Tenured incompetence

Congress' abysmal performance cries out for serious reform

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If the American people have learned just one thing from the debacle in Washington these past few weeks, perhaps it should be how desperately and completely we need term limits in Congress.

We already knew we had a ruling elite in Washington – a cabal of the connected that this page has repeatedly called imperious and impervious. They are undeniably imperious – as they flit happily above the laws they write for the rest of us, their gymnasium quite operational even as the government tries to turn away World War II veterans from their outdoor memorial.

They are impervious too, sadly enough of our own doing, as voters can rarely overcome the power of incumbency which we, ourselves, fuel with taxes and special interest monies.

But the government shutdown and the conflict over whether to raise the debt ceiling have highlighted yet another intractable problem in Washington: These entrenched rulers in Washington can’t work together.

They’ve been fighting each other for years, in some cases decades. There’s bad blood. They often don’t like each other, and they most certainly don’t trust each other.

They’re on constant prowl for political advantage over one another. It’s their livelihood, after all. They gotta eat, you know. So instead of looking out for the country, they’re playing chess against each other.

The rest of us are pawns in that game.

So many leaders, so little leadership.

While the government shutdown can legitimately be blamed on Republicans, approval ratings for both Republican House Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., are in the teens. And despite – or maybe because of – his repeated acid-tongued rebukes of Republicans, President Obama’s approval rating dipped to 37 percent last week.

Clearly none of the players is covered in glory in this charade.

We need term limits. We need them desperately. And if this latest, historic political disaster is any indication, we may need term limits to preserve the Union.

How to get there?

The courts have made clear that congressional term limits can only come through a constitutional amendment.

Many folks think that’s impossible because they mistakenly believe Congress itself must initiate the amendment process. Not so.

Article V of the Constitution allows either two-thirds of Congress or two-thirds of state legislatures (34) to call a constitutional convention. If the states call it, then Congress is reduced to the role of facilitator.

Some scholars worry that a constitutional convention might open a can of worms, through which faulty amendments could be approved or existing ones altered for the worse. We understand that concern completely. But others believe, and we agree with them, that a constitutional convention can be called for specific purposes, such as term limits, and be confined to the intended topics.

In fact, we’re certain that legislatures would insist on it. Either way, no amendment would become the law of the land without further ratification by an even larger majority of the states: three-fourths.

We also understand the argument that a constitutional amendment is so difficult to propose and ratify that it will never happen. The Chronicle’s editorial department has been told that to our faces by esteemed conservative leaders in Washington.

We just don’t agree.

In fact, we proffer evidence to the contrary: Gregory Watson.

The former University of Texas student once wrote a paper on a proposed constitutional amendment. He got a “C” on the paper. Then, armed only with a typewriter and costly long-distance telephone service, he proceeded to get that amendment ratified by 1992. It is now the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Don’t tell us it can’t be done.

We believe a constitutional convention should be called to propose two amendments: term limits and federal spending restrictions. Conservative commentator Mark Levin has proposed others in his book The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic.

Congress may never call for such amendments, but has inadvertently proved over and over, through its tenured incompetence, the inescapable need for them.

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grouse
1635
Points
grouse 10/12/13 - 10:49 pm
0
0
We have a mechanism for term
Unpublished

We have a mechanism for term limits. It's called elections. We need to elect better people.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 10/12/13 - 10:49 pm
0
0
We have a mechanism for term
Unpublished

We have a mechanism for term limits. It's called elections. We need to elect better people.

bubbasauce
21128
Points
bubbasauce 10/13/13 - 12:15 am
10
2
I whole heartily agree one

I whole heartily agree one thousand percent!! First we have to get these legal gangsters out of office and that is going to take everyone going to the polls, especially the working class people whom have become blind to what's going on in our soon to be lost nation.

ymnbde
9903
Points
ymnbde 10/13/13 - 07:48 am
6
2
if you mix government with education you get government

if you mix government with health care you get government
if you mix government with weather you get government
if you mix government with freedom you get government
if you mix government with charity you get government
if you mix government with (insert any word here)
you get government
our government is of, by, and for, its own self
government power is used to retain government power
term limits became necessary a long time ago
because someone from a small district in San Francisco
(or someone from a small district in Marietta)
should not have so much power
because government of the people, by the people
and for the people
turns into a simple product of government
marketed by government
for the profit of the government
it could be called O'government
O'care reduces the ratio of doctors to patients
and will not improve health care
but it does make government even more powerful
O'ducation has proven to be less effective
than private education
but it does make government even more powerful
O'weather has been proven to be false
but it does make government even more powerful
yes, term limits
(then school choice... shhh)

