re-election of current Congress peeps


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re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby no one » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:32 pm

How many congressman are gonna find themselves without a congressional job due to the so called do nothing' label or the current behavior with the government shutdown and (my anticipation) of the debt ceiling fiasco. I am sure there will be a close eye on this post for out of bounds comments. So is the next election going to reflect current behavior - significantly?
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby jazzcyclist » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:41 pm

I predict this thread will get locked in less than 15 posts.

EDIT: As a matter of fact, we were exactly 15 posts into the last thread of this type before beebee could no longer resist his urge to poison it.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=51992
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby JumboElliott » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:47 pm

No. Nothing will change. Anyone notice how things have taken a serious turn for the worse since Joe Biden was thrust into the background by Harry Reid?
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby jhc68 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:22 pm

I say 10 posts, max. Even counting the three posts conjecturing @ how many posts the thread will live.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby gh » Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:23 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:I predict this thread will get locked in less than 15 posts....


As I noted to DrJay the other day, nothing guarantees the locking of a thread more than the premature assessment that the thread is doomed. Nothing like drawing the mods' attention to the subject!

As always, I remain confident that one day we'll have a safe and sane discussion about political science, which is fine, as opposed to partisan politics.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby odelltrclan » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:12 pm

no one wrote:How many congressman are gonna find themselves without a congressional job ?


Hopefully many. Term Limits!!! Too many career politicians who are more interested in their prestige and careers than their constituents that put them there.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby Jim Rorick » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:49 pm

Living all my life in California (which has had term limits on state offices for quite awhile and which may indeed have created the impetus for the idea nationwide), I'd say that term limits don't work. It only means that corrupt politicians have to be even more corrupt - they only have 6-8 years to get their money - than their Congressional counterparts, who can take their sweet time reaming the public. Until the public starts to educate itself to what the govt. is actually doing and not doing (and a more competent and responsible press would really be a help here), nothing much will improve, term limits or not. And the old phrase: "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" also applies here.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby bambam » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:21 am

jazzcyclist wrote:I predict this thread will get locked in less than 15 posts.

EDIT: As a matter of fact, we were exactly 15 posts into the last thread of this type before beebee could no longer resist his urge to poison it.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=51992


Maybe we should just do an over/under on how long it will take to get this thread banned? I'll go for 12 posts.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby bambam » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:23 am

gh wrote:political science


Political science - now that's an oxymoron if ever there was one.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby BillVol » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:43 am

Nothing will change because the American people are dumb. Most don't vote anyhow. The ones that do are largely stupid. Incumbents have a huge advantage. People vote on name recognition.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby bambam » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:57 am

BillVol wrote:Nothing will change because the American people are dumb. Most don't vote anyhow. The ones that do are largely stupid. Incumbents have a huge advantage. People vote on name recognition.


One of my partner's wife was elected to NC Legislature last year for the first time, and has to run again next year. He was describing to me how huge the advantage is for the incumbents in a race. You would have to be an idiot not to win in that situation per my partner. Unfortunately that might describe most of Congress.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby jazzcyclist » Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:20 am

The biggest problem that I see is that Congress, most of whom can't afford to finance their campaign themselves, depends so heavily on complete strangers for campaign funds, that only the most craven people are motivated to run for Congress. I read Colin Powell's biography My American Journey, and one of the things that he mentioned when discussing his decision not to run for President, was the fact that he felt nauseated by the idea of going to complete strangers and people he didn't even like and begging them for money. Anyone who can get past this nausea has suspect moral principles IMO, and keep in mind that unlike the folks in the Senate who are elected for six-year terms, the members of the House must run every two years.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby jeremyp » Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:24 am

The problem can only be fixed when the procedures of our democracy are changed. Gerrymandering needs to be taken out of the hands of politicians ( I believe California has done so), and procedures that allow a minority to dictate or hold up action must be changed. How many times do we have to hear that one person, or one small group, is the problem? Frankly there was a part of me that wished that we could have experienced the debacle that would have occurred had we not raised the debt ceiling, because the government shut down affected a minority. Living, rather than imagining, chaos brings change.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby JumboElliott » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:48 pm

Why are we holding up a state where nearly a quarter of the citizens are below the poverty line as some sort of model for the rest of the nation on how to run a government?
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby user4 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:26 pm

JumboElliott wrote:Why are we holding up a state where nearly a quarter of the citizens are below the poverty line as some sort of model for the rest of the nation on how to run a government?


