One of the first things we can expect to see from the newly elected Democratic Congress is the political demise of John Bolton, America's ambassador to the Untied Nations. This isn't news. Everyone knows it, and everyone who voted in the recent election knew that his removal would be one result of the Democrats taking over Congress.
By virtually all accounts, Bolton, who is exactly the type of no-nonsense, no appeasement, no pulled-punches representative we have needed in that farce of an international culture club for a generation, does not have the votes in the new Congress to keep his temporary appointment. It also isn't likely that the new leadership of the House and Senate will have some sort of epiphany when they take a hard look at what is going on in that sewage treatment plant off the East River, so as with the current flood of evacuees from the Pentagon, we can expect to see him go too.
I have no doubt that his replacement will be a soft-spoken, hand wringing, forever smiling, forever spineless antithesis of Bolton. He or she will be of the mindset that the United States has no business being the United States, even though from the time of its formation to the present it has been peopled and advanced by outcast and downtrodden masses from Europe, Africa and Asia's dictatorships and monarchies, who have given the world a look at what really happens when we all are equal under the law.
No, we will get a politically correct apologist who lies awake at night torn into psychological shreds over the unfairness of a nation of immigrants proving the value of democracy while so many aristocrats and thugs are being hounded from their comfortable, overbearing, often murderous lifestyles and forced to fend for themselves.
Just look at "Old" Europe with its remnants of governments and ideologies gone by. It is personified by everlasting cocktail parties and soirees attended by contingents of champagne-sipping elitists wearing uniforms from long-vanquished armies, and jewelry stolen from the national treasuries of countries that ceased to exist as political entities generations ago.
American elitists believe these poor folks have been hounded and oppressed long enough. It is time for them to reacquire their rightful places of honor. After all, the Divine Right of Kings has not been repealed or disproven in their minds, and they believe it is obviously time to reassert the only true political ideology the world has seen.
They will, however, have to make room for the nouveau riche from the oil producing countries of the world. And they'll have to acknowledge the newly religiously powerful, as well as the resurgent communists, all of whom believe in their divine rights to rule the masses much as the old aristocrats did.
To accommodate all these born-again monarchs our new ambassador will be tied up twenty-four/seven appeasing and attempting to manipulate their conflicting aggressions and power grabs. No room in that mix for looking out for the interests of the United States.
Once again, the elitists from this country will be able to mix with elitists from European countries without having to apologize for our crudeness and lack of good manners and upbringing. The brie will be warm and pliable, the wine will linger on the palate with the most pleasant of aftertastes and the world order will be restored.
And the United States will again be viewed across the globe as an oaf, a sap, a dupe, a prime target for international muggings -- but no one will come out and say it so our aristocrats can look the other way in an orgy of denial. The citizenry of this once-great country will again watch its collective blood pressure increase exponentially and wonder how in hell this happened. Hey, you get what you vote for.
Which brings me to term limits. If you read previous posts at this site you know I am a supporter of Connecticut Congressman Rob Simmons who lost his bid for re-election by 90 votes. So it many seem to be somewhat of a contradiction when I say this is a classic example of why we need term limits, but it is not.
Simmons, like every other Congressman in the country, served two-year terms, meaning he faced re-election every other year. Political campaigns being what they are these days, that meant we got one year of his undivided attention working on issues that concerned our district, state and country before he had to divide his attention to spend the second year of each term running for office.
That meant out of a six-year term of service we got three years of real work and three years of campaigning. This happens to every Congressman out there.
The Senate on the other hand, serves six-year terms, so Senators give us five years of work, well maybe, for every one year of campaigning.
Thus the House is far more susceptible to the shifting winds of American political opinion, and good Congressmen like Simmons are far more likely to be ousted over dissatisfaction with issues that have nothing to do with them.
The voter registration in Simmons's district is weighted so heavily in favor of the Democrats that we can easily conclude that a Republican congressman serving three terms is living proof that district voters aren't all that happy with Democratic policies at the national level.
The fact that Simmons lost by only 90 votes further illustrates this point, and that his opponent didn't win because of overwhelming popularity or for that matter dissatisfaction with Simmons. Simmons may have lost support due to national and international matters but he didn't lose the election because his opponent was overwhelmingly seen as a better prospect. Simmons lost because local politicians played fast and loose with the electorate and he paid the price. (See post from Nov. 15.)
So why terms limits? Well, first I believe we should change the terms so Congressmen serve four years and Senators serve four years. Their terms should be staggered so a state isn't faced with reelecting its entire Congressional delegation at once.
Everyone else including governors and presidents gets four-year terms, so why not the Congress?
Service in each house should be limited to two terms. That means if you are a Congressman you can serve only eight years if the voters send you back after your first term. Same for the Senators. But out of eight years you get seven years of real work, instead of the 50-50 version we have now.
Under my plan you can serve eight years as both senator and congressman if the voters like you that much, so in total you could serve 16 years. But that would be it. And if the voters weren't happy with you, they'd have a shot at ousting you every four years.
This would put a real crimp on the need for lobbyists in Washington, who really are running the country, and would make all our congressional representatives far more responsive to the voters, while at the same time buffering them somewhat from whims and fleeting distractions.
Senators would be far more responsive than they are now, Representatives would have a little breathing room, which they desperately need, and the public still would be adequately served.
Best of all, we would be spared those news clips of dinosaurs roaming the halls of Congress. You know who they are. They are returned time and time again because everyone who is anyone in their state party structure owes their jobs to them, and because all the lobbyists on K Street in Washington are only too happy to pour an unending supply of greenbacks into the reelection machines.
Then there would be things we could count on, like responsiveness in government, far greater public input, reduction of bought-and-paid-for Senators, and reasonable assurance that people who really are doing the work of the American people, like John Bolton, will stay on the job long enough to have some positive results.
The only downside I see to this is that a bunch of elitists who are totally out of touch with reality will have to face up to the fact that they really aren't smarter or better than the rest of us. That won't be a pretty sight to be sure, but what the heck, it will keep the American psychiatric community in business for at least another generation.
Friday, November 17, 2006