Are You Waiting for the Day When Politicians Vote Themselves Out of Office?

by Bob Sparrow

Is this the answer?

I have come to hate election years, where politicians turn into junior high adolescents telling us in a 30-second television commercial, how corrupt and incapable their opponents are, while bragging about the pork barrel appropriation that they got though last year.  I have found that I am not alone.  Approval ratings for our politicians are abysmal.  Congressional approval hasn’t been above 40% since 2005. For about half of the time since 2005, it has been below 20%. Yet, even with such low public opinion, congressional incumbents enjoy a reelection rate that rarely falls below 90%.  Put in simpler terms, we don’t like the job our politicians are doing, but we keep re-electing them. What is wrong with us?!

The divide in our country is visually on parade as I hear about the corrupt Republican politicians on CNN and the corrupt Democrat politicians on Fox.  I know I’m not alone in believing that our system, in its current state, is broken. California’s debt is about $32 Billion, our national debt is north of $34 Trillion, if we were to run our personal lives like our politicians run our states and country, we’d be sleeping in the streets.  But, our politicians are more interested in keeping their jobs and thus blaming all the failures of the country on those on the other side of the aisle.

Best government money can buy

We Americans like to believe that we lead the world in almost everything, but we are not even in the Top 10 of ‘Best Governments in the World’, and we seems to be moving in the wrong direction.   While our government may not rank high in the world standings, we can honestly brag that we have the best politicians that money can buy.  To wit, in 2020, 88% of House races and 71% of Senate races were won by the top spender.  The amount of money spent on Congressional campaigns almost quadrupled over the last 20 years, to $8.7 billion in 2020, and it shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

So, what’s the solution?  Many believe that it’s term limits.  Proponents say that term limits would bring in a wave of new ideas and passionate citizens ready to serve their country for a time and then return home. Civility would be the new norm as members of Congress begin to see themselves as fellow Americans and not threats to their own careers.  I have read a number of articles both for and against term limits, both have an arguement, so I asked ChatGPT to weigh in on the subject; here’s what it gave me:

“Term limits for elected officials have been a subject of ongoing debate in political circles around the world. Advocates argue that term limits bring fresh perspectives, prevent the entrenchment of power, and encourage a more dynamic political landscape. On the other hand, opponents contend that term limits can undermine experienced leadership, disrupt continuity, and limit the ability of effective leaders to stay in office.

Indeed, there are some definite advantages and disadvantages to term limits, so perhaps there is a middle ground way to:

  • Eliminate career politicians. For me, this can be likened to professional sports; I loved watching Michael Jordan play basketball, but there was a time, with age, that his skills diminished, at which point, HE decided that he could not compete at that level anymore.  Politicians rarely, if ever, see that their skills have diminished.
  • Make it a good paying job instead of a great paying job. It’s hard to find a politician who has not become a multi-millionaire in office.
  • Find ways to have representation of the American people rather than special interest groups with lots of money

You got yourself into this, I can’t get you out!!!

I do know that it is unlikely that today’s politicians would vote themselves out of their cushy jobs.   I wish I knew how these things could be accomplished without a real ‘peoples’ revolution’, so I would hope that there are people smarter than me that can figure this out.

I’ll give ChatGPT the final word on this as it is definitely smarter than me:

“As societies grapple with these trade-offs, it is essential to consider alternative measures, such as robust checks and balances, to ensure effective governance while respecting democratic principles.”   

I’m Bob Sparrow and I approve this message


Post Debate Ditty

by Bob Sparrow

I regress to Morning News in Verse,

As it seems that things just can’t get worse;

After watching the debate

hillary                     And becoming irate,

            I wonder how it got so perverse.


            I know I should just bite my tongue

            Ignoring the mud that’s been slung,

                  But there’s just no good choice,

No reason to rejoice,

                                It’s akin to two piles of dung.

From the long list we had to choose from

You’d have thought we’d come up with a plum,

But there’s no understanding

Our choice for commanding,

It’s either ‘the bitch’ or ‘the scum’.


We can vote for the one who can’t email,

Who probably should now be in jail,

Who thanks the paparazzi

For going light on Benghazi,

         And for hiding the things that might ail.

And Trump’s just a rambling buffoon;

A self-centered, babbling tycoon

Whose manner is crude

And often times rude

And promises the wall in by June.

So where are the Reagans or Trumans,

Or anyone else that’s half human?

Instead we are stuck

With a couple of shmucks;

Hell, I’d settle for Alfred E. Newman.

No one’s voting because they are proud.

No one’s saying their choices out loud.

“We can’t have her win!”

“We can’t let him in!”