Riverman1
84926
Points
Riverman1 10/13/13 - 09:18 am
9
1
Constitution, Constitution, Constitution

Article I, Section 7 says all revenue bills shall originate in the House of Representatives. Is Congress supposed to be a rubber stamp for the President or do its duty?

deestafford
27877
Points
deestafford 10/13/13 - 09:26 am
6
3
This editorial is right on target.

The idea of asking Congress to buy into an amendment on term limits is like asking an alcoholic living in a distillery to give up drinking. It won't happened because they are addictive to the power, perks, and money that they can't earn anywhere else.

People interested in this subject do need to read Mark Levin's book. Like all his books it is clear, easy to understand, on point, practical, and hard to put down. The idea of a runaway convention would be held in check by the state legislatures having to approve any amendments as the editorial points out.

In addition to term limits, Levin makes another great proposal in his book and that is the repeal of the 17th Amendment that requires US Senators to be elected by popular vote rather than being selected by the state legislatures as initially laid out by the Founders. The senators were supposed to represent the interests of the states and the representatives in the House were to represent the interests the people. These two are not always the same. Today, there is no elected person in DC who represents the interests of the state. The only one representing the interests of the state are the lobbyists states send to DC to represent them.

The 17th Amendment moved the country closer toward a "democracy" rather than a Republic as laid out by the Founders who fear a pure democracy. A democracy is nothing more than two wolves and a lamb voting for what to have for lunch. One has to study only the French Revolution to understand what pure democracy can do.

Democracy leads to a form of government whereby the "people" learn they can elected people who will continually vote to give their voters more and more of the money from the national treasury until eventually the country goes broke. We are on the road to that now with politicians focusing mainly on giving more and more to those who vote for them so they can stay in office. This also happens at the local and state level by public unions voting in politicians who vote on raising union wages of governmental employees.

Please read Levin's book.

Doug Duncan
346
Points
Doug Duncan 10/13/13 - 10:05 am
5
3
The Liberty Amendments

Deestafford is right on target! I finished reading Levin's book yesterday. Its full of solutions to our problems. I highly recommend it for all who love and want to save our country.

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 10/13/13 - 10:13 am
5
1
Changing The Constitution

It is a very good, and needed, suggestion to try and change The Constitution. I read where one guy was mostly responsible for getting The 27th Ammendment passed. I have to say, in my opinion, it would be next to impossible to get this done!!

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 10/13/13 - 10:16 am
3
4
General comment

I must take the time to say to The Ahgusta Chronicle how refreshing it is to read an editorial that is neutrally fair!! Congrats!

dichotomy
33540
Points
dichotomy 10/13/13 - 10:40 am
5
1
"we may need term limits to

"we may need term limits to preserve the Union."

There IS NO UNION anymore. There IS NO "THEY". It is WE. This country is split 50/50 on fiscal and social issues. The only difference between the philosophical split in the country now and during the Civil War is that there is not a geographical line to launch a cannon ball across.

soapy_725
43686
Points
soapy_725 10/13/13 - 10:49 am
1
0
It is our Fourth American Revolution. 1776-1861-1963-2013
Unpublished

The last attempt to save personal freedom. The last time, "we hold these truths to be self evident..." The last time ordain a Constitution of laws.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 10/13/13 - 11:00 am
0
0
For once I'm in agreement
Unpublished

For once I'm in agreement with an article written by the editorial staff. It does mention which party most Americans believe share the majority of the blame without heavy mudslinging at particular people. Both parties are corrupt!!! As mentioned, there is no way they'd vote for term limits on their own. There's too much non-salary money at stake for politicians. I would like to see age limits added as well... but that's not as important than term limits. We also need to focus on additional political parties to join in.... this monopoly that dems & reps have is a lose lose for the American people.

karradur
2854
Points
karradur 10/13/13 - 11:47 am
3
11
The Chronicle talks a good game about the Constitution.

