Timothy R. Clark: Elected office was never intended to be a career

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    April 26, 2013 9:27 p.m.

    George Washington showed us the way. He did his two terms and left. He didn't need a term limit rule. He was a man of honor and principle. He showed politicians the correct path but few have followed. It would be nice if politicians would follow his lead...But they all know better.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 26, 2013 5:58 p.m.

    bandersen - the big difference between you and I is you believe the government is a foreign entity.... I believe it is the agent of the people. It is only as corrupt, or inept as the people - we - elect. The buck falls no shorter than at our feet.

    If we are the government - or the government is us - then it is up to us to make sure government is doing the peoples will. Any abdication of that responsibility in my opinion.... claiming government is anything other than a representation and agent of us... is an attempt to excuse ourselves of responsibility.

    But when you view the government as an enemy... yeah... I could see your view. Problem is to me is these same prophets have also claimed this government was instituted of God.

    Claiming governments that force people to do right is satin's plan is absurd. Brigham instituted a secular government that prohibited drinking, open commerce on sundays, etc... and many of those laws persist today. The books are full of laws that force you to do the right thing.... are these all instituted of satan... or only the ones you don't like.... ?

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 26, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    Ulta Bob: Any laws, whether by God, or man, are made to promote proper action. Socialism, as uncomfortable as you are with the label, is man's version of actions to 'help the poor', but they never, ever allow for agency, which is the paramount principle with God. Agency is the foundation of anything good. Call it what you may, but any system that continues to take away agency is not anything close to God's system. You may want a system where charity is present, but any system devised by man is not charitable. In fact, it is just the opposite. It does not include God and tears down the qualities that make God's system possible. Hence, Socialism is, in the end, anti-God. Label it what you may, a rose by any other name is still a rose.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 26, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    Utah Blue Devil: All humans have a stewardship over others. You might call me a conservative. I don't view myself as any of the labels that you would label me. I do believe in the same scriptures you quoted, but that is where it ends. The government of man is quite different than the government of God. Socialism is man's attempt to be like God. It bears no resemblance to God's manner of dealing with the poor, etc., in any way, shape, or form. As an LDS person, a quick review of past prophet's words on Socialism should open your eyes as to the evils of Socialism. I am here to help my neighbor,not delegate to an amoral, corrupt, uncharitable system that responsibility. Those who want to delegate that responsibility to government, usually already financially well off, fall into a trap of not wanting to really help their neighbor, but more than happy to force, through taxation, etc., others to help their neighbor. Patronizing, passive participants, wanting to use force to compel others to participate. Satan's plan all over.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 26, 2013 6:04 a.m.

    J Thompson - the thing is most american do agree with much - good schools, safe streets, defense of our nation, and even the need to control the budget. There may be differences between how sides see getting to those ends... but at the end of the day.... most Americans want the same basic things.

    It is the parties that spend much time and effort emphasizing the differences, to the point that those differences seem to be all that matters. In a recent poll of Democrats - nearly 70 object to abortion upon demand. But you would never know that if you listen to the voices screaming from the edges. Same with several issues on the conservative side... polls showed 80 percent of 'conservatives" approved of increased background checks for gun purchases.

    But we are letting the tail wag the dog... and the fact that we agree upon much is lost in all the yelling.

  • Mad Hatter Provo, UT
    April 26, 2013 12:10 a.m.

    Term limits results in a congressional staff holding the knowledge necessary for passing good legislation. With term limits, there is never sufficient time for a legislator to develop the skills and knowledge to effectively conduct the business of Congress. However, it is also necessary to weed out the incompetent and retain the competent, but term limits is not the answer.

    Also, the primary purpose of any congressional officeholder is to get re-elected. That comes before actually doing any legislative business. Since everyone likes their legislator and doesn't like other people's legislators, one can readily see the problem. Then, there are gerrymandered congressional districts which severely restricts competition at the congressional level. One party dominates and that party's base controls who is available since they dominate the nomination process. Getting a good congressional representative becomes difficult.

    Campaign finance reform is probably the best way to remove the need for congressional representatives always having to spend most of their time fundraising. It would also eliminate the special interests who dominate the legislative process. Additionally, eliminating gerrymandered districts should open the process up for true representative government.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    April 25, 2013 8:29 p.m.

    Eric Samuelsen,

    You are right. And I am skeptical too.

    I did not suggest it because I thought is was likely but because I thought it was the best outcome.

    Where just one state imposes term limits, they put themselves at somewhat of a disadvantage politically as their legislators will generally have less seniority and power. So, there is no incentive there.

    Voting the bums out sounds great. But it simply does not happen. The power of incumbency is too great.

    What are your thoughts/ideas on the subject?

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    April 25, 2013 8:05 p.m.