Is the only thing voters avow.

I’m embarrassed that American voices

Have come up with these two dreadful choices.

When all the ballots are in

And the new term begins

There’ll be no one who really rejoices.

As a nation we’re on our last nerve,

Electing a new leader to serve.

It won’t matter who’s hired

Or who ends up fired,

We’re getting just what we deserve.



“Every nation gets the government it deserves”

                                                  Joseph de Maistre, French lawyer and philosopher (1753 – 1821)


Do we really deserve this?


The Election Process Explained . . . Sort Of

by Bob Sparrow

elephant & donkeyTo go from my sister’s emotion-filled description of her experience at the 9/11 Museum in New York to my discussion of today’s politics is like going from dining on filet minion to choking down some chipped beef on toast. But you can’t have steak every night and we can no longer ignore the elephant or the donkey, (or more aptly, asses) in the room. However, we do understand that the subject of politics can be polarizing, so I’m just going to try to ‘splain’ some things, because politics can also be confusing.

We’re now in the middle of presidential candidates vying for electoral votes via the state’s ‘primary’ or ‘caucus’ process. There are ‘open primaries’, as well as ‘closed primaries’; there are ‘semi-open primary’ and ‘semi-closed primary’. You would think that should just about cover it all; but it doesn’t, as there are also ‘blanket primaries’ and of course the ever-popular ‘nonpartisan blanket primaries’. If you’re already confused, that’s exactly where the politicians want you.

Some states don’t use the ‘primary’ process for delegate voting, but rather they have a ‘caucus’, where a select group of community leaders gather together in high school gymnasiums, church basements or community centers to cast their votes. The results of the caucus voting, however, do not directly determine which candidate will win the support of that state’s voters for the presidential nomination, so sometimes the caucus is just a place where locals stand around and try to figure out what a caucus is.

gummy bears


Whether the delegates vote in a primary or in a caucus, it is a very confusing process that varies state-by-state; for example, all the delegates in Louisiana can change their mind and thus their allegiance after the first vote in the state. In order to understand how delegate votes are gathered, you would need to know the importance of  the terms winnowing, calendar and front-loading.  Just know that it is possible for a candidate to ‘win’ the state in the primary, but actually end up with fewer delegates. And let’s not forget about the ‘super delegates’, a position that the Democrats created in 1968 after they felt that the regular delegates were doing a poor job of selecting presidential candidates. If you’re thinking that ‘super delegates’ would give us ‘super candidates’, think again. Regardless if it’s a ‘primary’ or a ‘caucus’, the object is to get the required number of delegate votes to win the nomination at the convention. But what happens, you ask, if no candidate gets the required number of votes?

Ahh, then we have a ‘brokered convention’, which is another contentious process whose rules read in part as follows . . .

On the first ballot at a brokered convention, delegates from all states and territories except Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and a few from Louisiana must vote for the candidate who won their support on the day of their state’s primary or caucus.

On the second ballot, “55 percent of a state’s delegates will be free to vote for whomever they want.”

I’m not making this shit up!

The confusion and convolutedness of this process is only overshadowed by the puerility and pretentious nature of this year’s line-up of self-absorbed candidates. We started with over 20 hopefuls, who thought they could solve our country’s problems that they mostly helped create; we are now down to the following five:




Trump – A snake oil salesman who has come at a time when our country is apparently in need of snake oil.




Hilary – who, if she can perfect her phony genuine smile, could win.







Sanders – If he wins, will be the only president required to sign a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ document prior to his inaugural speech.


poor black



Cruz – has realized that being the son of Cuban immigrants isn’t enough; so listen for him to vow that he was born a poor black child.




Kasich – Listening to him is like watching an episode of Ozzie & Harriet where Ozzie is trying to tell Thorny why he’s running for city counsel


Once each party selects its nominee, and after months of the requisite mud-slinging, we then go to the general election where a candidate can win the popular vote, but lose the election via that arcane institution called the ‘Electoral College’, whose mascot is the Cheetah. You don’t really know how this process works either and you don’t want to know!

electoral college 2

Go Cheetahs!

On Election Day, we in California are particularly frustrated, as by the time many of us actually get to cast a vote, the networks have already predicted a winner. We vote anyway as we like to show off the little sticker we put on our shirt that says, “I voted”. Emotionally, we feel like we were part of the process of selecting the leader of the free world, but intellectually we know that our ballot went the way of the hanging chad.

Sometimes I wonder why we all just don’t put our heads down on our desks, close our eyes and raise our hands when we hear a name we like. Hey, it worked in elementary school and after listening to this year’s debates, that’s probably fitting. It couldn’t possibly produce worse results.