Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Do We Really Need Partisan Politics?

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Partisan politics is defined by Webster’s, Wikipedia and others in a number of different ways including the ardent and enthusiastic support of an individual or political party that stands for a specific set of ideals or beliefs that they would like to see advanced through the political process, at times without regard to fairness.

Others might suggest it is any candidate or party opposing the status quo of the sitting candidate or controlling party irrespective of any criticism, new ideas or vision that the potential “newbie’s” may be injecting into the political discourse.

And sadly it can also be about those in control for years wanting to stay in control at any cost, including discrediting the loyal opposition by spreading falsehoods, rumor, innuendo and character assassination.

I’ve often asked why politicians at all levels of government at times appear desperate to keep their death grip on the armrests of the seat of power. I suspect prestige and ego may be one reason. An additional source of income may be another.

Another reason is influence. When you’re an incumbent sitting in the “catbird seat” this seemingly intangible commodity is the most significant source of control an elected official can exercise both within and without their immediate sphere of influence.
I’m a firm supporter of term limits. Many might say that by imposing tenure limits we are losing experienced legislators. Others will say we have term limits now. They’re called elections.

But it’s often the “experienced” legislators that concern me. When you examine elected officials involved in scandal and corruption it’s difficult to recall many, if any, involving a freshman or two-term legislator. Conversely, there is an infinite list of those who’ve been in power for numerous terms who have gone astray.

And then there is the power of the incumbency. The longer they serve, the more name recognition they have, the bigger their donor lists become and as a result, the more favors they owe. An election then boils down to popularity contests between powerful, well-known and well-financed incumbents vs. the usually under-financed and less known idealists whose narrow resources limit their ability to have their message heard.

In local elections, incumbents often go unchallenged by the opposition party’s inability or unwillingness to field a candidate. In some cases there is no opposition party, or not one that is active. Without a two-party system in place the recipe for innate unfairness and demagoguery is ripe. A two party system insures debate as well as a system of checks and balances to oversee and protect the interests of the folks.

A controlling one-party system can easily sew the seeds for potential corruption, influence peddling, nepotism, favoritism and cronyism. Yes, state and federal government officials are big-time players in this winner-take-all sweepstakes, but many local town and county governments that have been controlled for decades by the same players or their relatives and minions can be even more troublesome.

How can voters change a system that is so firmly entrenched that it becomes increasingly difficult to think it can ever be changed? One of the best ways to help insure that it can is to see that no elected seat is uncontested.

In the U.S. there are two major political parties and neither is perfect. They do however, offer the only real chance we currently have to exercise any control over the destinies of our world, our nation, our state, our communities and thus, ultimately, ourselves.

Our freedom to vote is not only our constitutionally divine right but our solemn responsibility and duty. We all believe in something. Most of us should be able to find a home within one party or another, with each representing its own set of ideals, values and vision. Our active participation within this system allows us to partake in the shaping of those principles that will guide our individual party’s platform and its selection of candidates.

Labeling anyone as a “partisan politico” may seem to some as mean-spirited. But in truth we’re all involved in partisan politics, whether we see ourselves as Republican, Democrats, Libertarians or Independents. Any party or individual striving to offer a choice in candidates, ideology and vision is involved in partisan politics.

Bi-partisan cooperation, that great ideal that is expected by the electorate, can only become reality when the interests of all are respectively presented and considered through the prism of partisan viewpoints. This serves as a catalyst for discussion, negotiation and eventually productive compromise that should result in legislation in the best interest of the people.

You can say what you want about partisan politics being mean spirited or unnecessary, but without it we risk becoming mindless droids wandering in the wilderness of a political landscape we neither understand nor have the ability or means to change. It’s not partisan politics that’s bad; it’s the lack of dialogue, cooperation and ultimately compromise among the elected, that is.

This is a great summation of the problem we have here in Eastern North Carolina. We have one party rule, and anything that any Republican tries to accomplish is called partisan. This year it looks like we are headed to one party rule on the national level. The last time we had that was during the Carter years.

