Patterico's Pontifications

1/9/2009

Democrats Rescind Congressional Chair Term Limits

Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 4:33 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

There’s a new Congress in town and MSNBC’s First Read notices the rules are already changing:

“Democrats released a new “rules package,” intended as “Common-sense Reforms to Keep Congress Working for America, Continue to Restore Integrity to Institution,” the press releases subhead reads. But one of those changes rescinds term limits from committee chairs. Is this really a reform? Is this a healthy thing for the Democratic Party? There are just six chairs who were elected with or after Clinton, while the other 16 came to Congress before Bill Clinton was even a twinkle in James Carville’s eye, and six came to Congress before Jimmy Carter was elected! Is this change Democrats can believe in? Shouldn’t the House Democrats want new blood running Congress not just serving in it?”

LA Times’ Top of the Ticket maestro Andrew Malcolm says this means Charlie Rangel can “hold the gavel as long as he wants.”

Most. Ethical. Congress. Ever.

— DRJ

40 Responses to “Democrats Rescind Congressional Chair Term Limits”

  1. Be careful what you wish for, America.

    Patricia (89cb84)

  2. This is your criticism? Seriously? This is such weak sauce. Ending term limits (a policy only in place since the mid 90s) may or may not be a good idea, but its hardly obviously corrupt. Perhaps it helps preserve institutional competence to have that experience. And its not like the game of swapping committees among the senior leaderships was preventing any of them from holding serious power. Some times you Republicans get upset over the silliest things.

    TomO (6f3447)

  3. It’s more about the hypocrisy TomO.

    PC14 (82e46c)

  4. Or we could go back to George Washington’s idea (you remember him, don’t you?) that members of congress should only remain for a short time and then return to the private sector. His view was it would prevent an overbearing entrenched government. He allowed that much of the overbearing entrenched nature could likely be caused by well-intentioned people who were insulated from the results of their actions.

    I suggest his allowance is accurate for many members of congress but many others choose to consolidate power by their regulation patterns and spending patterns.

    No member of congress should be in congress for 2 decades, let alone longer than that. Congress should be a civilian government, not one filled with career politicians and lawyers (however lawyers are welcome to be a small portion of congress, as they are part of the citizenry).

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  5. Yes, it is “a healthy thing for the Democratic Party.” It just is a very bad thing for America.

    Bleepless (fd64b6)

  6. Hm. Charlie Rangel? Would that be the same Charlie Rangel who is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for possible failure to report income taxes on a Caribbean villa? Or using several rent-controlled apartments in Harlem? Or having had a possible off-shore firm ask him for favors (tax exemptions)? And something about misusing House stationary soliciting donations for a school of public affairs named after him in New York? That Charlie Rangel?

    Dana (137151)

  7. TomO, that’s hilarious that you can’t see how term limits for committee chairs reduced corruption. Some time you Democrats have the most ridiculous excuses for your party’s corruption.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  8. Dana – Aren’t you being a little hard on Charlie? After all, he said those things were just misunderstandings that he would clear up and that there was nothing to worry about.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  9. I’ve always heard ‘stick a fork in it, it’s done’. Congress is almost done and the American people are ready to stick a pitchfork in each and every one of them, and their families won’t be exempt from the revenge. Just hope there are no members with the same last name as yours. The only thing that will keep this from happening is for the terrorists to hit congress when in session and do us a favor.

    Scrapiron (dda662)

  10. I feel your pain, Scrapiron. I don’t agree with the outburst, but I feel your pain.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  11. Scrapiron, pass me the fork! I am sick and tired of these sniveling twits lying through their crooked teeth and whining that they are misunderstood or that these misunderstandings are just that. Charlie Rangel has had since July 2008 (when this story broke on the NYT) to clear this up and so far, nothing. Just excuses.

    …and for what it’s worth, even whiny pimply teenagers who are the very essence of the self-righteous misunderstood, grow out of it. That’s what keeps parents from sticking a fork in them – we know it’s a phase, nauseating yes, but passing.

    Dana (137151)

  12. “Common-sense Reforms to Keep Congress Working for America, Continue to Restore Integrity to Institution,”

    Continue? Continue? Wouldn’t you have to first start?