    Twin Lights:
    I agree with your reasoning, but it's difficult. Passing a constitutional amendment is difficult, and would require votes from guys already in office. Which is why I'm skeptical.

  • FT1/SS Virginia Beach, VA
    April 25, 2013 7:06 p.m.

    Term limits will never happen, congress will not pass a law that will kick them out of office. As long as we continue to have low information voters, and voters who only vote for there party we'll continue to have career politicians. I took the advise of a friend and never re-elect a politician. They only get my vote once.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 25, 2013 6:45 p.m.

    It would be interesting to know which of the definitions you are using when you say socialism. Maybe you are using all of them, which is not the proper way to use the English language.

    Most of the time, we derive the meaning of a word by breaking it down into its parts. In this case the word social, which has many meanings but the most important in this case seems to be “people working together for a mutual benefit”. The ism part seems to mean a belief system.

    As for the God part, I tend to put more weight on the laws that are built into living things, like humans for instance. Gods laws, as relayed from dubious human beings who are probably following the laws that are built in have lesser weight.
    Even so, it would be great if everyone would follow the laws that you like.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 25, 2013 3:15 p.m.

    Until lobbiests are banned, political contributions and soft money from all kinds of sources (Unions, NRW, Trial Lawyers, Businesses), retirements, perks, franking, etc, etc, etc,are done away with nothing will happen.

    The only way to fix this is to get a constitutional amemdment passed for 1- Term Limits, 2-Mandating that Congress live by all laws they pass.

    As far as I'm concerned, Hatch can stay in as long as he wants. While I haven't agreed with everything he's done, he at least works hard for Utah.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    April 25, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    There can be no division between people or parties unless both people/parties want that division. There can also be no compromise on principles or those principles are destroyed. Surely UtahBlueDevil knows that absence of love and of charity are not the evils of one party alone.

    We will be "one" when people can agree on what we should be. We have a Constitution that half the people have tossed out or modified in their minds to mean something other than what is written. We have a President who swore an oath to protect that Constitution and then used his "pulpit" to shout at Senators who stood up for the protections guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment.

    I agree that no politician should serve multiple terms and that no politician should ever become so "popular" that he can make a career out of "service". But, term limits is the wrong way to handle things. We, the people, have a responsibility to clean house and to see that fresh faces are on the ballot each election cycle.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 25, 2013 1:29 p.m.

    I am not a preachy kind of guy... I hold my faith very dear... and don't use it to battle other with. But when I read 4th Nephi... and then I hear "conservatives' talk about individualism, I have a hard time reconciling this. For nealy 100 years, people lived together in peace - because there were no "ties" among them... they were all "one".

    But then we read

    "24 And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in apride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world.

    25 And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more acommon among them."

    Now I am not in favor of what conservatives throw around as "socialism".... but there is undoubtable a stewardships we have with one and another.... and emphasizing "self" over others.... that seems to fall into the wrong camp to me.

    I am tired of people taking the easy route and dividing our society into little "ties"... we need to be one people. Our leaders need to be one...

  • Danish American Payson, UT
    April 25, 2013 1:03 p.m.

    When the Constitution was originally written the House was to be elected by the individual voters to represent the population as a whole. Senators were to be elected by the State Legislatures to represent the States interests. This was changed by a foolish, populist campaign. If the Senate represented the States as intended would we have the unfunded mandates we have now. Harry Reid couldn't have gotten 145% of the votes of the Legislature! States rights wouldn't have been trampled the way they have been since that Amendment changed the balance of power. It would be much easier to get rid of the deadwood in the Senate and campaigns wouldn't be so darned expensive.

    April 25, 2013 12:28 p.m.


    That is exactly my point. When asked about congressional approval overall, only 8% approve of the current congress. But when asked about their specific representative, approval is closer to 40%. In other words, "I hate congress, but my guy is one of the good ones." And congress knows that. They know that they can do whatever they want, or do nothing at all, and get re-elected. They've proven it over and over. The moment that we as voters change that dynamic is the moment things start to change. Everyone likes to look at the nation as a business. It's time we started firing some of the management. Sending the same people back over and over produces the same results. What's that quote about insanity? Congress isn't going to impose term limits on itself. It's up to us to do that.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    April 25, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    We all agree, yet we keep electing the same people every year. We only have ourselves to blame. I like @fatheroffour's idea. But no one will do it because we think "our" Representatives are not the problem and that it is everyone else's that needs to go.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 25, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    Ultra Bob: Your first paragraph is absolutely true. It's nice to see that we agree on something. It ended at that point. Socialism has done exactly what you are proposing with no success, but still retaining all the greed, selfishness, and bureaucratic nightmares. America will only do worse if we try to implement the socialist model. Americans have some decisions to make that have very little to do with politics, although,judging from newspaper headlines, it appears that it has everything to do with it. The decision is this: Do we follow the God of this land and retain our rights and liberties or do we lose our rights and liberties because we don't want to follow the God of this land? There is absolutely nothing you or I can propose that will make a hill of beans if people don't want to live according to God's law. If we think we can disregard God's laws and propose man made solutions to our challenges in its place, ie.socialism, it will fail, and quite miserably.

