Invoke Congressional Term Limits

October 26, 2007

As a career, a seat in Congress becomes a conflict of interest. 

An incumbent who seeks re-election cannot freely vote his conscience, or his principles, for fear that he is going to offend some slice of the electorate, reducing his chances of re-election.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Stop Senseless and Irresponsible Election Sloganeering

September 21, 2007

 

As was the case during the last election in November 2006, we can expect soon a constant drumbeat of so called ‘Sloganeering’ for the upcoming ones in 2008, the primary and general elections. If you might remember last Read the rest of this entry »


Presidential Candidate Pandering and Hypocrisy

September 6, 2007

 

If we could assume for purposes of making a point here that if by some unusual action it would become unlawful to pander to constituents in Presidential elections, it would mean that there could currently be NO Presidential race! In simpler words: Read the rest of this entry »


And They Are Off . . . . .

May 25, 2007

 

Analogies are always interesting and often very helpful, especially when simple and understandable examples help shed light on much more complex ideas. Watching the Kentucky Derby a few weeks ago, the start of the race brought to mind the Presidential Race (for 2008) and it tempts a comparison:  Read the rest of this entry »


Change in congressional Management

January 7, 2007

 

     The 110th Congress opened for business January 4, 2007. This year’s event was different from previous ones in that for the first time since January 1995, there was a change in management…the Democrats are in control of both houses of Congress. It was unusual for another reason. For the first time in American history, a woman has been voted to be Speaker of the House. Yes, Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat congresswoman from San Francisco was voted to take this high office this past Thursday. For that reason alone, it will not be business as usual but it should be interesting to witness congressional activities and proceedings.

     When the Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives in 1994, they had campaigned on a so-called “Contract with America” whereby they proposed to bring ten policy issues to a vote on the floor of the House in the first 100 days of the 104th Congress in 1995. They did so and most of the legislation became law some time later. The Democrats campaigned before the last election in November in a similar fashion in that they outlined six policy issues they would bring to a vote in the House within the first 100 hours. They also promised to end partisanship in Congress and an end to the corruption, scandals and influence-peddling lobbyists that so permeated the previous years under Republican leadership. This is to be the most ethical Congress in a long time. This all sounds good and positive and the results show that a majority of voters wanted that and voted the Democrats to be back in charge in the House and Senate.

     The members of the 110th Congress were all sworn in on January 4 and Congress is now open for business. So far, new ethics standards for congressional members and some lobbying reform have been voted on and approved. The six policy changes among them raising the minimum wage, cutting student loan interest rates, an increase in federally funded stem-cell research and rolling back tax breaks for oil companies, will all be tackled henceforth, beginning next week.

     One might wonder why the Democrats emphasized so strongly the 100 hours promise for passing these new laws. They apparently wanted to demonstrate that they meant business and they were doing this rather rapidly. But here comes the first surprise: While for most of us, 100 hours means a time period of four days and four hours, in this case, the 100 hours are measured in hours when Congress is in session. In other words, if they work four days a week and only about six hours per day, we are looking at about four weeks before the six new bills will have been voted on by the members in the House. Beginning on January 9, that means this particular promise will be achieved at the earliest during the first days in February. Not until then will these bills be sent to the Senate for deliberating and voting.

     The second interesting change from earlier promises is the fact that when it comes to bi-partisanship, the Republicans in the House will Not be allowed to submit amendments on these six proposals by the Democrats nor will there be any reviews, hearings, debates or approvals by committees. In other words, bi-partisanship will start at the earliest some time in February. While this does not sit well with the 202 Republicans in the House, there is nothing they can do about it. They lost the majority in the House and have to accept the new rules. But this will not go unnoticed in the Senate where there are 49 Republicans and since it takes 60 votes for cloture (a procedure to end debate of laws before it is voted on), it should not be ruled out that the Senate Republicans will introduce some amendments to these six new laws before a vote in the Senate takes place. Given that, if there are differences between the House bills and the Senate versions of the same bills, they have to be reconciled in conference between the two chambers and voted on again before the bills go to the President for his signature. In other words, it might be a while before these six election promises become law.

