Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Amendment...Part 1: Limiting the length of a campaign.

It has got to stop.  I am not one in favor of putting limits on anything in the Constitution.  Amendments should correct unforeseen changes or expand definitions.   One of the times we used the Constitution to restrict something, alcohol, it was a disaster.  By the time it was repealed, we had established the Mob and a culture of violence in many major cities.  Names like Al Capone and Dutch Schultz had become household names.  No limiting the Constitution  has not gone well.  Still something must be done.    There was one that many think of as successful" limiting the term length of the Presidency. This limitation was more of a political correction than a moral limitation.  Perhaps that is the key for limitation; to correct political abuse and stay away from legislating morality.  For the most part though, the amendments have expanded, clarified, adapted or abolished.

There is a limit or two I would place on the Constitution.  The Elections amendment should be such an amendment.  This country has become obsessed with elections. Presidents cannot govern well while running for the job.  We get maybe one year for the House of Representatives before they are back on the campaign trail and the Senate, despite being elected in alternating cycles every six years, become all but useless during national campaigns, especially during the Presidential election.  Most candidates are beginning their campaigns years before the actual election.  The primaries start in January, but the actual campaign begins well before this.  There is a joke roaming around that Romney has been running for six years, but if you think about it with his run in the 2008 primaries, that's not so far off.  Others seem to run for at least two years.  At both conventions, pundits were already discussing who would run in 2016.

And so I come to the Amendment.  It could be something simple like giving congress and the president the power to limit the time used for campaigning for office.  The control could be something like this.

No person running for Congress may present advertisement, debate or spend money for obtaining a congressional office for more than three months before the US elections dates.  In the case of primaries a candidate for congress may campaign for one month before the primary.  If the primary is held before the three month mark, the selected candidate must wait until the three month mark before the election.

Prior to the three month mark the House and Senate shall maintain reasonable in session hours for the conducting of business of the United States, not to be less than 200 days per year. No using these extended adjournments for political gain.

No person running for President of the united states may begin advertisement, debate or spend money for obtaining the office of President more than six months prior to the election date.  This time line shall include all primaries, caucuses, and conventions or events of a like nature.

No organization that is not controlled by the campaign shall be allowed to place advertisements or campaign in surrogate before one month before the election.

States shall maintain individual control over the election of all non-federal candidates.

I am not saying that I know anything about the wording of such an amendment, but you get the idea.  It is time for politicians to do their job and to limit the distractions of campaigning.  We know that most citizens don't even become "tuned in" until at least the conventions or even the first debates.  Other countries limit their campaigning time and there is no reason that the US cannot successfully do this as well.