Because CA has mastered the art of producing a tremendous volume of economic activity in part due to the genius of simply giving people cash that have the ambition and will to spend it.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby bambam » Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:03 pm

Well, I'm out on the over/under. Whoever comes closest to the actual retail value without going over ...
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby TN1965 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:15 pm

bambam wrote:
gh wrote:political science


Political science - now that's an oxymoron if ever there was one.


So give us your enlightened view on why these studies constitute oxymoron. We are too ignorant and stupid to figure that on our own.

http://www.apsanet.org/utils/journal.cf ... N=92861007
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby DrJay » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:39 pm

BillVol wrote:Nothing will change because the American people are dumb. Most don't vote anyhow. The ones that do are largely stupid. Incumbents have a huge advantage. People vote on name recognition.


While the polls are telling us the approval rating of Congress as a whole is about 10%, apparently people's approval rating of THEIR Representative and Senators is much, much higher (haven't seen actual numbers.) That's sort of a variation on the theme that 90+% of people think their children are above average.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby TN1965 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:05 pm

Actually, it's a little more complicated than that.

Polls also show the majority of people (about 60% is the latest number) would want to replace the entire Congress (including their own representative) if they could. But no one has that power. The only power people have is to vote out their own representative. But would they do that without knowing what would happen to other incumbents? They may end up kicking out "their crook" while other crooks are still in office. It is a classical collective action problem.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby Daisy » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:23 pm

I think we are over-estimateing the memory of most voters. I suspect there is plenty of time for this whole default discussion to be forgotten. It will be business as usual come 2014.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby user4 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:35 am

Political science is the art of persuasion: Persuading people, the citizens, to put the politicians interests above their own.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby bambam » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:38 am

TN1965 wrote:
bambam wrote:
gh wrote:political science


Political science - now that's an oxymoron if ever there was one.


So give us your enlightened view on why these studies constitute oxymoron. We are too ignorant and stupid to figure that on our own.

http://www.apsanet.org/utils/journal.cf ... N=92861007


I don't have any enlightened views on politics. I just hardly think it is science. Science is mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc. Plus even if you concede that there is an academic side to it, and I certainly think there is, the reality is so contaminated by what we see in Washington and the state capitals that I find it specious to call it science.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby bekayne » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:26 pm

jeremyp wrote:The problem can only be fixed when the procedures of our democracy are changed. Gerrymandering needs to be taken out of the hands of politicians

Proportional representation makes Gerrymandering obsolete
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby bekayne » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:27 pm

DrJay wrote:
While the polls are telling us the approval rating of Congress as a whole is about 10%, apparently people's approval rating of THEIR Representative and Senators is much, much higher (haven't seen actual numbers.)

I've seen polls lately where that's started dropping
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby JumboElliott » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:46 pm

bekayne wrote:
jeremyp wrote:The problem can only be fixed when the procedures of our democracy are changed. Gerrymandering needs to be taken out of the hands of politicians

Proportional representation makes Gerrymandering obsolete

It also promotes the tyranny of the majority, the reason that the US is not a direct democracy.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby kuha » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:33 pm

user4 wrote:Political science is the art of persuasion: Persuading people, the citizens, to put the politicians interests above their own.


I don't buy that. Politicians stay in place by representing--enthusiastically, in many cases--the interests of their most potent/powerful supporters. That MAY mean the primary voters (however few of them there may be in gerrymandered districts) that get them elected in the first place, and/or the deep-pocket individuals and lobbying groups (however few of them there may be) who give them lots of campaign money. The fundamental problem lies in the fact that the interests of those groups may have very little to do with the actual, majority interests of the larger population.