  • Alfred Pheonix, AZ
    April 25, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    "In the next congressional election vote for the guy who is not currently in office."

    Voting in the opposite candidate would be the worst of the two evils...

    We need some George Washingtons who will voluntarily give up their office to rotate talent in office for the good of the country. Too bad we don't have such people today

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 25, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    The problem with government is that money and personal greed drives mankind if every thing he does. Consequently the people elected to government positions are loyal to their financial benefactors rather than people in general. If we would have good government for the people we need to stop or lessen the power of the financial influence.

    One way to do this would be to prohibit financial incentives from business, unions, and all other singular motivated groups effecting election and representation.

    Another way is to remove the roadblocks, hurdles and impediments of voting by the people that prevent people wishes to be implemented.

    Another way would be to allow governmental careers. Starting with a curriculum for the education of governmental types in the manner and ways of proper government, a person would acquire the skills and attitude by building a resume of government experience. Proper compensation during the career and at retirement would prevent private interference.

    The government is not a business, but can you imagine the fate of a corporation that fired it’s management every couple of years.

  • djc Stansbury Park, Ut
    April 25, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    Revisionism is nice and I agree that there is some grounds for argument, but many if not most experts believe that the Senate was to be an organization where incumbents spent long terms. In fact some at the Constitutional Convention wanted the Senate to be a life time appointment. James Madison, Edmund Randolph and others wanted 7 year or longer terms (a vote was held on 9 year terms that almost passed) for Senators. Alexander Hamilton and his group wanted lifelong terms for Senators. These founding fathers believed that the House of Representatives might be too unstable to effectively govern. It appears that their ideas might have had merit because, we have a House of Representatives currently that appears unable to effectively govern just as they prophesied. Unfortunately the rules of the Senate have changed over the years to also make it less effective. Simple majority vote items now require a supermajority.

    April 25, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    I love the idea of term limits. But realize we have the ability to implement a "term limit" every 2 years for congressmen and every 6 years for senators. If you truly feel your congressman should be term limited, don't send him back next year.

  • ronk-sandy SANDY, UT
    April 25, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    Well presented argument for term limits. If the Congress felt the need to add term limits to the President because of the abuse of power by FDR, then the medicine should also be good enough for Congress. Addtionally with over 300 million people in the country, we should be abel to find competent men and women that can serve in Congress. I've read many of the arguments against term limits, but feel like the bigger issue of career politicians is more hazardous to our country than the other effects we currently face.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    April 25, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    Term limits would be great. What would be even greater is a population that was politically involved and didn't simply vote for the guy who's name the recognize. If we had good turnout at caucuses and primaries we wouldn't get the same people over and over again. In Utah the general election is pretty much meaningless since the (R) will win no matter what, the lower levels are where the important stuff happens, but turnout is pretty abysmal.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 25, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    The irony is how many citizens will vote for a Republican or Democrat,then audaciously castigate the opposing party candidate; so blind that they can't even see that it is two sides of the same coin! Timothy Clark is right on here!

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    April 25, 2013 8:03 a.m.

    To be across the board (not just one state here or there), term limits would require a constitutional amendment.

    The easiest fix would be a 12 year consecutive limit in the House or Senate (with allowances for someone who assumed less than half the term of the prior Senator or House member due to death, disability, etc.). This keeps the current terms and allows enough time for each to get accustomed to Washington and make a difference. Then, let them come home.

    Whether you are liberal or conservative this would mean the loss of some you love and some you loathe. But some churn would be good.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    April 25, 2013 7:51 a.m.

    Excellent article.

    Can anyone spell the words TERM LIMITS?

    April 25, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    I'd like to propose an experiment. I always hear people complain about "politicians for life," and talk about the need for term limits to stop "career politicians." They always complain about congressmen and senators running forever. So here is my experiment: In the next congressional election vote for the guy who is not currently in office. Obviously, most of Utah is not going to do that. They will vote back in the same people that have been there forever. Then they will talk about the need for term limits.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    April 25, 2013 1:11 a.m.

    Amen. Although he has reverence for our founders, can anyone imagine Mike Lee following their examples and stepping aside to resume his legal career? Not happening. Ever. He is our Senator For Life for better or worse just like his colleague.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    April 25, 2013 1:01 a.m.

    It is the junior members of congress, not the senior members, who are refusing to compromise and causing the current government gridlock.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 25, 2013 12:20 a.m.

    " A system that provides inherent advantages to those who are incumbent, wealthy or famous is not acceptable."

    A good reason to keep Utah's neighborhood system.