September 18, 2009

Recruiting better politicians

Has either party ever done any serious research into how to recruit better candidates?

For example, has any Republican ever seriously researched the question of what level of salary for officeholders is best for attracting better Republican candidates and officeholders?

Most discussions of pay for politicians in America seem to be moralistic/idealistic rather than pragmatically partisan. I can't recall anybody saying we should pay state assemblymen more/less because that would help my party beat the other party. But, that is an interesting question.

By way of analogy, about a century ago in Britain, the question of whether the government should start paying a salary to Members of Parliament was a major partisan issue. The fledgling Labour Party desperately needed to have the law changed to have salaries paid to MPs because it did not attract many rich supporters who could live off their "private incomes." Eventually, the Labour Party got the law changed and was able to recruit talented candidates to be professional politicians, dooming the Liberal Party. In other words, this is serious stuff.

In the U.S. today, the income gaps between Republicans and Democrats in a particular locale aren't as large as between the the three British parties a century ago.

Still, Republicans, I suspect, would be better off if governments offered either very low or very high pay to entry level offices, such as state legislators. Too often pay gets stuck in-between where it's very attractive to the typical potential Democratic politician (e.g., the chairperson of the Diversity Sensitivity Nook at a community college or the press spokesperson for a Save-the-Sea Otters organization, and would be making five figures) but not attractive to a potential high-quality Republican politician (who would typically be running a successful business unit and making six figures -- or is married to somebody making high six figures and doesn't need the salary).

For example, a quality GOP candidate might be, say, a CPA who has built a decent-sized accounting business and now employs other CPAs to crunch the numbers for him while he largely functions as a rainmaker through his multitudinous business and charitable contacts in the community -- somebody good with both numbers and people. (Maybe that's not a good candidate -- that's what research is supposed to figure out).

For the Diversity Sensitivity Nookmeister and other potential Democratic candidates, a state assemblyperson's salary might be a major step up in life, while for the successful Republican CPA, it would require a crushing sacrifice of his family's well-being to take the pay cut.

So, the GOP, being the business party, ends up with a lot of candidates who weren't very successful in business, and probably won't be very successful in running for office or in office either.

Perhaps instead of moderate pay for both lower and upper house members in the state legislature, the GOP would thrive best with low pay for assemblymen and high pay for state senators.

I don't know. I'm just speculating. But that's what research should find out.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

The key question here for setting up a regression model is a quantitative measure of what it means to be a bette Republican and/or better politician.

Perhaps you just survey people and rank by acclimation.

How would you measure passing actual conservative legislation which is beneficial to the US as a whole?

One of the weird things about government today is that measuring politician perf by "benefit to the local community" is often not a good thing, as it just means success in getting pork.

So perhaps benefit to the local community in terms of revenues, population growth, marriage rate, etc. minus crime, pork, etc. ?

Actually that would be a useful measure in general of which communities are getting better.

You know, now that I think of it, in- and out- migration rates are one of the ultimate measures of whether a community is getting better or worse.

dearieme said...

You describe perfectly the current position in Britain: too often pay gets stuck in-between where it's very attractive to the typical potential Labour politician (e.g. the press spokesperson for a Save-the-Sea Otters organisation) but not attractive to a potential high-quality Conservative politician".

Anonymous said...

sigh....the reason that american politicians do not heed the will of the people is because the american federalist system was set up to divide the voters by enlarging the most powerful political districts. Specifically the offices of the president and federal senator are very large and therefore each district includes so many factions that the voters are not able to unite and discover their common interest and thus elect politicians that would vote in the interests of the voters.

the parliamentarian system is much more democratic.

that is why the other western nations in general have politcians that vote in line with the voters' will.


-cryofan

DCThrowback said...

Sounds like the GOP needs some "sabermetricians" to start quantifying these sorts of things. There is much historical data out there in each district, state and nationally that could be reviwed to determine how best to apply the limited resources that come in to run the party.

As I am going to tell my kids someday, if you want to be of assistance and always be employable, learn statistics.

Nate Silver's work at 538.com is pretty good stuff. I hope the GOP has a few guys like him on staff (though I doubt it).

rob said...

Dizzam, Steve, that is an interesting question. You should not have posted it. That's worth researching, getting some data and setting yourself up as the a political salary structure guru.

