Thursday, March 27, 2008

One Year Out Of Four

I have been listening to campaign rhetoric for many, many years, and there is a certain sameness to it all, don’t you think? When I was a mere child, as far back as elementary school, I heard the grown-ups discussing what this or that candidate promised to do for the country. Hopes are always high that significant change will be made and we will all be better off.

Now that I am much older, I look back on past presidential campaigns and realize that the promises are about the same and the results are about the same, too.

After the election, the winners are fast out of the gate, and quickly make small changes that are easiest to make. These make a big splash, if only because they are the first ones that have been made since the first year of the last presidential term. The candidates all seem to think that they can talk a good game, make a couple of quick improvements the first year, then relax for the next three and the voters will be satisfied.

Sometime during the third year of their terms, they get revved up again, and start talking “change”. But it is always the same thing they talked about before their first term that they have been ignoring for three years. Ever since I was too young to understand what it was, politicians have been talking about universal health care. They have given it different names, like “socialized medicine”, a term coined by the Republicans to scare the bejeesus out of the voters, and it still seems to work for them. The Democrats use the phrase “single payer” to assure the public that the government as nanny is still alive and beating in the generous hearts of the party of the common man.

When they are finally elected, they take one look at the problem and throw up their hands because they are appalled at the difficulty and expense involved. In other words, they give up too soon.

The promise to create more and higher paying jobs looks much more difficult to the person who has just been elected on that promise. So, it will go by the wayside, too, along with the banking and housing problems, which may get a bandaid or two. And, let's not even talk about Iraq.

And, so it goes. Pretty soon, after a couple of decades of identifying new problems and failing to fix them, we have the current situation. An overwhelming list of ills and no cures in sight.

How can we make sure the people we elect will keep their noses to the grindstone and diligently try to make the changes that they promised to make during their campaigns? I don’t know. Some people suggest that we lengthen the term of office of the Presidency to six, seven or eight years, and limit them to only the one term. This idea has some merit. I must admit, the more I think about it, the more I warm to the notion.

This would mean changing the election laws as they apply to the presidency, but how hard could that be? HAHAHAHAHAHAH! Sometimes I crack myself up. But, I digress.

Really, now, we can’t have campaigns that last five or six years due to the length of the terms. So, we’d have to put some limits on them. That couldn’t be a bad thing, could it? It would certainly leave the person holding office plenty of time without the distraction of having to do fundraisers non-stop for their next campaign for the second term. There wouldn’t BE a second term. He/she would have one shot at it. If no significant change was made, the party in power would pay for it in the next election. This would tend to make the party hold the President’s feet to the fire, wouldn’t it?

Think it over for a while. I’d like to return to the subject of the one-term presidency in a later post, and would like to hear your ideas on the subject. Don’t be afraid to disagree. There’s nothing I can do about it except, maybe, pout a little.

In the meantime, I’ll be “fleshing out” my thoughts on the subject, too.

Until later.


Leon said...

I've reached the point where I forget the rhetoric and use one simple test of whom to vote for: What type of Justices will they appoint to the Supreme Court? That is one area where a President has lasting influence. . .and there is a big difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to picking judges. :~)

Betty said...

leon: Welcome. You are so right. You might extend that test to include Federal judges, too. Right wing Federal judges have done a lot of damage to this country.

Dogwalkmusings said...

This has been floated before to no avail:

President - 1 term 6 years
House - 3 terms 2 years each
Senate - 2 terms 6 years each

Something to add to your chewing...

Karen said...

Betty, your posts are always totally thought provoking. I always look forward to reading what you say.

patsy said...

we should follow the british isles example they decided to get rid of blair so they called an election and voted him out.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lives in a country with an unelected head of state ('er Maj)) I would love to be able to vote for a president.

Sorry Patsy, but we did not vote Blair out of office. He decided to hand over the role of Prime Minister (which is not our head of state)to Gordon Brown, so we still have a 'New Labour' man in 10 Downing Street.


Betty said...

dogwalk musings: I think I'd leave the House and Senate alone. But, might impose term limits. Have to think that one over.

karen: Thanks. I'd like to get your opinion. I'll watch your blog.

patsy: There really should be an easier way to get someone out of office. Impeachment doesn't even get them out (see Bill Clinton).

john: The grass is always greener, isn't it?

Chancy said...

I totally agree about the "what sort of judges would he appoint"

The Supreme Court of 2000 gave the election to GWBush and see what a mess he has made of it.

savannah said...

thoughtful post, sugar! i'm more inclined to getting rid of term limits BECAUSE the elected official would know he has only 4 years to get it right or be turned out of office (i know, we also need and informed and educated electorate, now i'm digressing). i'm going to continue to think about this one.

Kay Dennison said...

Excellent thinking, Betty!!!! I love the idea of one 6 year term and accountability. I'm glad I'm not the only one tired of politics as usual!!! I'll I'm hearing right now is the same tired rhetoric and I'm about ready to vote NO for president.