Comments about ‘Letter: Career politicians’

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Published: Friday, Jan. 24 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

It's up to the voters... er the caucus system... to throw this career politicians out.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

We dont need term limits.

We need MONEY limits. Much of these guys power comes from corporate and union money.

Why does the defense industry spend $120 Million dollars per year lobbying or $15+ million per year in campaign contributions?

You must admit, that must be fun. Think about the power these guys yield when so many want to give them so much.

Take the money away and much of the fun dries up.

Stahl: How many congressional offices did you actually own?
Abramoff: We probably had very strong influence in 100 offices at the time.

Abramoff: I spent over a million dollars a year on tickets to sporting events and concerts and what not at all the venues.

The problem is that our congressmen are the beneficiaries. They will not clean this up. They benefit far too much.

So, that leaves us. We Americans can demand (like grover norquist's pledge) that it be cleaned up.

Yet, so many voters turn a blind eye. Lots even defend it.

Why is this not something that both R and D can come together and fix.
Think of the kind of laws that would be written (or not written) if our congress was not bought.

airnaut
Everett, 00

Most Ironic of all --

Utah's own Senator Orrin Hatch has been re-elected what?, 7 times for nearly 42 years.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

True about the founders not wanting career politicians.

As to adding their re-election to the oath? Don't worry. For most, it is already inscribed on their heart.

FT
salt lake city, UT

Agreed! Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!!

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

Joe Blow

You might remember, back in 1994 the new Congress (the ditto head Congress) passed a term limit law. What happened? The Supreme Court ruled it un-constitutional. So, even if a law was passed by Congress that denied big money from trying to influence political policy, no doubt the Supreme Court would rule it a violation of First Amendment free speech rights. These days, money and speech are essentially the same thing, and I doubt any court would rule otherwise. If you took away peoples right to assemble and spend money for their cause you would be abolishing one of the basic fabrics of our constitution. Like you said, it's not term limits that will solve the problem it's electing the right people. And from my point of view it's Republicans. From your point of view it might be Democrats. And that takes us back to where we are. Stuck.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

The People decide who represents them in Congress. When an uninformed populace spends two minutes to decide how to vote, that populace will always get a "ring master" who struts around pretending that he and he alone can right the wrongs that he has helped create.

What is even more comical are the comments from those whose jobs depend on those career politicians, those people who have spent their entire lives working for the government, those people whose jobs would be in jeopardy if that "career" politician were removed from office. Some of those people even castigate anyone who they THINK might have voted for a careen politician when they, themselves, eat food provided to them by that politician, wear clothes provided to them by that politician, drive a car bought with money that was a direct result of the efforts of that politician.

The solution is simple. Reduce the salary. Remove any "pension". Remove the "perks" of office. Remove the barber shops, the "franking privileges", and everything else that separates them from us commoners. Let the politicians long for home instead of longing for office.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I disagree. I think the framers of the U.S. Constitution COULD, in their wildest dreams, envision a creature called a "career politician."

They were very familiar with career/lifetime politicians. They had first hand experience living under kings, queens, barons, coronets, and a whole class of people who's whole career was to preserve and cater to these career/lifetime politicians.

They knew the difference between "freemen" and "serfs".

That's the whole reason they came to America and eventually wrote our Constitution.

I don't think they wanted AMERICA to be ruled by career politicians. They knew what they were, and knew we needed to avoid that.

Since they were focused on "freedom" they stopped short of term limits. Since they were focused on "rule by the people"... they gave us elections. They divided power so total power could never be held by one man, or one political party, or even one branch of government.

They foresaw this. They had first hand experience with career politicians. Their response was the Constitution. The solution they gave us is... Constitutional limitations on government, and frequent elections.

Term limits are not needed if WE do our job.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Happy.

There is no constitutional law against raising taxes. However, we had a huge number of congressmen that signed a pledge against doing it.

That is what I am talking about.

"it's electing the right people. And from my point of view it's Republicans. From your point of view it might be Democrats. And that takes us back to where we are. Stuck."

Nope, I dont think its about electing Democrats. I happen to believe that there is very little difference between the two. And, based on history, even recent history, electing Republicans has not exactly produced good results.

That is why I am so confused by the partisan loyalty by so many.

Tell you what. Give me a candidate, R or D who does not take money from Corps or unions and votes only their conscience, and they will be better than the majority.

Congress is supposed to operate without even the "appearance of impropriety". Tell me how it is possible to vote on legislation affecting a company that has donated to your campaign and not cross that standard.

SG in SLC
Salt Lake City, UT

JoeBlow hit the nail on the head.

We already have term limits . . . they're called "elections".

The problem, as JoeBlow said, is money, particularly in the form of campaign donations and PAC/SIG/lobbyist gifts. There are a number of things that need to happen, though, to favorably alter the political landscape in a meaningful way:

1) The ruling stipulating that "money is speech" needs to be overturned, because money ISN'T speech; money IS influence (largely corrupting influence), but it isn't speech.

2) The ruling stipulating that "corporations are people" (Citizens United) needs to be overturned, because corporations AREN'T people; corporate officers are people, but corporations are just business constructs that exist for tax purposes and for continuity of operations.

3) Elected officials, and their immediate families and staffs, need to be prohibited from accepting ANY gift or donation from corporations or other organizations, and any gift or donation greater than $1000 value from any individual (high value personal gifts from immediate family members would be exempt). Violators of this prohibition would be charged with bribery.

4) And finally, Congress needs to be subject to the laws they pass -- no more exemptions.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Really.... you don't think they knew anything about career politicians?

Lets look at John Adams. He was in nearly continuous political offices from 1774 through until 1801 - 26 years.

