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Daddy’s Little Congressman

In the congressional district in which I live, there is a candidate for the U.S. House. His name is Ethan Hastert, and his signs are plastered all over the district, sort of like our own midwestern version of kudzu. On these signs, his last name is featured prominently, while his first name is written above it so small as to be almost invisible.

There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that he probably realizes that no-one named Ethan should be elected to anything, and that the last decent Ethan that America had was Allen. The second reason is that his daddy was the Speaker of the House for a while, the one and only Dennis Hastert. Ethan, hereafter referred to as “junior,” is trying to get elected on his father’s name. He’s not local, he hasn’t been involved in the district, and worst of all, he’s a lawyer. I’ve lived in the district for over 20 years, and until he announced his candidacy, I didn’t even know he existed. It’s a clear case of junior hoping to avoid the heavy lifting, and slide into congress because of “daddy.”

To be fair, he’s not the first. There are many districts, and states, where families view the seat in the congress as a hereditary sinecure. The Kennedy clan in New England, the father-daughter Molinaris in NY, te dead husband-living wife team of Carnahans in Missouri.

I have long objected to unlimited terms for congressmen, and I absolutely loathe the idea of the seats becoming some sort of political patrimony. I disbelieve that any of the mopes in congress are there because they love “public service.” They are there because they are incompetent in the private sector, or have figured out a way to steal from us that guarantees them, and now their family, an income for life.

William F. Buckley once opined that he would rather be governed by the first 500 people listed in the Boston phone book than the faculty at Harvard. Keeping that in mind, I have come up with a plan to reform congress that will solve a few of our problems.

We should amend the U.S. Constitution to eliminate the election of Representatives. Instead, they should be selected by lottery, much the same as we do for juries. We put safeguards in place to make sure they don’t suffer financially. At the end of their two-year term, we send them back home, and they are rendered ineligible to ever serve again. One could refuse the appointment, of course, but if one did, that person would lose their right to vote, perhaps only for a set period of time. After all, rights carry responsibility.

Every day in this country, we give twelve randomly selected people the power of life and death over defendants in criminal trials. If your neighbors are trusted with that immense responsibility, why not trust them with the reins of government? Every day, people balance their checkbooks, run businesses and households, and raise children. Why would they be any less capable of running the country? Especially grouped together in congress? Remember, it isn’t your neighbors and friends that don’t trust you, it’s the government. They think they know what’s best for you. I say let’s take it back. More ideas tomorrow.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Reaganite
    January 13, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    It sounds like you just don’t like the guy because of his name. That is fairly shallow.

  2. January 13, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Nope, not at all. I have no feelings about the guy at all. I object to the process. He is just the current iteration of a flawed system.

  3. Karen
    January 14, 2010 at 10:00 am

    If nepotism were the only requirement or deciding factor to elected office, then one of my senators would be Caroline Kennedy. An attorney by trade who I don’t believe has ever practiced the law, her primary pursuit in the recent past has been a strong supporter and fundraiser for the NYC Department of Education. She has done no public service, held no elected office and yet assumed she could simply move into the vacating seat of Senator Hilary Clinton last year. Familial favortisim has been rejected as entrance into most unions and the goverment should follow suit.

  4. DeadRepublic's Kid
    January 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    To be fair Dad, after having served on a jury with my “peers” who were decidedly more interested in having the day off to fart around in court, I’m not sure I trust my neighbors anymore than the government. Instead of actually listening to the facts of the case only to be easily swayed to whatever position I told them to take (being that I was the only one who took notes or paid attention therefore obviously making me the smartest in the group) how could I be sure that the monkeys put in office by the same lottery as jury duty would do any better at paying attention and not being swayed?
    I realize that these people may in fact raise children (heaven help us) balance their checkbooks (although the idea that some of them can do math is a stretch) doesn’t mean I want them standing up for me in anything that might be important to my daily life. I’m not trying to suggest however that I enjoy the current set up any more than you do… I just know too many of my neighbors to want them running anything.
    Just my two cents that weren’t asked for 🙂

    • January 14, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      I suppose the choice is really between amateur idiots, and those with enough experience to be professionals. The professionals have been feeding at the trough long enough, let’s give the amateurs a chance. Your neighbors couldn’t do any worse than the current batch of thieves; TARP, health care, and Afghanistan being prime examples of congressional buffoonery.

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