Maybe relative salaries with the private sector explan why so many Republicans in office are Jeeboo folks. School board pay looks pretty good compared to preaching to snake handlers.

Compensation structure also shows how a small dedicated minority can get nontards with a bit of charisma into office: support them financially.

High pay for 'entry-level' office might be better for Republicans in the long run. Get fairly bright, appealing candidates. Very low pay gets uncompelling old men who want a quiet retirement hobby.

Get young
State by state variation might give a feel. Virginia has pretty nominal salaries for the state houses. A few thousand/year. IIRC, they're 'part time.'

So most state delegates and representatives are lawyers. They're probably older than legislators in other states. If I had to guess, very low salaries lead to a. wealthy trust fund public service types, who tend left. b. Lawyers, craploads of lawyers. c. People looking to make money off selling laws for future positions.

All lawmaking jobs gets c. but VA maybe has it worse. On the other hand, when a job pays 3K/year, one has to at least have a low time preference. Maybe the crooks are smarter.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating observations, Steve.

To get to the heart of the matter, what would it take - e.g., money, prestige, opportunity, survival - to get a party or a people to act in its own self-interest again?

l said...

Sole-proprietor business owner wants to run for congress, he has to commit to walking away from his life's work. If he gets out of congress after a couple years, his business life has suffered a huge setback.
Lawyer wants to run for congress, he knows that his law firm will hold his job for him. If he's out of congress after one term, his business is better than ever.
Why are so many folks in congress lawyers?

David said...

How much did George Washington make?

Alain said...

Coming from the other direction, I wonder how feasible it would be to structure office qualifications to exclude certain candidates. Of course, there are already some minimum qualifications, such as age, in place for various elective offices. I was thinking of a requirement for so many years of business experience. Not academe, not foundations, not NGO’s, but a minimum number of years in the private business sector. Possibly the length of the requirement could be scaled to the level of the office. The obvious rationale is that such “real world” experience should be required of anyone passing legislation which affects the economy. Such a requirement would cut an enormous swath out of the Democratic Party candidate base. Which is probably why it will never happen.

outlaw josey wales said...

Good idea, but your sixth and subsequent paragraphs are pretty weak. Only Republicans are CPA's? All Democrats want to save otters and increase diversity? This caricature should be beneath you, and really takes away from what is otherwise an interesting idea.

silly girl said...

Salary makes no difference, they make their money from graft.

Stopped Clock said...

Check out the surprisingly low salaries of some state legislatures (New Hampshire being the absolute standout at only $100 per year).

Truth said...

"For example, has any Republican ever seriously researched the question of what level of salary for officeholders is best for attracting better Republican candidates and officeholders?"

Yeah, and in what other profession do you receive a pension after 5 years?

Additionally, most congressmen are lawyers and are smart enough to know that after a couple of terms in the house or one in the Senate, they will never have to run an ad again, and will have opportunities they would not have ever had doing Wills and Trusts in Bismark. If they don't they're probably not smart enough to be Congressmen.

Turd Blossom said...

Salary is the deciding factor for the many of the politicians we get.

I've had associates recently run for political office. They justified a significant cash outlay not in terms of any salary (it wouldv'e been a big up front pay cut).

No, they justified it in terms of networks and new doors of opportunity that would open as a result after their political stint.

The growth of K Street in DC and the very confortable financial arrangements for ex-politicos explains a lot more about low quality of politicans than their service pay.

Jody said...

Is there a law against a political party supplementing the salaries of assembly men / Congress critters?

Seems like the easiest solution.

Anonymous said...

My (Republican) Ca. state assemblyman recently said on the John and Ken show that going to a part time legislature would mean he couldn't afford to serve. I get the sense that many Republican legislators are indeed successful small businessmen who can use the 6-8 yr hiatus from running their business while they serve to build a successful clientele for future efforts as lobbyists, network to become state Garbage Board commissioners, etc.

Anonymous said...

Pinching pennies when paying politicians is as penny wise and pound foolish as it gets. Pay them reasonably well. What's the prez make these days, quarter mil? What say we pay him a little more than what Kobe Bryant and others make per basketball game ($20 mil / 80 games)? There are cops, transit workers, and other gubmint workers who make a hundred grand a year with overtime; why not pay the prez more than twice what a busdriver with lots of overtime makes? Just a thought.

