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Old 24 June 2009, 12:28 AM
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Roll eyes Term Limits

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/termlimits.asp
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  #2  
Old 24 June 2009, 12:36 AM
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Having read the article, I have to wonder why all those politicians are wasting effort on these resolutions that are going to get shot down. I mean, it's not like it's something that will get them lots of public attention (except from the wingnut crowd ) so why keep doing it? Is there some kind of organised "Repeal Term Limits" movement in the US?
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Old 24 June 2009, 12:56 AM
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The last time I remember hearing a lot of US voters who were not representatives or senators making noise about repealing the second amendment, it was toward the end of Reagan's second term. He was their dream candidate who revitalized the Republican party after Nixon made them look so bad, and they were worried that George Bush, pere didn't have the same charisma Reagan had. Which he didn't, but the Democrats managed to nominate someone even more lackluster to run against him.

My mother, who hated Reagan with the fire of 1,000 burning suns, gloated shamelessly, because she, the child of staunch Democrats, remembered the FDR backlash that had gotten the 22nd amendment passed in the first place, and now it had come around to bite the conservatives in the toches.

I'm awfully glad for it myself, because I'm sure Reagan's Alzheimer's was in full swing during the last half of his second term, and his advisor's and wife limped him through it.
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Old 24 June 2009, 03:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htonl View Post
. . . Is there some kind of organised "Repeal Term Limits" movement in the US?
A little. Not so much to repeal the 22nd Amendment, but to get rid of local and state term limits, which many of us consider a bad idea. It's anti-democratic: it's putting an exogenous limitation on whom I may vote for.

Silas
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Old 25 June 2009, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by htonl View Post
Is there some kind of organised "Repeal Term Limits" movement in the US?
Actually, it's much the opposite. Most people who are interested in imposing term limits would like to expand term limits to cover members of Congress.
Several states which have attempted to impose term limits on the Congresscritters have been shot down in Federal court as being "unConstitutional". (The Courts' major argument has been that only Congress can determine how long members can serve and that any term limits MUST go through the Amendment process.)
As to Silas's argument, I call BS. The fact that most incumbents rarely face any SERIOUS challenge from members of their own party (due to the ever-rising cost of political campaigning) is the most singularly significant limitation on whom you can vote for. Many (if not most) incumbents rarely have to spend a single dime on the primary process while their opponents have to waste (tens of) thousands of valuable hard-raised dollars just to make it through the primary, and hope they come out of a primary win with enough cash to get a decent start on the general election campaign. (Depending on where you live, that can be a terror. Here in Alabama, our primaries for US House and Senate seats are typically held in June--with run-offs at the end of June or early July--with the general election in November. But, I believe some states have their primaries as late as August and September, allowing less than two months for the general campaign.)
In most election years, the only way that you're likely to have any real turnover is for an incumbent to retire (here in Alabama's 2nd Congressional district we've had exactly 3 representatives since the 1964 elections--Bill Dickinson from 1964 until his retirement in 1992, Terry Everett who retired last year, and Bobby Bright; one man served 14 terms followed by a man who served 8, and now a man who's in his first). And, of our Senators in the last 50 years, we've only had one, Jeremiah Denton, who actually lost re-election. Admittedly, this doesn't really take the late 1970s brouhaha into account--Jim Allen died in office, and his widow, Maryon, was appointed to fill in until a regular election could be held; she then lost the primary election to Don Stewart who held the seat until the 1980 election when he was defeated in the primary by Jim Folsom who was, in turn, defeated in the general election by Jeremiah Denton who would only serve one full term before losing to the current holder, Richard Shelby who ran--and won--as a Democrat only to switch parties in 1994, after having won re-election as a Democrat. (It's worth noting that, from 1978 to 1986, we had more people in that Senate seat than we've had since 1987. Shelby has handily won re-election by more than 25 percentage points since 1992.)
I'm sorry, Silas, but term limits are NOT anti-democratic. You can ALWAYS write-in a name. What IS "anti-democratic" is this feeling by way too many incumbents that they deserve to be in office forever. (Then again, much of our representative government is, at heart, anti-democratic. The majority of current Representatives and Senators don't accurately represent their constituents; they represent themselves first, and the people who voted for them second while largely ignoring any opposition views.) Maybe if we could get some serious campaign reform (the most important aspect to me is the absolute prohibition on accepting any sort of funds from individuals and PACs who do not live in your district or state; I would allow for the national parties to provide funds to their various candidates but none of this sending mailings to, say, Alabama from politicians running for office in Virginia or California). Don't give me this BS about "free speech" being impaired; we regulate the language that can be heard on network television during certain hours (oddly, it does seem that the groups most adamant in keeping little Johnny and little Suzie from hearing the f-word at 8pm are also the ones who most strongly oppose campaign reform laws on the basis of "free speech").
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Old 25 June 2009, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BamaRainbow View Post
. . . As to Silas's argument, I call BS. . . .
That's unnecessarily rude; it would suffice for you to disagree.

