Monday, October 25, 2004

Four fewer years.

I’ve been harboring a tirade about the Electoral College (a system which I believed to be outdated and problematic long before the 2000 election debacle), but discussing it deserves more effort than I have to spare this evening, and so I pose this question, instead: What is the value of allowing more than a single term for any President of the United States?

There would certainly be an upside or three if every President were limited to a single term. “Re-electability” would stop influencing policy decisions. Presidents would spend less time campaigning, and more time governing. There would be greater pressure on an elected President to “do what he/she came to do” in his/her short time at the helm. There’d be more flexibility for voters in the incumbent party, and less despair for voters in the defeated. The incumbent advantage would disappear. Influence of special interest groups would decrease.

I’ve heard a few (poor) arguments for NO term limits, but can find no compelling reason why a limit of two terms would be preferable to a limit of one. Presumably the authors of the 22nd Amendment had a good reason? Perhaps somebody can tell me what it was.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

More tolerant than thou?

From a story on NPR's All Things Considered:

“In 1958, only 1 out of 6 Americans said they would vote for an atheist president, even if he were well qualified. Today it’s closer to half. So, on the one hand, Americans have grown more tolerant of atheists. On the other hand, that is far less than the percentage of people who say they would be willing to vote for a woman, or an African American, or an evangelical Christian, or a Catholic, or a Jewish candidate, or even, in the most interesting case, there are 10 percentage points more people who say they would vote for a Muslim.”
I hope I have the presence of mind to recall this fact the next time somebody tries to explain to me that their particular brand of faith is being “oppressed by modern society.”

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

An introductory admonishment.

I am a complainer. And when I am not a complainer, I am argumentative. And when I am not argumentative, I am a pessimist. And when I am not a pessimist, I am asleep. So be forewarned: harboring expectations that something other than cynical bombast might collect here would be, well, optimistic.