    Pablo (99243e)

  13. Actually, it depends on which working definition you use when discussing integrity. You could be talking about truthfulness and honesty, in which case those pushing for integrity restoration are the most egregious of corrupters. Or you could be talking about something along the lines of cohesiveness, where the most integrity is achieved by the most complete big-government cadre and codifying their power structure and power maintenance, in which case those pushing for continued integrity restoration are indeed being sincere.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  14. Dana – Tell us what you really think.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  15. You get another big city Democratic mayor busted this afternoon, Baltimore, and unbelievably the AP mentions the party in paragraph six.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  16. TomO,

    Thanks for your comment and I’m happy to clarify what I meant.

    Lord Acton, a British historian, reportedly said “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I think this is a good example of what Lord Acton had in mind. Specifically, by eliminating term limits for the chairpersons, the Democratic Congress is enabling a select group of leaders to retain power for a longer period of time. More power, fewer people, and a longer period of time … that sounds like absolute power and it leads to corruption.

    DRJ (345e40)

  17. It is very double ungood that Big Brother is busily consolidating his power among a select few. It also is extra very double ungood that many apologists for Big Brother are pouring out of the woodwork of the unwashed masses. This can only effect the country in a double unpositive fashion.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  18. John, how can you doubt the most ethical and accountable Congress in history? Can’t you feel the Hope and Change?

    Only Republicans offer bribes, stonewall investigations, and say profoundly cynical and ignorant things. Get with the program!

    Eric Blair (459cfb)

  19. EB, consider yourself reported to BB for using unwords. Certainly you got the newest unchanged dictionary that was approved last week.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  20. It’s the Great Leap Forward, John.

    Remember: Caroline Kennedy is very qualified to be Senator. In fact, being a mother is excellent preparation, we are told.

    Seriously, John, there are two dictionaries. Two sets of definitions. It all depends if there is a “D” or “R” next to the name.

    And you need to have attended the correct schools, of course. Or be part of a protected group. Preferably both. Unless you have one of those “R” things, I mean.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  21. Ahh, being a mother is excellent preparation for becoming a Senator or President or SoS, but is detrimental for becoming veep. Or is it that R thing again? I’m sooo confused!!! Where’s Mr Beck and his duct tape when I really need him?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  22. Congress is almost done and the American people are ready to stick a pitchfork in each and every one of them,”

    Gosh I wish this were true. We have had in 2007 and 2008 the WORST CONGRESS IN MY LIFETIME. The worst Speaker – Pelosi – and the worst Congress.

    And did the Democrat majority get turned out? What was the re-elect rate? Except for a few conservatives, some rare birds who actually deserved to come back to office, the worst of the bunch got re-elected.

    Will voters wake up in 2010 and toss the Pelosi Democrats out?

    Travis Monitor (cfa2f1)

  23. Where’s Gingrich when you need him?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  24. Sadly, John, Gingrich burned his own bridges.

    All it takes is a sense of honor. Despite what Hollyweird and the MSM insists, people do care about honor.

    And they’ll vote for it—if they get to see a candidate who makes principled, honorable stands (and more importantly, defends those stands as being honorable).

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  25. EB, while I’ll accept your statement as fact (despite my disagreement), I suggest one of my faves would come in handy and doesn’t have the same connotative baggage: John Kasich. He obviously has the proper first name for the job (poor humor, of course, but not to detract from the overall gist).

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  26. John, I think that Newt Gingrich is smart and has correct ideas. But his personal life torpedoed him. You can say that is unfair, and you are correct.

    Republicans will need fresh and clean types, because I think that the corruption explosion will be much greater than under Clinton’s administrations, and the press will eventually fail to cover it up.

    John Kasich is a good guy. Agreed.

    Most of all, it is going to be a long, hard fight to change the culture in DC. Many of us are going to have to get involved.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  27. When I read

    “..Charlie Rangel can “hold the gavel as long as he wants.”..”

    I immediately thought that it is none of my business what Rangel does after he leaves Congress.

    Seriously, it will be interesting to watch the MSM tear itself into into tiny pieces defending that corrupt buffoon.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  28. What hypocrisy – when did the Democratic leadership ever endorse this Gingrich era rule?

    And absolute power?!?! Come on. This is trivial, so Committee head of Committee X will stay head of Committee X instead of becoming head of Committee Y – that so cuts into his power.

    Also this rule was so useful at preventing corruption during the earmark laden middle Bush/Abramoff years.

    I am not saying the change is a good idea – but, clearly, it just isn’t that big a deal.

