in our actions and politicians are no different as much as we would like them to be.

This is not to say that there are not any good politicians whose motives are pure. It is not to say that every politician would not make a good office holder if he decided to make holding that office a career choice. Those same statements could also be said of a monarch or a dictator. That is all a career politician is, an elected dictator or monarch. The only difference being is that he is limited in power by the Constitution.

Those who see a politician as being altruistic and deserving of remaining in office are those who see nothing but good in their representative. They ignore the rest of him. This in itself is probably the greatest danger to a people who seek to rule themselves.”

With that said, grandpa just went back to reading his paper.

I just nodded not sure I understood what he was trying to say, then just glanced over at grandma in hopes that she could explain.


BB-Idaho said...

Had a bit of term limits politics up this way: guy won by promising
to serve only three terms. The power thing got to him cuz he changed his mind. From Wiki:
"Nethercutt's campaign against Foley included significant attention to Foley's opposition to term limits. In 1992, Washington state voters had approved a ballot measure limiting the terms of Washington officials, including federal officials such as U.S. Representatives. Foley had brought suit contesting the constitutionality of this limit and won in court. Nethercutt repeatedly cited the caption of Foley's lawsuit — "Foley against the People of the State of Washington" — and promised each time that he would serve no more than three terms (six years) in the House.

The Democrats mounted a serious bid to regain the seat Foley had held for 30 years, but Nethercutt won by an unexpectedly large 12-point margin. He was handily reelected in 1998. In 2000, when his pledge to serve only three terms would have kicked in, Nethercutt changed his mind and announced his intention to run for re-election again, infuriating term-limits supporters. Nethercutt was nevertheless re-elected without much difficulty in 2000 and in 2002." ..promise them anything...

The Griper said...

sounds like another perfect example of what happens once a politician tastes the sweetness of governmental power.

kinda makes a person wonder what it was about Geo. Washington that made him step down after a couple of terms or what it was about Roosevelt that made him seek so many terms.

BB-Idaho said...

Hard to say about Roosevelt, but G. Washington, IMHO, took on the job reluctantly to start with; he didn't like politics, he hated the idea of the incipient parties that were forming, he was very reluctant to serve his second term.
He was aware of the historical precedent; that he was setting the standard..and it is telling that he was the first president of the Society of Cinncinati-the group that admired the Roman Cinncinatus, who dissolved his own dictatorship to return to farming, once the crisis had past:
service to country. Pretty rare, and lucky the founding fathers were that way (well, except for
Hamilton and Burr..the start of
violent personal politics..) :)

The Griper said...

he may have took the job reluctently but it seems as if he was a natural leader, one that people wanted to follow. it seems as if he was the leader of any group he was associated with, the armed services at that time, the Constitutional convention, then the country. a leader who did not relish the role or one who did not enjoy the power that came with the role?

The Griper said...

come to think about it, the story of cinncinatus ought to be required reading for any freshman to politics. it says a lot not only about politics but the difference between a country at peace and one at war.

Average American said...

Some rare people are just natural born leaders. Washington was one of them. Alas, it's been quite a while since we had one run the country.

The Griper said...

the very corruptive nature of power may be one reason too. a natural leader may understand this better than most. thus making only those already corrupt seek to possess it.

if Cinncinatus and Washington are examples then natural leaders need to be sought out of the crowd to lead. he does not seek to lead as most politicians do.

but that is only a passing thought coming from reading your comments.thought.

The Griper said...

sits here and laughs as he reads his own comment. scratch that last word all. lol


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