James Madison was in office of one sort or another from 1781 until 1817 - 36 years

Benjamin Franklin was in and out of public office from 1751 until 1788 - 37 years

And lets not forget Thomas Jefferson who spent the most part of the time between 1775 through 1809 in either federal or state office. That is 34 years in government.

There is way more myth out there then fact about the "founding fathers". Saying they didn't believe in being career politicians is completely refuted by their own resumes. People ask why education is so important. This is a clear instance where people are stating things as historical truths that clearly are not supported by the record we have. The system we have, is the one they designed, good parts and warts as well.

Steve Cottrell
Centerville, UT

So let's vote for a new set of political leadership at country, state, and national levels next time!

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

JoeBlow,
RE: "Congress is supposed to operate without even the "appearance of impropriety"

How is it possible to vote on a bill you haven't even read? Just because your party boss or the President told you he have to?

How is it possible to lock the other party out of the room when designing that bill... and then expect them to vote for it? and be happy about it?

===

Nope, it's not about electing Democrats. It's about electing good people.

Too many people think it's about electing more Democrats. IMO they are wrong.

Same goes for the people who think the solution is as easy as electing more Republicans.

Both have their problems. Neither party is perfect... and the other comletelyevil. Until we can recognize that and really believe it (not just pretend we believe it) and show it in our actions and our votes... we will have this problem. But Nationally and in Utah.

It's about electing good people (not just our party's nominee). And not letting them stay their long. Because Washington eventually corrupts even the best people (Royal families like the Kennedy's and Clintons included).

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Unlike the writer of this letter, I cannot read the minds of other people, especially those of the Founders who have been dead for 200 years. But I doubt they "never envisioned" career politicians, since most of them were career politicians themselves.

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

Joe Blow

How about a guy like Mitt Romney? He would have fit the profile you are talking about. Voting his conscience. And he was rich enough that he did not need to take money for any office until the billion dollar Obama showed up. To run for President today you need a billion dollars. Either you get it from your own bank account, which limits the candidates to a handful in America, or you get it from thousands of small contributions. So where does that leave us? And, I suppose that if some of the Congressman or Senators had not challanged the new term limit law back in 1995, it would still be in effect. Just like the pledge to not raise taxes was never challanged in court. But term limits was challanged in court and we all lost. So where does that leave us?

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"How about a guy like Mitt Romney? He would have fit the profile you are talking about. Voting his conscience."

You sincerely believe that? I dont.

Romney was willing to "pretend" to be a "severe conservative" in order to get the nod.

He was not true to his ideology. He morphed into whatever he thought he needed to be in order to win. He governed as a right leaning moderate. But ran away from that history as fast as he could.

I could have voted for the real Romney. But was totally turned off by the pretend right winger he became.

2 bits

"How is it possible to lock the other party out of the room when designing that bill... and then expect them to vote for it? and be happy about it?"

The GOP never came to the table in earnest. They never had any intention of contributing their ideas to a health care bill. You and I both know that.

So, why bring someone to the table that is opposed to the core concept. (the core concept that their party proposed in the past)

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Irony Guy,
You don't have to read their minds. All you have to do is read their writings. Many of the founding fathers wrote about this concern specifically. Their thoughts on this are far from a mystery.

If we have the time to read the DesNews, but not the writings of Adams, Jefferson, Washington, etc... then we are left without trying to read their minds. But they actually wrote a lot about their thoughts on this.

===

I agree that they knew about career politicians. But I don't know if they were all "Career" politicians. Most of them were involved in the revolution, and had military leadership experience, and had worked in at least one profession before, during, and after, going into politics.

I think when we say "Career Politician" we mean people who have never had a real job outside government, community organizing, etc. Most of the founders had other professions before and after the convention. Many were elected to political offices (but went back to their professions after)

Just being elected doesn't make you a "career politician".

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It seems like most of the time we would happy to keep the same person that services our needs for as long as possible. Recently a lot of people have been complaining about not being able to keep their own doctor. I'm gone through doctors every few years for the last 60 years, none of the changes were due to Obamacare.

Corporations, churches tend to keep the same people in positions for long times. Voluntary jobs tend to change people regularly. Kiwanis reelected their officers every year. What would happen to a corporation that changed out their officers every couple of years for inexperienced and untrained managers.

If a person was elected to public office for life, like the Supreme Court judges, and if that person was fairly compensated and respected, would there be more or less criminal activity associated with government. Of course the person could be fired for cause, like in the corporations.

I would like to see a career path for people who would be in government with a school curriculum focusing on government. We would elect people based upon their education and experience rather than their lack of experience.

Grover
Salt Lake City, UT

The answer here is a simple one that no one has yet suggested: the Democratic party has to change its name to the Republican party. The net result would be that voters would be forced to vote for the person instead of the party designation after their name and it would make it impossible to vote a straight party ticket!

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Ha.... Love this line... "never had a real job outside government, community organizing, etc."

What do you think the founding fathers were? They were the most extreme examples of "community organizers" we have. The fought the status quo. They fought the prevailing common sense of the day. They were the progressives of their day.... those fighting for change.... and for the most part... they were the monied men of their day.

Look at James Madison for example. Born to one of the largest plantation owners in Virginia, was educated at Princeton University - graduating in 1771, and handful of years before entering politics in in 1775 in the state legislature. When he wasn't actually in office, he returned to work on the family plantation.... or "community organizing". He ended his public service in 1817 - after 42 years in the public forum. Hardly a working stiff who part timed in politics. In that day, the working class couldn't afford to be politicians - sound familiar?

Madison was not a religious man, and yet he fathered our most important document. Lets shed these idealized versions of these men.

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