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General Political Discussion
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The Perfect World >> TPW Archives >> General Political Discussion

General Political Discussion

CalGal -- Friday, August 02, 2002 -- 05:03:48 AM

What's the political news of the day?

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Pincher Martin -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 12:24:34 AM -- 18616 of 23000
"The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them." - Max Eastman

Grover Norquist proposes a constitutional amendment to keep Americans from running for public office on their family names: "A dynastic disease in American politics"

The US was founded as a constitutional republic. There were to be no kings, dukes or other rapscallions in the New Jerusalem.
Thomas Paine spoke for all of us in Common Sense, saying there was no role for hereditary monarchy in the new world: “For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and though himself might deserve some decent degree of honours of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them.”
America’s national constitution, written by representatives of 13 jealous states, even gives the federal government the task of guaranteeing a “republican form of government” in the states and adds: “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States.” The queen of Hawaii had to go.
It could not be much clearer. No aristocracy. No king. No inherited titles.
Yet while Americans complain about Hosni Mubarak’s plan to replace himself as president of Egypt with Mubarak Junior, roll their eyes at Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, the son of the late President Hafez al-Assad, and giggle at North Korea’s Kim to Kim dynastic communism, we are about to hold a presidential election that may extend a sequence that gives the land of the free four years of George H.W. Bush, eight years of William Clinton, eight years of George W. Bush, son of, and the start of eight years of Hillary Clinton, wife of....
A bipartisan revulsion at this recrudescence of an aristocracy – Democrats think there have been too many Bushes, Republicans think there have been too many Clintons – has led concerned citizens (OK, me) to launch a campaign to enact a constitutional amendment to ban this practice. The draft now circulating was written by the legal scholar Bruce Fein and reads:
Section 1. No spouse, sibling or child of an elected or appointed federal, state or local official outside the civil service may immediately succeed that official in the same elected or appointed office.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation, including exempting certain elected or appointed offices from its general proscription and defining the term “immediately succeed” to prevent circumventions.
This amendment is in keeping with other restrictions on who can run for office in the US. Presidents must be at least 35 years old; senators, 30; congressmen, 25. Presidents must be born in the US. Fifteen states have enacted term limits on state legislators of six, eight or 12 years. [My emphasis added.]

As Norquist notes, his proposed amendment would not prevent Hillary Clinton from running for the presidency nor would it have prevented George Bush from running seven years ago (nor, for that matter, will it prevent, if it is passed, Jeb Bush from running in 2012 or 2016). So what's the point?

CalGal -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 12:30:08 AM -- 18617 of 23000
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

hahahaha.

Right. That's a huge problem in American politics.

Let's see an amendment barring candidates from using their own money.

Pincher Martin -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 12:33:06 AM -- 18618 of 23000
"The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them." - Max Eastman

Let's see an amendment barring candidates from using their own money.

Yeah, because so many of the super-rich are in politics, as opposed to familial political lines.

Mostone -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 01:13:39 AM -- 18619 of 23000

If all men are created equal, how could spouse, sibling or child of an office holder be less equal? Plus

“For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever

isn't happening.

GregD -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 01:31:25 AM -- 18620 of 23000
After the power to choose a man wants the power to erase. --Stephen Dunn

Interestingly, we don't even have to pass this amendment. If it's that important to you, don't vote for the person. And it's even more versatile! When it's less of a problem you can allow it, and when it's critical you can vote based on it! Amazing!

I'm glad the amendment process is so involved and difficult. 90% of these proposals are asinine.

Pincher Martin -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 01:35:04 AM -- 18621 of 23000
"The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them." - Max Eastman

If all men are created equal, how could spouse, sibling or child of an office holder be less equal?

We have qualifications to public office in which this isn't a problem.

Why exclude non-Americans (and those U.S. citizens not born in America)? Aren't they equal?

Why exclude the young? Aren't they equal?

Why have term limits? Don't they prevent fair electoral competition?

Yet no one I know seriously thinks these limits keep us from maintaining our ideals.

GregD -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 01:45:55 AM -- 18622 of 23000
After the power to choose a man wants the power to erase. --Stephen Dunn

The fact that these limitations have to be laid out in the Constitution, and that additional ones require going through the amendment process, demonstrates A) how serious we take these things, and B) how minimal we want to keep the restrictions on who can run for public office.

I think imposing more of them, especially one as stupid as not being allowed to run because of who birthed you or who you're related to, is undemocratic. Unsurprising, given it's a putz like Norquist.

