Career politicians to be given the sack

The national home of disposable diapers, Styrofoam cups and plastic packaging is ready for its next revolution — throw-away politicians. Before you summarily dismiss this as Madison Avenue’s latest gimmick, take a minute and think about it.
With the presidential election fast approaching, pundits and politicians alike are issuing calls for term limits. In order to protect our fragile democracy, they argue, we must limit the number of terms a person may serve in the U.S. House or Senate. Supposedly, term limits will increase accountability, thwart the growing influence of lobbyists and promote campaign finance reform.
The latest public orgy over term limits, however, really misses a couple of key points, and I think my concept of a throw-away politician would remedy these deficiencies.
Currently, elected representatives can move from office to office knowing full well that job security is simply a matter of finding a new title every couple of years. What protection do we have if some kid who finds his way to boys’ state and later becomes the governor of Arkansas then harbors presidential aspirations?
Term limits won’t cure the cancer of career politicians — it’ll merely force ’em to hire a moving van more often. With the throw-away variety, however, we’ll chop these public bloodsuckers off at the tentacles before they can fully establish themselves as entrenched parasitic do-nothings.
Simply booting politicians out of office after three or four terms doesn’t go far enough in promoting institutional turnover. Even the most ambitious proposals attached to the now-defunct Contract with America would have allowed citizen legislators to serve six terms in the House. With more time and exposure to pending bills, government reports, etc., our Beltway leaders will undoubtedly become more educated. And if a little knowledge is dangerous, a lot is simply apocalyptic. The last thing I want is the Capitol filled with officials who actually understand the problems they’re trying to solve.
Thankfully, the throw-away politician will never be in such a position. We’ll rigorously weed ’em out after just one term and insure that career bureaucrats (who aren’t democratically elected) make all the important decisions for us. Doesn’t this sound like a good idea?
Hey, if one-hit wonders could produce classics in the ’60s and ’70s, who is to say that freshman legislators can’t write a Top 40 bill like the Clean Air Act (more than 5,000 pages worth in the Federal Register)?
For those of you who fear that the throw-away politician is incompatible with environmental correctness, take heart. The New York Times concluded this past summer, in an article long enough to knock out a small forest, that there is nothing wrong with our conspicuous consumption. They maintain the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra third-graders are constantly muttering is nothing more than leftist propaganda produced by wacko movements like the Sierra Club and the Environmental Protection Agency. So, don’t worry about running out of politicians; we’ll just make more if the supply ever dwindles.
I foresee a host of other benefits if we inject a little of the McDonald’s mentality into the American experience.
Groups like the Freemen and the Arizona Viper Militia will no longer need fertilizer bombs and semiautomatic weapons to voice their disapproval with big government. They’ll simply rent a garbage truck and pick up our discards every November.
This dump-a-politician movement might even have economic benefits. Venture capitalists from Wall Street will be crowding each other out to get a piece of the action on Pennsylvania Avenue as a brand new industry is created to deal with our elected leftovers. The new Age of Political Accountability will be good for labor, too! Who knows, a job in the Senate might serve as a first step for millions of Americans trying to get a foot up on the employment ladder.
Of course, the throw-away politician proposal isn’t perfect.
Contrary to the claims of the New York Times that recycling is a waste of time, there may be environmental side effects. For example, are there any safety hazards associated with the long-term disposal of throw-away politicians? Should we implement curb-side recycling programs on the steps of the Capitol? Are we stealing our children’s future by frivolously wasting precious political resources? Unfortunately, I don’t know the answers to these questions.
The residents of the District of Columbia probably won’t be happy. My proposal will prevent people like Strom Thurmond from establishing a second residence in the Senate, and the real estate market in our nation’s capitol is likely to crash. The odds of disposable representatives transforming Washington into a tax-free enclave like Grand Cayman are now probably nil, too.
Hollywood’s bottom line might also suffer. Critics say the public’s distaste with politics as usual drove this summer’s blockbuster, “Independence Day,” to the top of the charts. Who’s going to shell out $7.50 to watch the White House zapped into a primordial landfill after my throw-away politician proposal sends public servants to public trash cans? We’ll no longer need sloppy special effects and superficial acting to vent our frustration with politics as usual.
I’m sure with a little study, however, the difficulties associated with environmental degradation, plummeting property values and the movie industry’s decreasing profitability can all be easily overcome. We’ll just pass some bills, implement a few domestic programs to mitigate the damage, perhaps offer public subsidies for the disfranchised and everything will be fine.
So why not combine our love of garbage and loathing of public figures into one neat and tidy package? I suspect that when we say we want term limits, what we’re secretly wishing for is a throw-away politician.
Greg Lauer’s column appears in the Daily every Wednesday.