Michael said...

I've long been of the opinion we should actually pay politicians a lot more. Not because they earn the money, but because it would create better incentives. For example, there are something like 20000 aides working on on capitol hill. Rather than have the government hire most of those people, I'd rather pay the legislators 5 million a year and have them hire their own staff. You think there's any chance we'd still have idiotic program like Congressional pages if congress critters could pocket the money instead? You could even pay them enough to expect them to finance their own campaigns, then ban them from raising money. I think you'd also cut down on graft. As with most public policy, Singapore provides an excellent example. They pay their ministers 7 figures, and I bet anything we wouldn't find 100k in cash in Lee Kwan Yew's freezer.

OhioStater said...

I would increase pay for the prestige jobs, or introduce additional perks that translate into higher future income. In my scheme representatives are paid the same, but governors make $1 million a year, the House speaker $2 million a year, and the president $10 or $20 million a year. That way, most politicians don't make much, so the taxpayer isn't hurt, but the expected value of political jobs increase and you attract higher quality people.

Anonymous said...

Members of Congress currently receive about $174,000 per year, plus some pretty nice perks. Adjusted for inflation, this amount has remained pretty constant for over 100 years. How should we citizens view this? After all, they work for us, and we pay their salaries.

Now $174,000 may seem like a lot, and, in some ways, it IS a lot, especially when viewed by a fatcory worker who's living on unemployment or by a clerk or salesperson getting maybe $12/hour. Even solidly middle class, college-educated people such as nurses, teachers, accountants or engineers may regard $174,000 as big bucks. But I can tell you, based on personal interactions, that members of Congress don't view it that way. First of all, they have to maintain two households, one in their district and one in Washington, which is a very expensive city. Secondly, they have lots of expenses, not all of which are reimbursed. Thirdly, they all work very hard, spending days in endless conferences and committee meetings and nights and weekends on fundraising and constituent meetings. They interact with the most powerful people in the country, many of whom desire favors from Congress. So $174,000 doesn't really go that far, especially when you're maintaining two households and trying to put your kids through expensive private colleges.

Personally, I wouldn't pay them anything, meaning that only rich people couild serve. This would cut down on the corruption, if it did nothing else (why would a multimillionaire risk prison for $90,000 in his freezer?). Of course, the richest members of Congress are mostly Democrats....

- Black Death

TGGP said...

Hopefully Anonymous is the only person I can think of with a great interest in this topic. As it happens, he's also something of a fan of yours.

Anonymous said...

You raise some very good points, Steve. With only a few exceptions, it's difficult to think of very many politicians who would be successful in business, from either party. I also happen to believe that many politicians are sociopaths, but the same could be said of a good many businesspeople.

It would also be interesting to see if there are links between how much politicians are paid and corruption. Or income inequality in a given city or state, and political corruption. Another interesting angle would be to see if there are correlations between the education level of a political district and the corruption of the local politicians, with or without taking income into account. Race and diversity(diverse versus non-diverse districts) should also be examined along the same lines. It's obvious that certain areas are the perfect breeding ground for corruption, like Chicago for instance.

I live in New York City. I can't help but notice that one of the most evil, corrupt, most despised state senators in state government represents a district in the South Bronx. It is hard to imagine this sleazebag getting elected and reelected so many times in a more affluent district(he doesn't even live in the Bronx!).

Some other similarly corrupt or incompetent local politicians come from areas that are often extremely diverse, and have a high poverty rate and poorly educated citizens(and all too many non-citizens). It's well- known that better educated people are more politically involved.

So when a politician exclaims "Diversity is our strength!", if by "our", they mean corrupt politicians like them, they are telling the truth!

Anonymous said...

One difference between a parlimentary democracy and a republic is that pds are based on platforms while rep are based more on personalities. Combined with a winner take all election system where 50.00001% wins what you end up with is a lack of choices in a rep, especially if you are in the fringe politically. Personality is all important in a rep and less so in a pd.

Anonymous said...