Pincher Martin -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 01:54:45 AM -- 18623 of 23000
"The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them." - Max Eastman

The fact that these limitations have to be laid out in the Constitution, and that additional ones require going through the amendment process, demonstrates A) how serious we take these things, and B) how minimal we want to keep the restrictions on who can run for public office.

This is a circular argument. We take these things "seriously" because they are in the Constitution. (Thus the things not already in the Constitution shouldn't be taken seriously?)

I can turn around and simply say that the fact we can amend the Constitution shows the Founding Fathers knew they wouldn't get it right in the beginning and wanted succeeding generations to have the ability to adopt other "serious" limitations.

Alice CK -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 01:56:49 AM -- 18624 of 23000
the glass in the toilet is quite a pretty blue

As Norquist notes, his proposed amendment would not prevent Hillary Clinton from running for the presidency nor would it have prevented George Bush from running seven years ago (nor, for that matter, will it prevent, if it is passed, Jeb Bush from running in 2012 or 2016). So what's the point?

I was going to say that it would have prevented Jean Carnahan from taking over Mel Carnahan's seat, but I looked him up and he wasn't an incumbent. But I suppose if he had been and had died during the campaign, his widow couldn't have taken his place if this amendment were in effect. Wasn't there another instance where a senator's widow ran for his seat after he died and was elected?

Pincher Martin -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 01:59:29 AM -- 18625 of 23000
"The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them." - Max Eastman

I think the problem with the amendment is that it's basically toothless (although it would prevent things like Duncan Hunter's son succeeding him in his congressional seat next year).

Norquist seems to think the purpose of the amendment should be symbolic. I don't think we ought to go through so much trouble for symbolism.

Pincher Martin -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 02:00:28 AM -- 18626 of 23000
"The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them." - Max Eastman

X-posted with Alice...

Wasn't there another instance where a senator's widow ran for his seat after he died and was elected?

I think so, but I can't remember who or when.

catling -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 02:19:11 AM -- 18627 of 23000
The best wedding sparklers are the long-lasting #14 Gold. They are also very effective in exorcisms. All sparklers are wonderful for bringing and ridding curses.- sparkler sales web site

Jean Carnahan?

Pincher Martin -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 02:23:57 AM -- 18628 of 23000
"The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them." - Max Eastman

But Alice said she looked Ms Carnahan up and it wasn't the case that her husband was an incumbent.

Alice CK -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 02:27:42 AM -- 18629 of 23000
the glass in the toilet is quite a pretty blue

Right; Ashcroft was the incumbent. Mel Carnahan was the governor of Missouri. He ran for US senator and died 3 weeks before the election, and it was too late to take his name off the ballot. The lieutenant governor, who stepped in to take Carnahan's place as governor for the rest of his term, announced that he would appoint Jean Carnahan as senator if people elected Dead Mel. And that, my children, is how Ashcroft lost to a dead guy.

Sadie -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 08:24:54 AM -- 18630 of 23000
There is not enough WTF in all the land. -Alissa

Lindy Boggs took her husband's seat.

Mostone -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 12:47:00 PM -- 18631 of 23000

I think the problem with the amendment is that it's basically ridiculous.

Alice CK -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 06:06:32 PM -- 18632 of 23000
the glass in the toilet is quite a pretty blue

Sadie, I think that's who I was thinking of, thanks.

Ronski -- Saturday, November 24, 2007 -- 07:15:57 PM -- 18633 of 23000
"What can happen to an Old Fashioned?" -- Jim Backus

In the House, 36 women were elected to fill vacancies caused by the death of their husbands. Fifteen were reelected.

In the Senate, nine women have been appointed to serve out the term of a husband who died, and one daughter was appointed to serve out the term of her father who resigned (Murkowski) to run successfully for Governor. Three of the ten were subsequently reelected.

Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was elected to her late husband's seat in the House, and then was elected to the Senate, serving there for 24 years (the longest a woman has served).

Some people may recall Maurine Nueberger of Oregon who won a special election to fill the remaining term of her late husband's seat, defeating the man who had been appointed to fill out the term. (She had been a successful politician in her own right, serving in the state legislature.) She filled out the remainder of her husband's term and was reelected, serving in the 1960s.

Nova_Delphini -- Monday, November 26, 2007 -- 06:30:05 PM -- 18634 of 23000
Ain't you my Tee-Ni-Nee-Ni-Nu?

"In the House, 36 women were elected to fill vacancies caused by the death of their husbands. Fifteen were reelected."

Including Mary Bono.

CalGal -- Monday, November 26, 2007 -- 07:37:14 PM -- 18635 of 23000
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

Sala Burton filled her husband's seat.

This proposal is just too damn dumb to laugh at.

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