    TomO (6f3447)

  29. Well, that was a stunning response….

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  30. Democratic Leadership == the only true leadership? Are you certain about that, TomO?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  31. Democrats have added ‘shameless’ to their corruption. Out in the open pay to play schemes and outright panders to pals and bribes to keep the wheels spinning. There is a Rising Tide of Democrat Sewage washing up… Now, watch as Obama’s senat pals seat Burris, let tax evadaer Charlie Rangel keep writing bills, protect Ed Rendell, *and* find a new Missippi DoJ attorney, then you *know* the fix is in …

    http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/01/democrat-corruption-roundup.html

    Travis Monitor (cfa2f1)

  32. Also this rule was so useful at preventing corruption during the earmark laden middle Bush/Abramoff years.”

    That was a thumbleful compared to the ocean of Democrat corruption going on at all levels of Government. Wake up, stop being a fool and a shill and a doormat for Democrat corruption …

    http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/01/democrat-corruption-roundup.html

    Travis Monitor (cfa2f1)

  33. “I immediately thought that it is none of my business what Rangel does after he leaves Congress.”

    Ahem, but why should Charlie Rangel be treated better than, say Leona Helmsley, for doing similar things?

    The REAL shame is why is he not censured and removed from office already. His tax evasion is open-and-shut case.

    Travis Monitor (cfa2f1)

  34. “Common-sense Reforms…”

    Something about the phrase “common sense” emanating from Democrats — from those on the left — makes me think of a guy who weighs 425 pounds talking about the virtues of a healthy diet and lots of exercise.

    Mark (411533)

  35. But that 425-pounder drinks a super-sized Diet Coke (trademark symbol here, since I’m too comp illit) with his 3 double-quarters and 3 jumbo fries, so he’s dieting.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  36. TomO,

    I didn’t claim this was the most important development in the history of the United States but that doesn’t make it no big deal. There are gradations between the two extremes. However, it’s ironic you so clearly accept the notion that power corrupted the Republican leaders, while you are unwilling to believe it will corrupt Democratic leaders. I think power corrupts everyone, not just the opposing Party.

    DRJ (345e40)

  37. # 28 Comment by TomO — 1/9/2009 @ 8:37 pm

    I am not saying the change is a good idea – but, clearly, it just isn’t that big a deal.

    Just curious TomO, if it’s not a good idea, they why would you argue against those that agree?

    Perhaps we can all agree that it is not the most important safeguard we have, but why chip away at it. It costs the taxpayer zero dollars, it forces new leadership into the committees (sort of), and it serves as an additional layer against corruption.

    If anything, the Democrats should have gone the other way and strengthen the term limits (a move I would have applauded despite my political leanings).

    Why would anyone (Republican or Democrat or Any American), want to remove such an inexpensive safeguard against corruption?

    Pons Asinorum (b2b187)

  38. Troll-O wrote: “Ending term limits (a policy only in place since the mid 90s) may or may not be a good idea, but its hardly obviously corrupt.”
    — 1) How long the policy has been in place means NOTHING in the context of what DRJ said; limiting power limits the misuse of power. 2) ‘May or may not’ makes for a good piece of “I don’t know” commentary; it’s hard to argue for a position when you don’t actually take a stand on the matter. 3) Listen to the wise words of science fiction short story writer extraordinaire, Damon Knight: don’t EVER string two adverbs (“hardly obviously”) together.

    “Perhaps it helps preserve institutional competence to have that experience.”
    — Again with the wishy-washy noncommittal language? Well, perhaps the voting public would like to actually see some new blood from time to time.

    “And its not like the game of swapping committees among the senior leaderships was preventing any of them from holding serious power.”
    — It’s about one person holding the SAME position potentially for decades; that is the problem.

    “Some times you Republicans get upset over the silliest things.”
    — And sometimes (the libtard inability to properly write compound words continues) those on the left throw principles such as democracy and truly representational government out the window in exchange for consolidation of power.

    “I am not saying the change is a good idea – but, clearly, it just isn’t that big a deal.”
    — Well, if you don’t care then it probably won’t bother you.

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  39. If “institutional competence” is such an important concept, why did we reject a monarchy? Wouldn’t that be the ne plus ultra of “institutional competence”?

    Rob Crawford (b5d1c2)

  40. I strongly recommend congressional term limits as the only way to not ensure integrity but provide the greatest opportunity for it. For more on my opinion regarding term limits, and to shamelessly promote my own substandard drivel, check this out.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)


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