Fox In The Hen House

In the book that I'm reading, The President Who Failed: Carter out of control, author Clark R. Mollenhoff says that Lynn R. Coleman was nominated as General Counsel for the Department of Energy. What's the big deal?

Coleman worked for the law firm Vinson and Elkins, which "represented major oil interests." Also, Mollenhoff writes that, "Coleman had personally represented many of the major companies and had lobbied for those oil interests in the Senate and House as well as before the Federal Power Commission and Federal Energy Administration--predecessors to the Department of Energy."

This is just one example that Mollenhoff gives of Carter's malfeasance. For a man that said he'd never lie to the American people, it seems that he did his fair share. I have to admit though, I was born during the Carter administration, so most everything in the book is news to me.

Democrats vs. Republicans, and Vice Versa

I attended a Democratic meeting two months ago. It was interesting to see how those who spoke up against the Republican party claimed how the party was leading us like lemmings off of a cliff. I heard a lot of talk supporting the Democrats, but tearing down the opposition party.

For example, someone at the meeting said that Republicans would vote for a dead snake rather than vote for a Democrat. It wouldn't surprise me if someone at a Republican meeting said the exact same thing about their party.

Somehow God created Democrats and Republicans, and they can't seem to co-mingle. Each party believes that they are the saving grace of the United States.

I'd like to think that I'd do what is best for Americans no matter what. It bothers me when I hear both parties criticized for reasons that are either trivial, or are simple differences of opinion. I'd like to see more Republicans try to understand the viewpoint of Democrats, and vice versa.

What Is A Centrist?

According to Advocates for Self-Government:

CENTRISTS espouse a "middle ground" regarding government control of the economy and personal behavior. Depending on the issue, they sometimes favor government intervention and sometimes support individual freedom of choice. Centrists pride themselves on keeping an open mind, tend to oppose "political extremes," and emphasize what they describe as "practical" solutions to problems.

Politics As Usual

When we hear the phrase "politics as usual," we know exactly what it means. It means partisan bickering, lack of cooperation, excessive red tape, and a government slow to act.

I plan to run for political office, and the idea of putting up with "politics as usual" is a disturbing thought. People think that I'm going to change when I get elected, that I'm going to become some slick politician.

Why is this? Why do we have such a low opinion of politics and politicians?

Here's part of a comment I received on my other blog:

do you understand the shady politics that go on in that path to becoming a president?
Now maybe I'm naive, but I don't think politics should have to be shady. I think we just don't expect anything better, so we don't hold our elected officials to a very high standard.

Rather than having politics change me, I'd rather change politics.

Sen. Byrd to Run for Record Ninth Term

Sen. Byrd to Run for Record Ninth Term - Yahoo! News

COMMENTARY: West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd has decided to run for reelection at age 87. The man was first elected to his senate seat in 1958. I would have thought that Senator Byrd would have run out of good ideas 30 years ago. I don't agree with the idea of term limits, because in theory, I expect that politicians will be voted out of office every so often when someone who's different, new, or better comes along. This must not be so in West Virginia. So far, it seems that the only person who could beat him in an election is the Grim Reaper.

Here are some prices from 1958, the year that Byrd was elected to the US Senate:

  • House: $30,000
  • Average income: $4,650
  • Gas: $0.24

Checks AND Balances

We often hear the term "checks and balances" when referring to the three branches of government in America. Most of us readily understand what it means to check the power of another. The system was set up so that no one person or branch would have free reign over the government, and that the other two branches would check the third's power.

Of course the phrase is "checks AND balances." So what are we really balancing?

Former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton writes in his book How Congress Works and Why You Should Care, an excellent description of those points of view that we must balance in order for democracy to work.
The founders went to great lengths to balance institutions against each other--balancing powers among the three branches: Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court; between the House of Representatives and the Senate; between the federal government and the states; among states of different sizes and regions with different interests; between the powers of government and the rights of citizens, as spelled out in the Bill of Rights.
Hamilton also says that the founders took into account balancing interest groups against each other.

For those of you who think that government moves slowly, be thankful that government moves at all. It is almost mind-blowing to think that a document produced in 1789 could still be balancing the powers of government in the year 2005.

Newton's Third Law of Motion

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I'm sure you remember this law from high school physics class. So what does this have to do with politics? Simple.

For every political action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

This seems to me to be an important lesson to keep in mind when I run for office. As much as politicians would like to have every voter in their corner, it just isn't possible. It is inevitable that if you gather more than a couple of people in the room, you're going to have opposing views on just about every issue. You've probably thought to yourself after arguing with someone who disagrees with you, "How can this person, who's usually intelligent, be for [insert name of issue] when I'm against it?" I'm sure that you've also thought that if everybody used their logic like you do, that everybody would end up agreeing with you. The good news is that not everybody agrees with you.

This isn't meant to be mean, it's the truth. During the founding of our country, we had the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. They disagreed, and we most certainly benefited from their disagreements. No issue is ever completely one-sided, and a good politician will look at both sides of the issue and base their decision on the facts and intuition.