Political Cycle-Time LO9696

Mon, 2 Sep 1996 15:19:21 -0400

In a message dated 96-08-28 (LO9537) Ben writes:

> ....politicians go to great length to court the right people, propose the
>right legislation, to ensure that they get enough money to win the next
>campaign. This, again, brings us to a near-term view of the political
>process, and impedes, IMO, a systemic approach to government. >>

Bill H. (LO9590, 96-08-29) makes a similar point:

> The cycle of reelection which is pretty short term along with a
>population which really doesn't understand how we got into the various
>messes we are in encourages politicians to do something to make the folks
>who reelected them feel like we are DOING SOMETHING. As most of us would
>agree, cause and effect are not closely related in time and space (Senge,
>5th Disc. p.63) If I am a politician, I want to get credit (votes) for the
>risks I am willing to take while in office. >>

Ben & Bill,

This is a really good point, but I want to highlight the reason for the
short terms of office for congressal representatives: responsiveness to
the electorate. The constitution set the terms for senators at six years
to encourage the kind of long-term, deliberative thinking that you so
rightly hold as important. Unfortunately, this intended effect of the
longer terms seems to be weakening. Actually, probably a more accurate
way to say it is that other forces in the system seem to have gotten
relatively stronger.

The question I come to is: How can our political system best combine a
responsiveness to the electorate with the long-term, systemic thinking we
need to best address problems of governence?

-Jeff (BrooksJeff@AOL.com)



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