Though some tried to pretend Jimmy Carter was a "good decent man", the reality is that he was socialist and his term of office was a disaster. He gutted our military and gave away the Panama Canal which is today controlled by Communist China. The regime in power in Iran today was put in power by Jimmy Carter. Millions are living in terror on a daily basis because of Jimmy Carter. When Iran gets nuclear bombs and sets them off in Israel, it will be compliments of Jimmy Carter. When they give them to Islamo-fascsists and they set them off in American cities, the ultimate responsbility will be Jimmy Carters. For more than a generation, the legacy of his 4 years has been haunting our nation.

And yet the American people are about to again give control to a global socialist. Barack Obama will be as much of a disaster for freedom as Jimmy Carter. We have paid for Carter's socialist anti-American policies for more than a generation. We will be paying for the legacy of Barack Obama for much longer than that.


At 1:59 PM , Blogger Nelson Lee Walker of said...


(Note: Only 40-50% of our citizens vote in any given Federal election. This piece is directed to the millions of Americans who don’t vote because they’ve given up on our crummy politics):

The most repeated word this political season is “Change!” The trouble is that it is only being applied to the presidential races, where change is going to happen anyway, thanks to term limits, no matter who wins.

Where “Change” REALLY needs to happen is in Congress, where things never change, regardless of who wins or loses, on either side of the aisle.

Do you realize that the reelection rate in the House is over 98%? In the Senate it is over 90%, and it has been that way for years. Kennedy(MA) and Dingle(MI) have both been there for over 50 years! 50 years! And many of their colleagues are catching up with them in tenure. Nowadays, getting reelected just a couple of times paves the way toward lifetime tenure. Who said that lifetime tenure was just for Supreme Court Justices? Or lousy college professors?

And to make matters worse, Congress refuses to let anyone propose term limits on Congress, even tho’ 80% of the American people favor term limits on Congress.

Some people oppose term limits, saying that “We already have limits, they are called elections!” OK, I say, let’s use elections to do it. Simply NEVER REELECT anyone in Congress. Don’t let anyone serve more than ONE term!

We can only get a citizen Congress and fresh ideas, and solutions, AFTER we get rid of the career politicians in Congress. Career politicians will finally disappear when voters allow only one term in Congress. Is this too drastic a step? Got a better idea for real change? Well, a voter’s gotta do what a voter’s gotta do!

So how do we make “Change” happen in Congress? Simple! Just NEVER REELECT any Congressman or Senator. Never reelect ANYONE in Congress. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Throw the bums out after one term!

And how do we make that happen? Simple! Always vote, in every election, but always vote for challengers . Never, never vote for incumbents. Regardless of promises, platforms, or who will have the majority. Remember, to get rid of the alligators, we must first drain the swamp!

If you don’t have a challenger in your regular party, vote for the next best challenger in any other party. Even if you have to hold your nose while doing it. Just NEVER REELECT any incumbent Senator or Congressman. Never!

After 3 or 4 election cycles, when Congress notices that election turnout is UP, but reelection rates are DOWN, they’ll get the message, and maybe give us term limits, just so that they can serve more than one term!

You can help by sending this message to all your friends and acquaintances. Frequently. (Repetition is the key!) We need everybody to vote in every election, BUT... they must always vote for challengers. Never vote for incumbents! No matter how much it hurts! NEVER REELECT anyone!

I’m Nelson Lee Walker of

At 6:06 AM , Blogger Dean Stephens said...

Mr. Walker,
The problem I have with most of the proposals for term limits is the fact that conservatives are NOT the party of Government. As noted in California, and other places where term limits are applied, legislatures ALWAYS become more liberal. Why? There are lots of liberals who want to be in government. There are few conservatives. Start a revolving door and you make things worse, not better. If you had a 20 year rule, I would support you. Make people sit out one election and run as a challenger? Okay. It is, after all, incumbency that is the problem. But term limit fanatics ALWAYS want some 2 or 3 term limit with a LIFETIME ban. Excuse me sir, but the consequences of that are horrible. Why is it that you will never discuss the diasastrous results where you have gotten this stupidity passed? Theory sounds great, but as far as I am concerned you are a raving lunatic. The real world consequences of the kind of term limts which get passed are worse than the current situation. If you abandon the lifetime ban idea, and allow some reasonable period short of 50 years (say 20 years), you might do some good. However I oppose the short term revolving door term limit disaster which proponents usually get passed.


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