But completely ignores the fact that the Republican leadership in both the House (Representative Boehner) and the Senate (Senator Cruz and Senator Paul) are actually in direct violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

And nobody seems to care.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 10/13/13 - 01:45 pm
4
2
" But completely ignores the
Unpublished

" But completely ignores the fact that the Republican leadership in both the House (Representative Boehner) and the Senate (Senator Cruz and Senator Paul) are actually in direct violation of the Fourteenth Amendment."
karradur, I notice you did not include the lying, racist, America hating communist in the WH. He is not enforcing the law by giving his buddies in union and companies a pass on the mandate. The repubs want give everyone the same pass.

Bill Walker
5
Points
Bill Walker 10/13/13 - 02:07 pm
3
1
Editorial Staff still hasn't learned

The editorial staff of this paper still hasn't learned its lesson. It complains about issues in the government then leaves out the most important information. It recommends reading Levin's book. Bad mistake. He leaves out the same information.

Here is the missing information. The states have already applied in sufficient number to cause a convention call. They have already asked for term limits to the tune of 30 states asking for the issue. It will therefore be on the convention agenda.

I've written this before in this paper and it was ignored by the staff. Wanna bet they will do it again? You can read the 746 applications from 49 states (including the 30 term limit applications aforementioned) at www.foavc.org. The Constitution mandates a convention call by Congress if 34 states submit 34 applications.

Go to the site. Read the applications. By the way also read that Congress is deciding the issue right now. There is a story about Levin's book. Before you go whole hog and swallow Levin you might discover the facts mean there are some bones that get stuck in the throat if you do.

The question that everyone should be asking is this: why is Augusta Chronicle not telling the whole truth about a convention? Don't they think the readers have a right to all the facts and the right to make up their own minds about this based on all the facts? Appears they don't and if they are not telling all about this issue, what else are they not telling all about?

Bizkit
32159
Points
Bizkit 10/13/13 - 02:26 pm
2
2
America will always be

America will always be divided, but having just two political parties assures that division. Best strategy is no party because why feed the divide. Let em' duke it out as individual representatives of the people rather than a surrogate of a large political conglomerate. Wow what a novel idea and the way it was suppose to be. They represent party before people.

deestafford
27877
Points
deestafford 10/13/13 - 03:33 pm
3
1
Mr Walker, thanks for your hard work and links on this subject.

I went to the website and also read your 13+ page critique of Levin's book. After doing so the following are my impressions of what I read:

It is obvious you are a lawyer who is very familiar, knowledgeable, and passionate about this subject and it is great to have people such as yourself fighting for this cause.

As I read your work, it appears that any applications going to Congress can just be tossed into a black hole and never see the light of day because many/some of the applications pertain to Congress cutting its own throat; e.g., term limits. And if I read you correctly, Congress is the only source of a Article V convention being called and without that there can never be a convention because the only way any amendment will ever get proposed to the states is by Congressional approval. Is that correct?

Numerous times you said the people would not be represented if the process was done by the state legislatures. Are not the state legislatures representatives of the people? Did not the colonies select the representatives to the first convention by a group of people in the colonies being analogous to a legislature? Would not the representatives selected by the state legislatures be the same source as the ones in the original convention? I think one of the biggest problems we have in the operation of today's government is the lack of power for running the country not being influenced by the states but rather by a centralized power in Washington. After all, contrary to what Obama and many of his liberal friends have stated, the states created the federal government not the other way around. Did not the Founders envision the power being at the state level rather than concentrated at the federal level as it is today?

It appears that you have been working diligently on this subject with many other kindred souls and there are some sour grapes because Levin has got a lot of publicity and attention in a relative short time while y'all have been beating your heads against the wall for years with little or no recognition. There seems to be much ill feelings on your part toward Levin and his efforts rather than wanting to hitch both mules to the same trace and pull toward the common goal of straightening out this mess we have got ourselves in by letting the progressives/statists/liberals/socialists run wild.

Once again, I appreciate your dedication, hard work and sincerely hope you will make headway in the amendment process.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 10/13/13 - 06:04 pm
0
0
Unfortunately
Unpublished

most Americans are illiterate and ignorant. We should have enacted tort reform a long time ago but "one call that's all" is the lottery for these folks. Then you get a bunch of smooth talking pieces of trash, the clintons and the obamas, and the ignorance shines. Blacks seek the terminal downfall of caucasians and can't see past the illegal weapons they use to rob and murder in masse. When the Chinese and Middle Easterners complete their take over of America, these same Americans will wonder just what happened and then blame it on us, the Tea Party.