US immigration and politics have something in common. Like immigrants, political candidates select themselves, with frequently disastrous results. Wouldn't it be better to have popular committees of unpaid home-owning, taxpaying citizens delegated at random to interview and rank candidates for citizenship and political office. Only the top candidates would be allowed to become citizens or stand for office.

There is another issue here. I believe there should be a standardized exam for public service that all politicians take, where the score is public information. It would be some hybrid of MMPI-2, Stanford-Binet, and a civics test. It would also measure their understanding of basic campaign law. Poor scores wouldn't exclude anyone from being elected. It would just be common knowledge so we could know whether our congressman (like Maxine Waters) is a psychopathic retard who thinks the rules are for the little people (the voters).

Anonymous said...

Texas legislators get paid a pittance and meet only once every two years. Seems to work fine.

Adam said...

Probably not. Its lots of ways, politics seems surprisingly unprofessional.

For example, all this 'micro-targeting' stuff that politicians have found so revolutionary over the last decade or so is way older than that in the business world.

silly girl said...

"Texas legislators get paid a pittance and meet only once every two years. Seems to work fine."

They have a pretty short session, so there is less opportunity for mega damage.

Sure would be great if we could pay national legislators a decent daily rate of say $1000 a day, no insurance or pension, and a session of about 90 days every three years.

John Seiler said...

The parties don't want better candidates because then you get Ron Paul.

Anonymous said...

Texas legislators get their dollars
from lobbyists and hope not to get
indicted.

Federal legislators get much of their monies from lobbying groups.

Salary is not a recruiting factor;
having the money to run for office
or to stay in office is the defining factor.

Whiskey said...

Ron Paul was not a very good candidate, he had one good idea, the rest lunatic Trutherism and pacifism, that ran against populism's desire for a strong, very strong military and thus deterrence.

The issue of pay is the wrong question -- all you will get is more able but corrupt Republican office-holders leveraging their control over the economy to extract various concessions now or in the future, ala Charlie Rangel the D-NY "forgetting" two million in income in his taxes.

The key is preventing empire building in the first place -- term limits.

A "one and done" for ALL officeholders, from legislators to executives.

This is needed, in order to inject massive populism and encourage cutting/gutting of government bureaucracies.

What ails the Western world, across the globe, is the ability of the elites, disconnected and contemptous of the people, and fabulously wealthy through middle man activities (Soros, Geffen, etc.) to use bureaucracies and their feeders, NGOs (like ACORN, the "green" NGOs, NAACP, Urban League, Emily's List, etc.) to radically affect people's lives.

With elected officials entrenched in corrupt ways, such as Kennedy serving 47 years and Biden 35, in what amounts to hereditary seats.

Any system where seats are hereditary creates "air cover" of the Media + Pols + elites + Bureaucracy against the people.

The internet and "Army of Davids" offers hope in breaking the Media part. Remove the pols (if pay is low, and seats are one and done, only the passionate populists can and will run and get elected) and you have left just the elites and bureaucracy. Populists won't have their own way of course, but can and will be able to block the worst of the bureaucracy and elites proposals, and create purges periodically of the government officialdom.

Tino said...

Here is a recent study from Finland.

http://ftp.iza.org/dp4235.pdf

Alticor said...

Liberal Molly Ivins was right, the Texas legislature runs very poorly because of its schedule.

Attorneys should be barred from legislative service because they are officers of the court, creating an inherent conflict of interest.

We would be better off with citizen legislators in one house and career pros in the other.

Anonymous said...

Why should not legislators be compensated based on the delta in their state's per capita income or something. Really, salary is the best incentive structure we can come up with?

-OM

beowulf said...

James Carville had an interesting idea, raise the salary for Members of Congress to the president's level ($400,000), but the catch is they can't take one dime from any person not in their immediate family.

When they run for re-election, their opponent can raise any sum from any person but has to report it online within 24 hours--- the incumbent then reserves the same amount from the US treasury (or 80% of the sum, to account for the challenger's fundraising costs).

Turd Blossom said...

Salary is a distant consideration in terms of changes that would lead to more responsive and efficient politicians.

(1) The main good government requirement would be to provide public financing of US elections as is done in many european countries. Currently lobbiest and special interests can buy our fed gov for pennies on the thousands of dollars that no salary increase can match.