Quote:
The fact that most incumbents rarely face any SERIOUS challenge from members of their own party (due to the ever-rising cost of political campaigning) is the most singularly significant limitation on whom you can vote for.
But it is not an exogenous limitation. No one comes from outside and says, "You may not vote for this man." Under term limits, that is exactly what happens.

Quote:
Many (if not most) incumbents rarely have to spend a single dime on the primary process while their opponents have to waste (tens of) thousands of valuable hard-raised dollars just to make it through the primary . . .
Yes, new challengers have a hard time overcoming incumbents. Telling me that I may not vote for the incumbent is, in my opinion, a "solution" that is far worse than the problem.

ETA:
Quote:
I'm sorry, Silas, but term limits are NOT anti-democratic. You can ALWAYS write-in a name
In California, a candidate who is ineligible due to term limits cannot be a write-in candidate.

Silas
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Old 25 June 2009, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BamaRainbow View Post
Actually, it's much the opposite. Most people who are interested in imposing term limits would like to expand term limits to cover members of Congress.
More correctly, people want term limits imposed on other people's member of Congress, since typically incumbents win their elections (without getting into the horrors of gerrymandering).

I would quibble about the term "most," as well, mostly because I just haven't seen any polls that support that more than half do support them.

I am on the side of no term limits, as every election is an opportunity to elect someone else.
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Old 25 June 2009, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
I'm sorry, Silas, but term limits are NOT anti-democratic.
We already have term limits: If you aren't re-elected by popular vote, your term is up.
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  #9  
Old 25 June 2009, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Yes, new challengers have a hard time overcoming incumbents. Telling me that I may not vote for the incumbent is, in my opinion, a "solution" that is far worse than the problem.
Indeed, the underlying problem is ultimately with the voting public, not with the system.
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  #10  
Old 25 June 2009, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaRainbow View Post
I'm sorry, Silas, but term limits are NOT anti-democratic. You can ALWAYS write-in a name.
In what state do term limits not count if the person is elected by write-in votes? That would, quite frankly, be an idiotic law. ETA: I suppose you didn't say they could be elected, but then that statement really has no point.
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Old 25 June 2009, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by lord_feldon View Post
In what state do term limits not count if the person is elected by write-in votes? That would, quite frankly, be an idiotic law. ETA: I suppose you didn't say they could be elected, but then that statement really has no point.
I think in Tennessee, there are pre-election requirements of write in candidates. I will look up the specifics later, but my impression is that it is meant to prevent a disgruntled, but non-primary winning, party member from launching a guerilla campaign that would undermine hir party.

Although I could be completely making that up.
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  #12  
Old 25 June 2009, 07:47 PM
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I know Ohio has a "sore loser law" which prevents someone who ran and lost in a primary from some level of running for office in the general election (I'm not sure if it's just the same office or all offices; I think it's the former because that horrible Joy Padgett ran to be my congresswoman after being a candidate for lieutenant governor on a losing ticket in the primary). It probably applies to write-in candidates as well.
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Old 25 June 2009, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lord_feldon View Post
I know Ohio has a "sore loser law" which prevents someone who ran and lost in a primary from some level of running for office in the general election (I'm not sure if it's just the same office or all offices; I think it's the former because that horrible Joy Padgett ran to be my congresswoman after being a candidate for lieutenant governor on a losing ticket in the primary). It probably applies to write-in candidates as well.
Well, apparently not all states have that, since that's exactly what Lieberman did in CT.

What's the basis for a law that that? I mean, what exactly is the problem with someone like Lieberman running after losing the primary? I realize it divides the party, but is that the only basis of that law?
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Old 02 July 2009, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lord_feldon View Post
In what state do term limits not count if the person is elected by write-in votes? That would, quite frankly, be an idiotic law. ETA: I suppose you didn't say they could be elected, but then that statement really has no point.
Silas wrote that he couldn't vote for the person of his choice if term limits are imposed. Most states do not have laws prohibiting write-in votes; such laws, incidentally, ARE anti-democratic, and far more so than any term limits laws.
The only law in Alabama (YMMV) regarding write-in votes is that the vote must be for a REAL person who is eligible for the office in question. IOW, no writing in "Mickey Mouse" or "Garfield"*, and you can't vote for a 27-year-old for the offices of President or US Senator, since both of those offices have Constitutionally-defined minimum age requirements. Of course, it's not inherently possible for anyone to be prosecuted for casting such frivolous votes--at least, not without really scaring voters who believe in the sanctity of the "secret ballot" (i.e., if you can be taken to court for casting such a vote, then what's to prevent people from being intimidated into casting their votes for specific candidates?). There is also the fact that your vote is YOUR vote, and it should utlimately be up to you to decide how you cast it but the State does have a right to expect that your vote is cast with purpose and respect (not only for the office but the very ideals of democracy and the ever-present reminder that people "died so that you can vote").