Truth Matters
6986
Points
Truth Matters 10/13/13 - 06:52 pm
2
4
"While the government

"While the government shutdown can legitimately be blamed on Republicans....,"

Does this mean that conservatives will not return the TP members back to congress?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Clearly none of the players is covered in glory in this charade."

It makes some feel better to claim equal blame___"a pox on both their houses," but that simply is not the case. The so-called MSM has allowed itself to be neutered by the right's complaint of bias. Newt Gingrich demonstrated how this is done during the 2012 debates. No matter what the question or topic, attack the media. Soon, the media fear the attack and sit back and allow the right to make claims that virtually go unchallenged.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/carl-bernstein-slams-media-s-50-50...

harley_52
23639
Points
harley_52 10/13/13 - 08:54 pm
4
1
"While the government shutdown....

....can legitimately be blamed on Republicans...."

Only if one can legitimately "blame" somebody for doing their job.

Republicans in the House are the only ones here who are doing what they were elected to do and what the Constitution demands of them. It's the President who has decided to "shut down" the government and has the Senate democrats shilling for him.

The Republicans have tanked in to polls because NOBODY is happy with their performance. Democrats hate all Republicans and Conservative Republicans have no use for the blue-blood wing of the Republican party.

The big winner here is Ted Cruz. He has become the spokesman of the Republican party. The media and ALL of the politicians who hate Conservatives are tearing him apart, but the overwhelming majority of American voters see him as a hero.

Watch and see.....

deestafford
27877
Points
deestafford 10/13/13 - 09:08 pm
3
1
One of the problems is all the talking heads and "experts" are

all in DC talking to each other and not understanding how badly this is playing our for Obama and the Democrats and how well Ted Cruz is admired.

It seems to me some of the staunchest conservatives we have on Fox News and other parts of the media don't really understand what's happening out here in fly over country.

The recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll which sent all the conservatives and RHINO Republicans running for their nitroglycerin tablets was soiled. It surveyed 11% more democrats than republicans and twice as many households (20%) with a government worker in the household than normal. Additionally, one thing you didn't hear about that was in that poll was 51% believing Obama is acting solely out of political considerations and not what's best for the country.

Speaking of polls, where were all the liberal talking heads and media when the poll came out the other day showing Obama with 37% approval rating? Remember when GW Bush had a 37% approval rating and the media went on about it for hours. Wolf Blitzer was as gaddy as a 16 year old girl going to her first prom.

The Tea Party, which all it wants is lower taxes and limited government, will be stronger in 2014 and 2016 than it was in 2010.

deestafford
27877
Points
deestafford 10/13/13 - 09:08 pm
2
1
One of the problems is all the talking heads and "experts" are

all in DC talking to each other and not understanding how badly this is playing our for Obama and the Democrats and how well Ted Cruz is admired.

It seems to me some of the staunchest conservatives we have on Fox News and other parts of the media don't really understand what's happening out here in fly over country.

The recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll which sent all the conservatives and RHINO Republicans running for their nitroglycerin tablets was soiled. It surveyed 11% more democrats than republicans and twice as many households (20%) with a government worker in the household than normal. Additionally, one thing you didn't hear about that was in that poll was 51% believing Obama is acting solely out of political considerations and not what's best for the country.

Speaking of polls, where were all the liberal talking heads and media when the poll came out the other day showing Obama with 37% approval rating? Remember when GW Bush had a 37% approval rating and the media went on about it for hours. Wolf Blitzer was as gaddy as a 16 year old girl going to her first prom.

The Tea Party, which all it wants is lower taxes and limited government, will be stronger in 2014 and 2016 than it was in 2010.

Young Fred
17614
Points
Young Fred 10/13/13 - 10:19 pm
4
1
Term limits...

sound good.

the first thing I would do is limit Senators time of "service". I say "service" with a big arz snicker.

I wish all would go back and look at former senators that eventually became president.