(2) Absolutely bar former politicans from any direct or indirect lobbying or consulting type work. The politician should serve his/her country, their country should not become a permanent feedbag for influence peddlers and insider corruptocrats.

(3) Mandate equal media access to all leading candidates in meaningful debate forums. We need to eliminate the staged content-free Dear Leader type crap the MSM had devolved into recently.

(4) Term limits are a distant consideration and meaningless without steps 1,2 and 3. Elites and lobbiest could simply buy their politicos cheaper if there is more pol churn. However, there also should not be a heavenly mandate for individuals or parent/child/cousins in a democracy.

(5) Match pay/rewards of pols to that of their realworld positions. Based upon 5-10yr IRS tax forms and models that project future salary growth and lost opportunities (career and business interruption), compensate legislators so there is no net financial penalty with a generous floor and margin for error.

(6) Also, regarding media, relax the standards for slander and lible around political figures and parties during election seasons. This is the least clear guideline (British-like system), but concentrated and coordinated media today currently ensures elites can rentlessly tar and feather any candidate they wish without fact or penalty. As a result, voters are left with two puppets of the elites come election day.

Xenophon Hendrix said...

Are we sure it's money that keeps high quality persons from running for office? Think of all the things politicians do.

They need to tell people what they want to hear. For a person who is well informed, that implies lying. For an example of what I mean, how could a person with good knowledge about human biodiversity honestly address such issues as education, racism, and poverty yet still win an election?

They need to raise campaign funds. That implies that need to make deals with many special interests. Doing the greatest good for the greatest number looks difficult.

They need to listen to their constituents. How many highly intelligent persons genuinely like--or want to pretend to like--an ignoramus with a two digit IQ who happens to live in their district?

They need to make speeches. Fear of public speaking is common.

The more successful they become, the more of their privacy they lose.

Being thoughtful is a drawback. Telling a reporter, "I don't know," is considered bad form. Politicians need to have an opinion, or at least simulate an opinion, about everything.

I strongly suspect that a lot of persons look at what it takes to be a politician and decide that only a crazy person would want the job.

One thing occurs to me, though, that might somewhat improve a political party's bench. Replacing primaries with caucuses discourages the ill informed and weakly motivated from voting. The better informed and more intelligent thus don't have to kowtow as much to the masses.

jody said...

good stuff here steve. never thought about it quite that way. makes sense.

the only time i have ever thought about this topic was when i took a historical look at the US president's salary over the last 200 years.

it's not only relatively low, it stays the same for decades on end, where inflation erodes it down to nothing. i was wondering if raising the salary to something real, like 5 million dollars a year, would attract the kinds of competent people who are the CEOs of well run companies.

but usually people tell me "The President these days is already a millionaire so it won't have any effect!" maybe they're right, but i'm still not convinced. i mean, no presidents were millionaires 20 times over, which would be the guaranteed income under my experimental system.

Sideways said...

So many people talking about the federal government when Steve was clearly writing about the lower levels of government.

Sideways said...

One thing occurs to me, though, that might somewhat improve a political party's bench. Replacing primaries with caucuses discourages the ill informed and weakly motivated from voting. The better informed and more intelligent thus don't have to kowtow as much to the masses.

Bear in mind that it is the caucuses that resulted in President Obama instead of Clinton. They reward devotion and fervor much more strongly than intelligence.

Andrea Nyx Hemera said...

GOP shouldn't necessarily be looking for candidates from the business community. Business is opportunism. A businessman must provide goods and services people desire. It's not about good vs bad, right vs wrong but about what sells and what doesn't. America needs good businessmen, but businessmen tend to be soulless. We don't want politics to be like McDonalds and Hollywood. If anything, that's precisely the problem: Bush sold as a beer buddy, Obama as Will Smith, Sarah Palin as Barbie. Ann Coulter sells ideas as sex. Mitt Romney may be a good businessman, but that's what I liked least about him. He's too smooth, going from moderate to conservative at drop of a hat.

Also, business talents are not necessarily political talents. Reagan worked for business but was not a businessman. He was a leader, an organizer of men. Eisenhower was a military man. We should look to the military model for GOP leadership. Military is about patriotism, national glory, honor, and principles. Business is not. We need pro-business leaders, but business-dogma shouldn't dominate politics. Business is about adapting by selling WHATEVER PEOPLE WANT. Politics must be about right and wrong.

