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Gen. John Batiste (Ret.)
Military/Corporate leader

Gen. John Batiste (Ret.)

A retired U.S. Army Major General, John Batiste is president of Klein Steel Services, Inc, based in Rochester, New York.

Handling the ugly truth

When in charge, leaders are expected to take charge. This is all about selfless service and doing what is right at the local, state, and federal level. I believe that most Americans can and will handle the ugly truth. The real question, I believe, is whether or not our elected officials have the backbone to lead. Those who do not get it need to be voted out of office at the first opportunity.

The long-term solution needs to include legislation to address campaign finance reform and term limits. Elected representatives must be accountable to the people, not lobbyists or corporations. I also believe that our forefathers intended elected representatives to serve one or two terms at a reasonable wage and then return to private life. The ethos of service no longer means what it used to mean.

By Gen. John Batiste (Ret.)

 |  February 1, 2010; 3:44 PM ET
Category:  Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Getting money out of politics, especially in this country, is never going to happen. It's been that way from the beginning. George Washington was the wealthiest man in the British colonies. If it had been otherwise, we would have cheerfully saluted the King and Queen, and dutifully paid our taxes- like our Canadian neighbors to the north did until the 20th century when they became fully independent from the UK.

I'm a moderately liberal Democrat, and I've come to the conclusion that the only way to deal with the money is to have it coming from fewer individuals, by reverting back to the system we had 40 years ago of unlimited campaign contributions. It's no coincidence that our Federal government has been paralyzed on domestic policy matters ever since campaign finance reform 35 years ago. With thousands of contributors in the system, no Congressman can do anything without offending some block of contributors. They can never step back and look at the big picture. They can't even do something relatively simple, like adopt the metric system or change the denominations of our coins and paper currency to reflect inflation. So, there is policy gridlock and nothing gets done- year after year, decade after decade.
Far from being a villian, Samuel Alito may have saved what's left of our republic at the Federal level. Because that's what it's supposed to be- a republic. It's not supposed to be a democracy. You can have a democracy at the level of a town or a county, or maybe in Sweden or Canada, but we're too big of a country for that. Someone has to be willing to make decisions in which some will win and some will lose. That's not going to happen under the current system of campaign financing, unless all limits on contributions are repealed. Because we're not Swedes or Canadians, and we never will be, unfortunately. They might be a good role model, but that's about as far as it will ever go.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | February 2, 2010 12:11 AM
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There are literally thouands of clear, common sense thinkers with integrity, like Gen. Batiste, who we need to run for political office. Sadly, our system seems totally infected with the politics of money and hunger for power benfitting special interest entitlement-not for the good of the people.

Posted by: BBear1 | February 1, 2010 6:16 PM
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