We live in a contentious time. It’s obvious that civility just doesn’t get exposure on TV, while rudeness, name calling, and associated nastiness get plenty of airtime.
So where’s the juice in behaving civilly, and actually working towards solving problems together, instead of beating up on the other guys? There isn’t any, not in today’s adversarial atmosphere.
So here are some truly radical ideas to level the playing field and reduce the amount of dishonesty, self-serving, name-calling, and distortion that characterize today’s congressional activities. Just ask yourself, how would things be if such proposals were actually to be enacted?
- Eliminate sound bites in covering political candidates. How? Insist that the news media – all of them – air no quotation shorter than two minutes, with no editing. Dead boring TV and radio, but perhaps more honest reporting and more thoughtful remarks by candidates.
- Prohibit paid political advertising. I know the Supreme Court seems to prefer that elections be bought by the richest via unlimited advertising, but hey, a guy can dream of judicial fairness. Alternatively, restrict paid advertising by any candidate for federal office to a maximum of $1,000,000 per campaign. That’s more than enough to make us all sick to our stomachs.
- All claims made in political advertising must be submitted PRIOR TO PUBLICATION for verification to a neutral authentication board or service, such as factcheck.org.
- Require each Federal-level candidate to produce a 300-word (no more than 300) document stating the basic things he/she hopes to accomplish during his/her term in office. This becomes the basis for a factual assessment of the candidate’s perfomance if elected.
- Abolish earmarks altogether. ANY money appropriated must be sent through the appropriate committee, with the sponsoring legislator clearly identified.
- Change the filibuster rules so that a senator must in fact perform the threatened filibuster IN PERSON, and that the Senate shall not be adjourned until cloture is voted or the speaker yields the floor (or passes out), whichever comes first. Alternatively, reduce the cloture vote requirements to 55% of those present.
- Eliminate the practice of gerrymandering. One way to do this is to define congressional districts as consisting of an entire county or group of counties. That should stop the practice of “locking in” whichever party is on top at the time of redistricting. The result is a much more fairly balanced congressional election process.
- Require that the senate hold a floor vote on any federal judgeship, ambassadorial appointment, or cabinet appointment within 90 days of submitting the candidate’s name. In the event such a vote is not held, the nominee shall immediately be placed in the position for which he or she is nominated. This will prevent the chronic stalling both parties use in hindering the other party's appointments.