Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vote Against The Incumbents

[Caution: Bad Attitude Ahead]

I don't talk politics much on this forum. But unusual times call for unusual blog posts.

Most people have some kind of basic rules they use to make hard decisions when voting. With a few big races, they know what to do because they have an opinion. But we're constantly asked to vote in races where we don't know anything.

Some people say:

- Vote Republican

- Vote Democrat

- Vote Libertarian


My tie-break rule is very simple: Vote Against the Incumbent!

This year I've moved this up from tie-breaker to primary rule. So now, my voting rules are:

1) Vote against the incumbent.

2) If there is no incumbent, vote for the person who is least experienced in politics.

Mayor, state legislators, governors, Congress, Senate -- everything.

It's the closest I can come to Vote the Bastards Out.

If you don't like the condition your condition is in, Vote Against the Incumbents!

Sounds irrational? No. In fact, it's very rational. The people currently in office got us where we are. Republicans, Democrats, and the occasional third party. They've built a system that places their personal election above every other thing -- including the best interests of their district, their state, their nation, or the entire world.

In some sense, the system was designed this way. A gaggle of self-interested power-grabbers who balance out each others' interests. (See previous post on this.)

The rationality of this movement is the same as any other mass movement. If one person votes against an incumbent, nothing will change. If large groups of people all across the country (and the world!) vote against the incumbent, then things could change very quickly.

But, you might whinge about the policy implications. "My one issue is more important than everything else. This one party takes my stand on this one issue." Blah, blah, blah.

How's that working out for you? Has your one true party solved your problem, defended your position, and made the world a better place?

Or does your party vote 95% of the time like everyone else and make no meaningful changes, all the while lining their pockets and building an economic system that can collapse the global economy in less than a month?

We're going to get out of this mess despite the actions of the incumbents.

And the world would be a lot better off with some fresh ideas.

In particular, we need some younger blood in political office. The current generation of 25-35 year olds have more energy and more creativity than we've seen in a long time. Let's kick out everyone who's been in office (of any kind) for more than twenty years.

Maybe then we can solve today's issues with some fresh ideas.

Of course the new politicians will eventually be corrupt in new and interesting ways . . . eventually. But in the short term, they'll bring us a fresh approach.

Then, twenty years from now, we can kick them out!

[/set diatribe=off]



  1. Kicking out the "ol' timers" is exactly what needs to happen. No one should be able to make a career in politics. That's not what the founding fathers had in mind.

  2. "2) If there is no incumbent, vote for the person who is least experienced in politics."

    But isn't this the exact thing you argue against when you talk with your customers? Or potential customers?

    Don't you want to see a track record for the person you are voting for? Instead of just hoping that they will say what they will do?

    just my 2 cents.

  3. Mike: I understand your point, and I wish the comparison was valid.

    But the skills needed to take office in politics and the skills needed to lead a government (state, state, county, nation) are not the same.

    I can make an argument that 20 years experience with technology makes a difference. But the most recent experience makes the most difference. When someone comes to me with an NT 4.0 MCSE and no technology jobs in the last five years, I don't hire them.

    In politics, I want people who have recent experience OUTSIDE the system that is failing us.

    I want lawyers and doctors and plumbers named Joe who have had to run a business, pay a mortgage, and live within the rules created by the government. I want recent experience with that.

    Think about someone who has been in elected office for 20 years. They haven't been a "private" citizen since the Reagan Era. The last time they lived in the "real world," no one had cell phones, the world wide web hadn't even been thought of in a college lab, and gas was horribly expensive at $1.25 a gallon.

    This is one area where experience counts against you.

    Experienced politicians are like experience hookers: they just know more ways to . . . well anyway.

  4. I certainly understand the sentament and it is tempting to vote out the old timers. But the fly in the ointment is that if we have all new people in office, then the power shifts from our elected officials to the staffers, civilian beaurocrats and military.

  5. I've heard that argument before. Eventually, the new legislators, etc. will learn their jobs.

    In the meantime, I don't think governance can get any worse than it is now.

  6. It can get worse. Today's economics is just a drop in the bucket compared to other times (for example, 1979-1980).

    Just like i wouldn't let the newest guy in my organization run it, I cannot see someone with the lowest experience running our entire country. It is not a time for 'on the job' training.

    I do appreciate your thoughts and I also realize that you are living in a much different state than I am and that has to have some impact on your opinions.


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