26 August 2008

Improving the Quality of Candidates That Seek Higher Office . . .

I'm sick of perpetual candidates, seeking one office while holding another. I'd love to see an amendment to address this ridiculousness, combine it with a clause to rectify the ridiculousness of barring the Presidency from people who just happen to have not been born in the United States or its territories.

So this amendment would do two things, first, allow any citizen, foreign born or not who has lived continuously in the United States as a citizen for at least a decade prior to the election be eligible to for our highest office. That should be enough, we need the best politicians available to seek our highest office, and the native only clause in the constitution has barred some excellent people from even contemplating a run at the presidency. The other part of the amendment would require any current federal elected office holder (with two exceptions) to resign their current office at least 14 months prior to the election (sitting Presidents or Vice-Presidents excluded). Senators McCain, Obama, Clinton, Biden, Dodd, all did lousy jobs being Senators while they were candidates. If they're serious about being President, I think they should go for that position without the safety net of falling back into their old comfy job in the Senate. They are shortchanging the people of their respective states, and the United States as a whole by this nonsense. In the same clause of the amendment, also bar folks from running for more than one federal office concurrently. That way, the primary losers could still try and win back their Senate seats, though their appointed replacements might have something to say about that, and in the case of an ex-Senator losing the general election, they'll be forced to sit out a few years before jumping back in to the Senate. It may seem contradictory to want more people eligible on the one hand, but place greater limits on one of the primary pools that has produced candidates, but by in large, those trying to go straight from the Senate to the presidency haven't been the best available, they've simply been the ones most familiar with DC, and the ones DC was most familiar with. In my mind, that's more a disqualification for the office rather than a qualification, and an amendment like this wouldn't ban them from running, it'd just give them something a little extra to consider should they choose to make the attempt.

Nobody should be Senator for more than two terms, that so many of them linger for so much longer is sad, but those that stick around longest have access to all the best pork, and pork still buys votes in most states, despite protestations to the contrary. This wouldn't be a big change, but at least it would make these candidates face some real consequences for their ego driven attempts at higher office. Anybody in the House wouldn't be as affected, given that they know they can always get back in two years, but the Senators would lose quite a bit of DC influence if they run and fail, and in my opinion that's exactly how it should be.

If I checked my archives I'd probably find I've made a similar complaint before, but this issue won't go away, so I'll keep complaining.

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