Overall it ain't a pretty picture!

dahreese
4727
Points
dahreese 10/14/13 - 10:40 am
2
2
Apparently there's nothing
Unpublished

Apparently there's nothing like money (federal money in this case) to get people all riled up, including the AC editorial staff. And, as I have been a critic of the poor quality of the AC editorials, both content and quality of writing, for the written and thought provoking quality of the editorial above, I say congratulations (whether I may or may not agree with it).

Term limits may or may not help the American nation. There are pros and cons about it. One being, but not limited to, a congress person being able to make decisions based not just on the/an impulse of the moment (as impulsive as some of our daily posters above are already giving their "Amen!" to the above editorial, as they do every day) but voting via a long term historical experience and perspective.

But if the political playing field is to be leveled and "the people" are to control our government, our election process needs financial limitations, more so than term limits, to the extent that the political contributions to a candidate can not be controlled by big political donations over the smaller donations of everyday voters.

Such a Constitutional case is soon to come before the Supreme Court (McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission) and already conservative Supreme Court judges justices are signaling their no limit on contributions views, "Three and a half million isn't all that much money." (Scalia).

If one man can give a hundred dollars to a candidate, but ten other people don't have a hundred dollars between them to give, the candidate, if he wants to remain elected, is going to listen to the greater financial contributor.

It becomes, then, not a matter of who is the better candidate, but the election of a candidate controlled by money.

Big money continues to win and YOU LOSE.

I have not read Levin's book, but thank you Bill Walker for the heads up on Levin's views.

Also, glad to know I'm not the only one who views Talking Points Memo.

May I also recommend Juan Cole "Informed Perspective."

carcraft
26262
Points
carcraft 10/15/13 - 05:39 am
1
0
"Term limits may or may not

"Term limits may or may not help the American nation. There are pros and cons about it. One being, but not limited to, a congress person being able to make decisions based not just on the/an impulse of the moment (as impulsive as some of our daily posters above are already giving their "Amen!" to the above editorial, as they do every day) but voting via a long term historical experience and perspective."

Sorta like Nancy Pelosi's "We have to pass it to know what's in it" Yes the elder, knowledgeable statesman at work!!!

dahreese
4727
Points
dahreese 10/15/13 - 02:49 pm
0
2
Carcraft, this is the only
Unpublished

Carcraft, this is the only reply you’re going to get.

Darby
26070
Points
Darby 10/16/13 - 10:33 am
2
0
"While the government shutdown can legitimately

be blamed on Republicans..............................."

.
Where in the entire universe did THAT come from...???

The Republicans are the ONLY party willing and/or offering to debate or negotiate. If you refuse to come to the table based on the single reason that you have the power to get away with it, the YOU ALONE are responsible for "shutting down" the government.

Which by the way, is a misnomer given that the government is still going strong, spending, giving away and otherwise wasting taxpayers hard earned money.

No, the arrogant, incompetent, inexperienced and unaccomplished (control freak) Obama is single-handedly responsible for this mess and he is reveling in it.

Talk about your Peter Principle!

Darby
26070
Points
Darby 10/16/13 - 10:47 am
2
0
As for term limits, that would be the greatest thing to happen

to the United States since 1787, but it's never going to be because, short of a Constitutional Convention, Congress would have to approve it, essentially voting themselves out of power.

The people, theoretically could have imposed term limits on the Senate until the ill advised passage and approval of the Seventeenth Amendment.

Don't hold your breath waiting for some demonstration of responsibility from those five hundred and thirty-five self-indulgent parasites on Capital Hill.

You and all your children, grandchildren and, for that matter your great-great-grandchildren will die of old age before that happens!

Darby
26070
Points
Darby 10/16/13 - 10:58 am
1
0
Any statement to the effect that Republicans are

somehow in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment is simply a manifestation of an outright lie.

If anyone disagrees with that, please provide documentation.. I'd REALLY, REALLY like to see what you have.

Getting little sick of that rhetoric.

Darby
26070
Points
Darby 10/16/13 - 11:07 am
2
0
@bledsoe - You do know don't you that the Twenty-Seventh

Amendment was passed by Congress in 1789, the same year that George Washington was first inaugurated?

It was ratified by only two states that year and had to wait until 1992 before getting enough state's ratification to become law.

Term limits faces a much, much more formidable obstacle. It ain't gonna happen. Not ever!

Unfortunately.

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