Also, business is no longer dominated by the GOP. Best businessmen in America are liberal Jews. Even pro-GOP businessmen are only econoically conservative--whatever that means. They tend to be socially and culturally liberal. It's no wonder fancy urban conservatives supported Obama once Alaskan rube Palin joined the ticket. Look at the top lawyers, Wall Street oligarchs, superstars of hightech and medical technology. Great many of them are Jews--globalist and liberal.

GOP may still be the party of the small or midsize businessmen, but the superrich are liberal and often Jewish.

GOP need to look to the military model and the Irish-American model. Irish-Americans didn't have the brains of the Jews, but they understood that a united people could gain clout through government. Irish numbers aren't what they used to be in big cities, but cities still have powerful Irish presence. Why? Belief in government. When conservatives are losing out to liberal Jews in business, they need to look to government.

GOP must stop being anti-government. Sure, it needs to be anti-welfare government, but it needs to believe in good governance and seek entry into bureaucratic ranks. Conservatives IN government could serve as watchdogs of waste and corruption. Instead of being anti-government, GOP should be for CLEAN government. GOP must be on the inside to clean it up. When people are upset with Wall Street,Walmart,and crooks in Hollywood, good government is the only hope.

It's hard to succeed in business, less so in the bureaucratic ranks. Business is dog-eat-dog, bureaucracy is dog-learns-tricks. Though Irish-Americans were Democratic, they were often socially conservative. Mayor Daley Sr. kept power in white hands precisely because his people believed in government. If Irish-Americans had held their nose at 'big government', non-whites would have taken over Chicago long ago. Daley held power for whites because Irish-Americans understood the importance of government.

And government shouldn't be run like a business. Sure, it shouldn't be run like a welfare agency either, but the role of government isn't simple populist consumerism. It must stand for solid ideals, some of which go against the business mindset. According to business 101, it is logical to welcome OPEN BORDERS to hire cheap labor. Globalism can hire cheap labor in China and maximize profits. But, as Jesus said, man doesn't live on dough alone.

We need a man like Eisenhower who warned against the military-industrial complex. A true conservative needs to be wary of Big Government but also Big Business. America is more than poltics and business. It is also history, borders, values, ideals, culture, blood and soil. We need a leader who defends and represents those qualities.

Henry Canaday said...

George Mason economist Walter Wiliams once proposed that senators and congressmen should be required to hold all their assets in long-term, fixed interest treasury debt. The value of this debt varies inversely with long-term interest rates, which reflect 1) expected inflation and 2) real interest rates, which in turn partly reflect government demand for credit, that is, public deficits. Our legislators would thus have incentives to hold both inflation and deficits down.

You could expand on this by replacing pensions for legislators with yearly lump sum payments that are paid, of course, in long-term, fixed interest treasury debt.

On legislative salaries, I think you have to start with recognition that collegial bodies do not function well when they are full of brilliant, energetic people. That is what the French had after their fist revolution, a bunch of dazzlers who met on a tennis court and ended up slitting each other’s throats in the Terror.

We are better off when legislative chambers are partly composed of very smart ambitious men, who define the choices and lead much larger groups of willing followers in enacting one set of choices or another.

I tried to look at this problem from a different angle a decade or so ago, when term limits were being discussed. I thought we should limit senators to one term and congressman to three terms, unless they were chosen by their peers to play leadership roles, either of their whole chambers or as heads of committees. The leaders could stay as long as they continued to be chosen to lead, and be paid very well. The rest would be short-timers, paid modestly and sent home regularly.

These followers might be less competent, or they might be genuinely able men and women, who just were not obsessed with staying in government as a career. They might be a combination of the very young, who had not yet begun their real careers, and the very old, who had made their marks and millions.

The leaders would keep the chamber expert and experienced. The followers might keep it a little more connected to popular sentiment. But, importantly, the followers would not dread losing their seats due to offending a critical marginal voting bloc.

Anonymous said...

Late to the party here but I just came up with a genius plan for the GOP to recruit better (ie winning) politicians. Given demographics they will need all the help they can get.