Politicians are only as bad as the voters that elect them. If we truly wanted saints and geniuses in office, we could put them there.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby gh » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:40 pm

bekayne wrote:
jeremyp wrote:The problem can only be fixed when the procedures of our democracy are changed. Gerrymandering needs to be taken out of the hands of politicians

Proportional representation makes Gerrymandering obsolete


You're kidding, right?

http://www.nationaljournal.com/hotline/ ... s-20120330
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby TN1965 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:33 pm

bambam wrote: I don't have any enlightened views on politics. I just hardly think it is science. Science is mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc. Plus even if you concede that there is an academic side to it, and I certainly think there is, the reality is so contaminated by what we see in Washington and the state capitals that I find it specious to call it science.


What makes mathematics, physics and chemistry "science"? What makes "political science" (not "politics") categorically different from them?

Do you think astronomy, geology, paleontology or epidemiology "science"? Is "political science" categorically different from them?
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby TN1965 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:41 pm

user4 wrote:Political science is the art of persuasion: Persuading people, the citizens, to put the politicians interests above their own.


Another post by someone who has no clue on what the topic is about. :roll:

Political science is "study" of political phenomena. And as the name suggests, it tries to explain political phenomena by a series of falsifiable hypotheses. Its results can be used by political candidates or campaign managers. But that is not the objective of study.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby jhc68 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:30 pm

Here's the technological (as distinct from the politically scientific) element to the current Congress:

Digital map-making programs available during the past couple of redistricting cycles have enabled politicians to analyze population,race, ethnicity and income demographics on a block-by-block (even a house-by-house) basis. And with that knowledge they have been able to carve out the otherwise nonsensical gerrymandered districts shown in the article gh cited to a much higher degree of precision than was ever possible in olden times.

Once computerized models were employed to create new, rock-solid districts where one political party or the other is absolutely ensured victory then the candidate selected during the primary election is unbeatable.

And since few voters are interested or informed during the primaries, then the small fraction of the population who are political zealots of the extreme right and left and DO vote in the primaries are the only ones the new Congressman represents. The rest of the population - voters or not - are irrelevant to the Congressman's reelection.

Voila! Governmental deadlock.
What's the solution? I dunno...
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby kuha » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:44 pm

jhc68 wrote:What's the solution? I dunno...


Pretty clearly it is, in part, going back to some version of "objective," "old-fashioned" districts. That could start by including only whole and contiguous counties--in order to preserve something of the actual, existing urban/suburban/rural mix. While not eliminating all extreme candidates, it would give far more weight to centrists and pragmatists.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby bekayne » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:46 pm

gh wrote:
bekayne wrote:
jeremyp wrote:The problem can only be fixed when the procedures of our democracy are changed. Gerrymandering needs to be taken out of the hands of politicians

Proportional representation makes Gerrymandering obsolete


You're kidding, right?

http://www.nationaljournal.com/hotline/ ... s-20120330

No, really it does
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportion ... esentation
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby user4 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:20 am

kuha wrote:
user4 wrote:Political science is the art of persuasion: Persuading people, the citizens, to put the politician's interests above their own.


I don't buy that. Politicians stay in place by representing--enthusiastically, in many cases--the interests of their most potent/powerful supporters. That MAY mean the primary voters (however few of them there may be in gerrymandered districts) that get them elected in the first place, and/or the deep-pocket individuals and lobbying groups (however few of them there may be) who give them lots of campaign money. The fundamental problem lies in the fact that the interests of those groups may have very little to do with the actual, majority interests of the larger population.


If you didnt agree with it, why did you go on to explain how you agreed with it !! :)



TN1965 wrote:
user4 wrote:Political science is the art of persuasion: Persuading people, the citizens, to put the politician's interests above their own.


Another post by someone who has no clue on what the topic is about. :roll:

Political science is "study" of political phenomena. And as the name suggests, it tries to explain political phenomena by a series of falsifiable hypotheses. Its results can be used by political candidates or campaign managers. But that is not the objective of study.