     As we stated above, it will be interesting to observe the activities in Congress this year and follow how events will unfold. There are of course much larger issues looming this year, the biggest one being the War in Iraq and the War on Terror in general. We can only hope that members of both parties can keep the interest of the country first and foremost in mind in their activities and decision-making. This should not be a time for getting even for things done to them in the past nor should Congress at any time forget their sworn obligations to America.

     In fact, the Democrats have a great opportunity to show the country that they mean what they say and can therefore be trusted. Since they so greatly emphasized bi-partisanship for the next two years, it will be of great interest to see them deliver on their promise and keep their pledge. We wish that they will show us that there can be cooperation in Congress and with the President by putting personal agendas, objectives and partisanship aside and do what is best for this country!  Let Common Sense guide you whenever possible, it would be so refreshing to witness and so beneficial for America.
     This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation.   It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material.  We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.


The People Have Spoken

November 26, 2006

 

     The day after the election, President Bush acknowledged that he and his party had taken a “thumpin”. The euphoric pronouncements by the pundits on TV and headlines and articles by the writers for most of the major media outlets hailed the results as ‘historic’, ‘the blue wave’, ‘of landslide proportion’ that gave them similar laudatory and glorified terms. The Democrats themselves announced that in this election, the American people have spoken and given them a clear mandate to govern.

     While the main election theme for the Democrats was “It’s time for a change” without any specifics, they now claim that the American people want an increase in the minimum wage, and end the Iraq war as soon as possible (troop withdrawals to start in four to six months), increasing taxes and allowing current tax law to lapse, i.e., allowing tax rates to go up and some even talk about healthcare for all Americans etc, etc. They believe they can achieve all this because President Bush is now in his last two ‘lame-duck’ years and therefore has to go along.

     We say, Not so fast, let’s give the election results a reality check and let’s start with some basic facts: Everybody should know that the American electorate is comprised of approx. 41-43 percent each of Democrats and Republicans. That leaves about 15% for the group called the ‘Moderates’. While in all elections, the Democrats and Republicans face essentially two choices: To vote or not to vote, they seldom if ever cross party lines to vote for a candidate of the opposite party. It is the moderates who, based on their ideology and flexibility in beliefs, can vote for either party, dependent on how they feel and lean in every election. That is why they are called the ‘swing voters’ and it is true, they swing the elections to either party if the issues are clearly defined.

     It is also a fact that the war in Iraq weighed very heavily on people’s mind, and it should when one considers the constant drumbeat of negative reporting by the media coupled with their, the media membership, overwhelming disdain for President Bush. The botched Immigration legislative attempts were also an issue and to some minor extent elements of corruption and scandal (the four week hype about a Republican house member’s e-mails and instant messages to a ‘page’ in the House of Representatives when he was no longer a ‘page’ was nauseating).  Nevertheless, the composite of these things contributed heavily to the general feeling that things were not going at all that well in
America.

     It can be argued that the Republicans who voted this year were willing to ‘stay the course’ and that they voted Republican because the Democrats gave them really no positive reason to vote for them. It is equally certain that the Democrats voted for their Party because they strongly disliked, if not even hated, President Bush and ‘it was therefore time for a change’ to gain power again in Congress after a dozen years.

     That leaves the moderates, the group in the middle who mostly voted their feelings they apparently accepted the gloomy pictures the media had painted about the war, the President, the so called ‘do-nothing Republican congress’, the corrupt lawmakers who seemed to be Republicans and on and on.

     We believe that it has not given the Democrats a mandate to push for a substantial increase in the minimum wage; nor do we see an immediate withdrawal of troops out of
Iraq as the result of this election. Common sense should tell us that it might serve the Democrats well to be realistic and not overly optimistic when it comes to setting a new agenda as they begin to govern the Legislative branch of the
     United States. The American people have Not given them a blank check for their so called agenda when one considers the above tabulations about the closeness of this election!
     This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation.   It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material.  We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.