*With these type of votes, I believe the state simply doesn't accept the validity of the ballot (either the whole ballot or only the specific office may be rejected depending on the circumstances--if someone voted Mickey Mouse for President, but wrote in real people for his/her Congressional Representative or Senator, the votes for those latter offices might be counted while the Presidential vote may be discounted).
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  #15  
Old 02 July 2009, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaRainbow View Post
Silas wrote that he couldn't vote for the person of his choice if term limits are imposed.
And you haven't refuted that with facts yet. It is not a term limit if you can vote for the term-limited person and the vote counts and the person can be elected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaRainbow View Post
The only law in Alabama (YMMV) regarding write-in votes is that the vote must be for a REAL person who is eligible for the office in question.
But a person who is term-limited is, by definition, not eligible for the office in question.
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Old 02 July 2009, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaRainbow View Post
Silas wrote that he couldn't vote for the person of his choice if term limits are imposed. Most states do not have laws prohibiting write-in votes; such laws, incidentally, ARE anti-democratic, and far more so than any term limits laws.
The only law in Alabama (YMMV) regarding write-in votes is that the vote must be for a REAL person who is eligible for the office in question.
How could someone who has reached a term limit for an office be considered eligible for that office? Surely they are not eligible by virtue of having reached the term limit.

Spanked by lord feldon!
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Old 03 July 2009, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaRainbow View Post
IOW, no writing in "Mickey Mouse" or "Garfield"*, and you can't vote for a 27-year-old for the offices of President or US Senator, since both of those offices have Constitutionally-defined minimum age requirements.
What was wrong with President Garfield? Well, other than that he didn't last very long and has been dead for 130 years or so? Seems a long time to bear a grudge.

Are people called "Mickey Mouse" ineligible too? I know you were trying to make a point, but if write-in votes are allowed, then on what democratic basis could anybody decide that those two examples are jokes and therefore count as spoilt ballots? They're both real names, and in one case you've already had a president with that name. How specifically do you have to identify somebody when you write in their name?

(And spoilt ballots are allowed, anyway - unless you actually have a law against spoiling ballot papers in the USA, which I doubt, because it must surely be incompatible with the idea of secret ballots.)
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Old 03 July 2009, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I know you were trying to make a point, but if write-in votes are allowed, then on what democratic basis could anybody decide that those two examples are jokes and therefore count as spoilt ballots?
That they aren't registered candidates* and thus the votes aren't valid regardless of the authenticity of the names.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
How specifically do you have to identify somebody when you write in their name?
You don't, at least not in Ohio, as write-in votes only count if the person files as a write-in candidate* (which makes sense, as there's no point counting the votes of someone who has expressed no desire to run). I suppose two people with the same name might file, but that's not very likely.

*ETA: Alabama has no such registration requirement. I don't know how they handle it. The chance of Mickey Mouse being a real person and winning as a write-in candidate is so close to 0, though, that it might not be worthwhile for the state to plan for it (the chance of anyone getting in via a write-in is pretty low, let alone some hypothetical person with an odd name).

Last edited by lord_feldon; 03 July 2009 at 01:21 AM.
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  #19  
Old 03 July 2009, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by BamaRainbow View Post
In most election years, the only way that you're likely to have any real turnover is for an incumbent to retire (here in Alabama's 2nd Congressional district we've had exactly 3 representatives since the 1964 elections--Bill Dickinson from 1964 until his retirement in 1992, Terry Everett who retired last year, and Bobby Bright; one man served 14 terms followed by a man who served 8, and now a man who's in his first). And, of our Senators in the last 50 years, we've only had one, Jeremiah Denton, who actually lost re-election.
Of course, the South is somewhat atypical in that regard, with their time-honored tradition of electing new reps and senators when they are very young and sending them back again and again in order to gain seniority and thus heave clout beyond their state's delegation size. I'm not saying that's even necessarily a bad thing (although it has had some ugly consequences with respect to civil rights reform), but it's not the norm.

The fact is, most incumbents win most of the time because their constituents like them for the most part. That's why they won the seat in the first place. (Perhaps that's only due to gerrymandering, but that's another issue.)
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Old 06 August 2009, 04:01 PM
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In Kentucky a write-in candidate must have filed a properly formatted "declaration of intent" with either the county clerk or Secretary of State (depending upon the scope of the election). The declaration has to be filed sometime before the election (by the fourth Friday in October for the November election or at least 10 days prior for other elections). The only other stipulations are that you can't be a write-in if you're already listed on the ballot, and anyone defeated in a primary election cannot be an eligible write-in for the same office in the regular election.

On another note, incumbents also enjoy name-recognition - very important in swaying the casual voter. "Hey! I know this name, I guess he's done stuff, and doing stuff gets MY vote."

Prime example is KY's 5th District Congressman Hal Rogers. Rep. Rogers brings all sorts of federal money to his district, and usually gets his name branded on it. He's got the Hal Rogers Family Entertainment Center (a water park), a fire training center, the Hal Rogers Center (a forum/auditorium building), a scholarship, and the Hal Rogers Parkway (formerly the Daniel Boone Parkway).

After the parkway was renamed there was an unsuccessful attempt to run "Daniel Boone" as a write-in candidate against Rogers. Sadly, Mr. Boone didn't get his Declaration of Intent filed due to his lingering case of still being dead, and so we'll never know how many votes he recieved.
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