“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation” -James Madison

Monday, January 09, 2006

Fire an incumbent!

This article at Redstate is the latest example of why incumbency without term limits is a cancer. The Republicans have now been in power for nearly 12 years, beginning with the re-taking of the House in 1994. They swept in largely due to the now-defunct Contract with America, which promised among other things term limitation, emphasis on smaller government and less spending, and greater accountability to the voters.

That power was maintained through the Clinton years as a response to that administration, and reinforced in 2000 by sheer fear of the words "President Gore." The tragic events of 9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror virtually guaranteed continuation in 2004 (along with a hefty dose of fear of the words "President Kerry").

Many people, myself included, voted Republican for the first time in 2000 and/or 2004. Conservatives who could not previously stomach the Republican party (Libertarians, Constitutionalists, etc.) chose to stand with the Republicans in a united effort against socialism and to continue the prosecution of the War on Terror. Many of us have been dismayed at the decidedly non-conservative aspects of the party with which we have associated for the last 6 years. Others have been Republican (or voted with the Republicans) for much longer and are also disappointed.

Non-military discretionary spending is through the roof. Border policy and immigration control are nonexistent. The concept of limited government is a distant memory. Depite superiority of numbers in both Houses, the President has had to fight an uphill battle on tax reform, social security reform, and in the arena of getting conservative judges confirmed. Recent scandals such as Jack Abramoff and the politically-motivated (but flaky) case of Tom Delay highlight the corruption that continues to infect the political class.

Now that flaky case is beginning to show further fallout in the form of the story linked above.

We have chosen to align ourselves with the lesser of two devils. One party is for intrusive big expensive self-serving faux socialism, and the other party is the Democrats.

The center cannot hold. Every failure of will and party discipline takes its toll on the resolve of the constituency. More and more people are asking themselves why exactly they should continue to contribute time, money, and their vote to the Republicans. To allow a majority party to be held hostage by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, and Harry Reid is truly disgraceful.

The disillusionment will affect more than the party faithful. Fiscal conservatives and the libertarian wing are beginning to bolt.

It is time conservatives have a hard conversation with themselves. Which is more important -- long-term goals of limiting government and having conservatives hold seats of power, or maintaining a thin majority consisting largely of faithless RINOs? Although we are coming into a time that is crucial for Supreme Court justices (the 2008/2012 president(s) will have the opportunity to select as many as 4), the hold on numeric superiority means little. The President is simply not allowed (!) to nominate conservative justices with the current (and likely future) Senate, and those he can nominate have been ridiculously and unfairly savaged by a democratic minority that wields entirely too much power.

On the other hand, despite the problems listed above, Justice Roberts was confirmed, and Sam Alito will be as well. The center may be squishy, but they are not entirely stupid.

I am a strong advocate of term limits. Obviously the Congress will never enact such measures, but the people can choose to do so. 12 years (2 Senatorial terms or 6 Representative terms) should be enough for anyone. At that point they need to come home and remember how citizens live. To preclude the consolidation of power we see in the form of Senator Byrd, a doddering old man who has not been truly significant since the mid-1970s, would be a huge first step to shutting off the pork pipeline and ending the cult-of-personality lock that some wield on committees (Ted Stevens, I'm looking at you. You, too, Arlen...).

So it is up to us....we have the power. Want to make money in politics irrelevant, or end the culture of caesarship? Stop voting for incumbents, even if you like them. Give them their 12 years and then fire them. No one is so great or so good that they should be in Congress for a lifetime. If they are that effective, then the voters will respond accordingly and either suspend the 12-year rule or put them back in on the next term. It means voting for a primary challenger that may get slaughtered in the general election. So be it (maybe). What to do? Again, which is more important -- keeping that corrupt and largely ineffective majority, or holding out for true conservatives (meaning the libs get the chairs from time to time)?

I say it's worth holding out. What say you?

As the piece linked above says, "In 1976, Ronald Reagan stood up to the Republican establishment and ran against Gerald Ford. Ford had ignored conservatives and pushed the agenda of the liberal Republican establishment. Reagan knew that he could not win unless he was prepared to lose. Lose he did and the rest is history written in his favor."

Ronaldus Magnus knew it then, as did Lincoln over a century before him. Conservatism works when it's tried. Perhaps we need to give it a chance by making room in the crowded field of incumbents.


0 Old Comments: