Anti Incumbent Fever At All Time High In History Of Polling

It is very obvious that the American people are frustrated, angry, and furious at public officials as the economic downturn continues to affect millions of Americans.

Two thirds in a recent poll claim they want to kick out their public officials, but face the facts: It is simply emotional, not rational, to have that feeling, as having two thirds or even a majority of the Congress being new would not improve the Congress one iota.

In fact, the lack of experience and institutional knowledge would guarantee WORSE performance in public office, as being in public service is not just a job–it is a profession, and expertise and skill is needed to operate a government efficiently, and get the many responsibilities of government accomplished.

There may well be a larger amount of turnover than is traditional, but don’t expect more than ten percent of either the House or Senate to change by throwing out the incumbent, as he or she still has a great advantage in most cases.

The few incumbents who actually lose will get a lot of attention, but particularly with a large number of incumbents choosing to retire, the actual number thrown out of office by their constituents will be lower than now seems the case, based on the polls.

There is the old saying: Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t know!

4 comments on “Anti Incumbent Fever At All Time High In History Of Polling

  1. Fred February 17, 2010 5:57 am

    Studies often show that people are upset with politicians other than their own. They would like to vote Senator So-and-So out of office but they are perfectly satisfied with their Senator. In reality, we the people have enabled a system that seeks to elect the lowest common denominator and then force the newly elected official to pander to special interests for money to run for re-election. Or we get the situation where Diaz-Ballart is running for his brother’s seat. It’s become musical chairs even when there is an opening in an election.

  2. Jon February 18, 2010 10:30 am

    This argument brings up an interesting issue which has been on the political radar for decades now- term limits. The American people have every right to be angry at their elected officials. One, politicians bicker and fight over silly issues which have no national significance. Rather than achieving policy objectives politicians look to bolster their political stance in order to prepare for their next election. They fill the air with 10 second sound bites of “freedom”, “hope”, and “socialism”. These comments and positions do not solve any national issue; they further politicize Washington and promote specific special interests. Second, politicians have no reason to compromise, as pointed out, incumbents rarely lose an election. With a secure seat and secure job, politicians will continue to bicker amongst themselves. Why should they work to solve any issues, they continue to get re-elected by engaging in partisan, name calling and blame laying politics. This is not the answer.

    That is why term limits should be implemented for all levels of Federal government. Politicians need to understand they have a certain window to come to Washington to achieve the goals their constituents voted for. Through the use of term limits we (the people) can limit the amount of partisanship in Washington because of the fact politicians will now have to work together to solve issues due to the limited time they have as an elected representative.

    Dr. Feinman, you make a credible point about how we should elected experienced individuals to Washington. Through the use of term limits this can still occur. We have to remember that every state has a legislature also, and in this legislature we have competent and experienced individuals who could serve their constituency in the Federal arena just as well as they can in the state arena. However, now these elected officials will understand and know, by law, that they have a time frame to achieve their goals. This would limit the bickering and fighting because coalitions will have to form in order to achieve legislative success. Groups of elected officials will have to work together to successfully implement policy initiatives. Also, term limits would remove the culture of Washington which has plagued our institutions for generations. Elected officials like to come to Washington and ride the gravy train, securing perks and special interests for themselves and the lobbyists. (See Senator Chris Dodd (D) and ex. Senator Ted Stevens (R) as examples on both sides of the isle) The former and the latter are just two highly publicized examples. These two devious examples only touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the standard operating procedure in Washington. The culture and corruption in Washington is poisoning our system of government and alienating voters. (The Tea Party is a direct manifestation of the backlash to the Washington gravy train.)

    Thus, these examples show why term limits should be implemented. They serve as excellent restraints on politicians. They could even limit the power of lobbyists by forcing special interests to continually search for new representatives to enact their goals.
    May the Tea Party and other fringe groups serve as a warning to politicians, Democrat and Republican alike, that politics as usual will not stand. (All dramatics aside, we need to do something to change the Washington culture; it has become a corrupting force which turns voters away from participating in the electoral system. Non participation would ultimately be the greatest disaster to our political structure.)

  3. Ronald February 18, 2010 10:40 am

    You have very well expressed arguments for term limits, but unfortunately, a constitutional amendment would be required, with participation by both houses of Congress, and I do not see that happening in reality! 🙁

  4. Jon February 18, 2010 1:06 pm

    You are probably right. No Congressman/woman would vote themselves out of office. There needs to be a grassroots initiative, one that is supported politically and financially by the people. Only through the people can a constitutional amendment of this nature pass. Thus, a constitutional amendment through the state houses could serve as a political avenue to initiate term limits. As we know, no corporation or special interest will support a term limit initiative because it would only serve to limit their power also. Only through the people can we see real change. This would entail a large consensus on the issue which would force our state representatives to act on our (the people’s) behalf. No doubt though, this will not be an easy task, there will be many opponents to such an endeavor and the Washington institutions (Congress, Presidency and the Supreme Court) could serve as impediments.

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