I thought there was always room for a little political satire in a thread titled "re-election of current Congress peeps" ... It sounds like my summary hit just a bit too close to home. Nevertheless I like your definition, it provides some sofa stuffing for my more hard framed straightforward definition. :D
Last edited by user4 on Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby jazzcyclist » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:02 am


I think that's the way they do it in parliamentary systems. Democrats would control both houses of Congress if we had that system here. Then there's the makeup of the Senate, in which rural states are heavily over-represented in relation their percentage of the nation's population, and you realize how distorted our system is relative to the wishes of the majority.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby user4 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:35 am

jazzcyclist wrote:

I think that's the way they do it in parliamentary systems. Democrats would control both houses of Congress if we had that system here. Then there's the makeup of the Senate, in which rural states are heavily over-represented in relation their percentage of the nation's population, and you realize how distorted our system is relative to the wishes of the majority.


I wonder if that is why Ben Franklin wrote: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch...." ?
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby TN1965 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:30 am

kuha wrote:
jhc68 wrote:What's the solution? I dunno...


Pretty clearly it is, in part, going back to some version of "objective," "old-fashioned" districts. That could start by including only whole and contiguous counties--in order to preserve something of the actual, existing urban/suburban/rural mix. While not eliminating all extreme candidates, it would give far more weight to centrists and pragmatists.


Uh... I'm afraid you might be missing the point. The real question is how can we get back to non-partisan redistricting. The fact it is done in at least six different states (AZ, CA, HI, ID, NJ and WA) shows it is not impossible. But why would the state legislature give up its own power to redraw the lines?

1. If the majority party in the state legislature thinks they are better off (or at least not worse off) by non-partisan redistricting, then they will chose it.

2. If #1 is not possible, then the Congress can legislate that redistricting for federal offices be done by non-partisan commissions. It is the federal law that currently gives this power to the state legislature, so that can be changed by another federal law. But it requires that the majority party in both houses of Congress needs to think that they are better off (or at least not worse off) with this. (And realistically, at least 60 Senators would have to agree on this, since it can be filibustered.)

And ironically one thing that can reduce the demand for gerrymandering is the voters' self-segregation. If the most ideologically extreme voters chose to live in close proximity to one another, then there will be no need for gerrymandering. And indeed, all the evidences indicate that it is already happening. So gerrymandering may go away and non-partisan redistricting may spread. But by that time, most Congressional districts still might be heavily Democrat or heavily Republican.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby kuha » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:25 am

TN1965 wrote:Uh... I'm afraid you might be missing the point.


I don't think so. I answered the "what" question. The "how" is something else...but that's not impossible, either.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby bekayne » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:30 am

TN1965 wrote:2. If #1 is not possible, then the Congress can legislate that redistricting for federal offices be done by non-partisan commissions. It is the federal law that currently gives this power to the state legislature, so that can be changed by another federal law. But it requires that the majority party in both houses of Congress needs to think that they are better off (or at least not worse off) with this. (And realistically, at least 60 Senators would have to agree on this, since it can be filibustered.)

Then you'll hear the cry of "States Rights! States Rights!"
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby jeremyp » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:43 am

It's obvious that we are stuck on thinking that the electoral process is the problem, rather than the procedures Congress lives by, and changes, to suit themselves. Case in point was last night's "60 Minutes" showing that the Congress got around an ethics law barring private use of campaign money by creating a separate "Leader's PAC" and using campaign money as a slush fund for private uses (junkets, parties, nepotism.) One rep. is trying to pass a law to stop it but he has no takers. As long as Congress refuses to police itself it doesn't matter who you send there.
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Re: re-election of current Congress peeps

Postby lonewolf » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:59 am

jeremyp wrote:As long as Congress refuses to police itself it doesn't matter who you send there.

A lot of truth in that. :(
The irony is that while we widely condemn Congress/Senate as a whole and other states representatives specifically, we , meaning everyone, keep sending our own incompetents back to DC. :?
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