Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The right to choose...

...whoever you want.

From a Paul Jacob Editorial:

"I still don't understand," Beutler confessed, "why people would want to give up their right to choose whoever they please."
Beutler says this in defense of scrapping term limits. He obviously believes that, save term limits, we can choose whoever we want for elected office. From my point of view as a third-party supporter, this couldn't be further from the truth.

When I look at a general election, I see a highly regulated choice. It comes down between the Republican and the Democrat, with the third party candidates there (seemingly) just as decoration.

One can argue that we have the primaries to narrow the choice, therefore we have a wide choice of candidates between the two parties. Certainly the Democratic ten of a year ago are an example of this at it's best. If every race were like this, perhaps things wouldn't seem so bad. On the other end, and from the same election, George W. Bush was the presumed winner of the Republican primary, severly limiting the choice Republicans had in that election.

Where I live, primaries rarely see more than three names on the ballot per post. The establishment candidate and a challenger or two. Worse, the Democrat (almost) always wins the general election, thus making the primary our only real chance to choose. Having an establishment candidate with a high probability of winning doesn't give us much of a chance.

On a larger scale, primaries are a choice, but choosing from a limited field of candidates for someone to run in an election against someone else chosen from a limited field of candidates doesn't equate to being able to choose whoever you please.

There are valid arguments for and against term limits, Mr. Beutler's just isn't one of them. We were never able to choose whoever we pleased. We still aren't. To use the restriction of choice that comes with term limits as an argument against them shows a weak position on the subject. Do your homework, Mr. Beutler.

TOPIC: Politics