I was watching my emergency stash of "television" shows the other day, American Idol to be precise, when it came to me: the GOP needs to find androgynous white teen idol-looking young men as candidates.

It's an American Idol truism that males do better at AI than females because the voter base is mostly female and they vote for the guy they find cutest. With this plan, we get the white vote *and* the chick vote, more than enough to turn back the Red Hordes.

Whaddayathink? They'll just be meat puppets of course for our "America First" platform.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin as Barbie

If I could build a time machine, then I would happily go back a couple of decades to duke it out with Todd Palin over the title of "Ken".

idealart said...

I think Andrea Nyx Hemera is on to something. You really need to look at the history of Europe vs. everyone else to see the pattern. The US was founded and driven to greatness by European immigrants who brought with them European culture, meaning spiritual as well as intellectual and material values.

Europe is collapsing precisely as their belief in themselves collapsed which coincided with the loss of faith in Christianity by the elites. But you don't destroy a culture overnight. It takes many generations. Oddly enough, the French are better at maintaining their culture in certain ways than the Anglo-Saxons. For instance, there is no affirmative action in France (so far), or what Sarkozy has pushed as "positive discrimination". If anything, just the opposite.

Svigor said...

James Carville had an interesting idea

Carville is a poster child for who/whom, or it's effects anyway; no way in hell this man would be anything but an extra from Deliverance as far as liberals are concerned if anything but total Democrat partisanship came out of his mouth. Just look at that guy and listen to him and tell me I'm wrong.

Svigor said...

The key is preventing empire building in the first place -- term limits.

A "one and done" for ALL officeholders, from legislators to executives.


If becoming a politician is a game of "loot the treasury," term limits strike me as simply adding a game clock.

Added to this is the fact that term limits would seem to give even more power to tenured bureaucrats.

Svigor said...

This is needed, in order to inject massive populism and encourage cutting/gutting of government bureaucracies.

The key to injecting populism into politics is giving the populace their nervous system back, or growing them a new one.

nosulm said...

Andrea sez:
... blood and soil...
Mmm, I read that somewhere before. Thought only those f. racist gerries used to think in these terms.

Svigor said...

What ails the Western world, across the globe, is the ability of the elites, disconnected and contemptous of the people, and fabulously wealthy through middle man activities (Soros, Geffen, etc.) to use bureaucracies and their feeders, NGOs (like ACORN, the "green" NGOs, NAACP, Urban League, Emily's List, etc.) to radically affect people's lives.

No, what ails is the fact that the social nervous system is defunct and so these problems go unnoticed.

(1) The main good government requirement would be to provide public financing of US elections as is done in many european countries.

Where leftist bureaucrat who/whom-ing becomes takes over campaign finance. Politics from the bench, brilliant idea...for me to poop on.

Currently lobbiest and special interests can buy our fed gov for pennies on the thousands of dollars that no salary increase can match.

Again, I see the road leading back to our social nervous system. A million men giving 1k a year could turn American politics on its head. A billion dollars would buy every member of Congress, and the White House. The problem isn't that we're being outspent, it's that our social nervous system is defunct.

I strongly suspect that a lot of persons look at what it takes to be a politician and decide that only a crazy person would want the job.

You make a strong point; you seem to be profiling people high in sociopathy.

And government shouldn't be run like a business.

I don't know about that. I'd very much like to see some competition in government. I know I'm a customer looking to spend his money on something that isn't being sold...

David said...

Money doesn't grow on trees. Who will pay for these salaries? You and I.

Do YOU really want to pay more money to politicians, so that they can do more? I don't.

Do you really want politicians to do more?

You get more of what you fund. Government should be de-funded.

Half Sigma said...

The best politicians are:

(1) Those who can win elections;

(2) Those who can contribute their own money, or have rich acquintances who can contribute money.

No one cares if they do a good job while they are in office. In fact, all the real work is done by people they hire.

CK said...

Anyone who is elected to office must pay the state treasury on a sliding scale. $1000 a week if one is elected to a local office with no measureable spending/taxing authority. $10,000 a week if one is elected to the US house of Representatives, Flat fees of 2 million a year x 6 due and payable upon first and each succeeding election to the senate, 5 million x 4 due and payable upon first and second election to the presidency.