Monday, December 18, 2006

Minimum Age for Candidates?

Seen on Dean Pagani's blog, Media Attache:
The Mayor of Torrington is twenty-three. The congressman-elect from the fifth district is thirty-three. Barack Obama is forty-five.

Without speaking to the qualifications of any specific political leader, it is time to consider increasing the minimum age for those we elect to serve in public office. It’s time for all of us, as employers, to demand some experience before we elect to give the most important jobs in our state and in this country to young men and women with limited life experience.

Huh. And yet, by all accounts, Ryan Bingham is doing very well in Torrington. We don't know whether Obama will be a good president, but one of the things I like about him is his age. He doesn't see the world through the warping lens of the 1960s, like our last two presidents and a majority of the members of Congress.

Frankly, I'd rather voters make the call about whether a candidate is experienced enough. But then again, what do I know? Apparently, I haven't had enough experience yet to make a call either way. Curse my damned youth!

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

If representatives are supposed to represent the views of the people who elect them, rather than their own, what difference does their age make?

Anonymous said...

Looks to me like Dean was short on good ideas for his blog this week. Maybe it was the holiday.

Anonymous said...

There are some minimums already. And I like the line from my youth. "I'm old enough to go to War and kill people, but I'm not old enough to buy a drink."'

mod.dem.like.jfk said...

Pagani should think about his old boss before he writes. I think Rowland was 23 when he won.

mod.dem.like.jfk said...

Pagani should think about his old boss. Rowland was 23 when he first ran I think.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lives in the Torrington area, I can say that Mayor Bingham has done a great job as Mayor.

Youth is only a problem if you let it be a problem.

Anonymous said...

I am more concerned about some of the entrenched office holders than the political novices.

way2moderate said...

John Rowland was elected to congress at the age of 27, and received the republican party's nomination for governor at age 32.

The rest is history of course, but by all accounts he did a fine job in congress and was elected to the governorship not once but three times.

Funny thing here, one might argue that Rowland's judgment began to suffer once he was on the back side of 40 and he gained the lenghty resume of service that Pagani is calling for.

Anonymous said...

I don't post often, but I felt I had to chime in on this one. We have very strict age limits---it is called not voting for the person who you feel is too young. If both are too young, then run yourself or find someone old enough to run and endorse them.
Give me a break. The age limits that are in place now are fine. People bring different perspectives to public office and I happen to think we need more people from different backgrounds (age, race, gender). I like seeing yong fresh faces emerge. If they are truly too young and inexperienced then the elecorate isn't stupid and the person won't be voted in.
Pagani misses the boat on this one!

Anonymous said...

I think Dean should go back to running campaigns for Judge of Probate as he did this fall. He's finally just the right age to tackle such weighty stuff.

Grumpy said...

Why does anyone pay attention to what Dean Pagani has to say?

ken krayeske said...

Currently, the U.S. Constitution has two age limits - you must have attainted 35 years old to be considered for the U.S. president (article II, section 4), and the voting age is 18 (Amendment 26).

I'm okay with the president being 35, but I think the voting age should be lowered to 16.

The arguments are myriad for and against, but the strongest is that the circle of persons to whom we extend civil rights to should be ever expanding, and currently, 16 year olds are treated as adults when they work (pay taxes), when they drive or commit crimes (subjected to adult laws), and when they have children of their own. It is time we vest them fully as members of society.

Heck, to be a devil's advocate, the Catholic Church considers adulthood - when you know right from wrong - at age 13 - that's what confirmation is, if I am not mistaken.

Max Sklar said...

The Consitution requires age limits of 35 for president, 30 for senate, ad 25 for congress.

I've read that the reason this was put into the consitution was so that sons of powerful political families cannot be elected without first having some experience on their own. So, they're fear wasn't that some hot-shot kid would come out of the blue and shake up the establishment, it was that we'd lapse into monarchy without these restrictions.

That being said, I agree that the voters can set these limits, especially on the state level. I can't justify any changes, because it doesn't seem like this is causing any problems.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that Bill Clinton was Obama's age when he started campainging for president in 1990, only to be elected in 92. And, in light of recent events and by comparision, Clinton was clearly one of the most able politicians and presidents of the 20th century. Unless, of course, you focus on his own little mid life crisis in the oval office episode. But, Im guessing in retrospect most people would jump at the opportunity to have a young, smart, savvy, horny president with a vision, plan and leadership abilities again. Im not sure how horny Obama is, but Im willing to take a shot at having him lead us out of this Bushist Nightmare......

Gabe said...

It should be noted that, while Dean Pagini doesn't mention where this change should come from, it would be unconstitutional for the State of Connecticut to change the age qualification for two of the three offices that he uses as an example. As US Term Limits v. Thornton (514 U.S. 779) makes painfully clear to the state of Arkansas, states cannot onstitutionally add to the qualifications listed in the qualifications clause for federal offices. That would take an amendment to the US Constitution.

The state is free to change the qualifications for state or local offices.

Also, the case of Obama is not a great example, as he had an accomplished, if brief, career as a Constitutional Law professor at the University of Chicago before entering politics.

Max said...

We have theses safeguards already, they're called elections.

ken krayeske said...

Max

What are the article and Sections for Senate and Congress? I remembered reading them, but last night I couldn't find them. It was late, I was tired.

Also, John F. Kennedy, being born on May 29, 1917, would have been 43 when he began campaigning for president in 1960. From what I know, I could be wrong, but they didn't start running after mid-terms back then.

For the record, RFK was born 11/20/25, and was all of 42 when he was assassinated while on the campaign trail.

Gabe said...

House - Article I, Section 2, Clause 2

Senate - Article I, Section 3, Clause 3

Anonymous said...

Age limits? A solution in search of a problem.

Bobby McGee said...

Here's a way to prevent inexperienced candidates from being elected: don't vote for them.

demchick said...

Bingham has only done a "good job" finishing the work started by former mayors. He hasn't accomplished anything himself, or come up with an original idea.

He did do a great job botching up the town hall referendum though.

Eddie said...

When I saw this thread and read Mr. Pagani's blog comment, I was reminded of the tiny little tempest a couple of weeks ago about how Rob Simmons would have been re-elected had it not been for all those "alien outsiders" in Storrs and Willimantic. Mr. Pagani is attempting to suppress the young people's vote by putting the weight of the law behind the message that the political process is not for them.

Anonymous said...

Pagani is an irrelevant bore but apparently he's making some money by being that way.

Mirror said...

The older I get the more I am seeing destructive patterns repeating in human behavior that belie the egotistical belief that youth has some special relationship with truth. As an Army training officer I learned that few young people have the vaguest idea of how people relate and the consequences of their actions. Judgement is a learning process and takes time to develop. Yes, young people fight wars but they enthusiastically support them in an attempt to get approval. Battle hardened and surviving old farts know differently differently.

Anonymous said...

Geez, I'd rather have Bingham than some old fart. There should be an age limit, but on the other end. Doc Gunther was useless for the last few years, Peter Villano shouldn't be allowed to drive, let alone vote on the House Floor, and Edith Prague should be frozen. Since only the good die young, old Edith probably has six or seven terms left in her, though....

Paul Vance said...

Age requirements? How about we just let the electorate decide who is capable and who is not capable based on qualifications?

I had someone recently tell me (and meant it as a compliment) that I will be a great mayor (in Waterbury) when I get a little older. What is most ironic is that this individual that paid me the compliment is a longtime supporter of former Mayor Mike Bergin, who was 31 when first elected. (Two years younger than I am now.)

Should I not run for Mayor because we have had two 'young' Mayors go to jail? I don't think they went to jail because of their age, probably more because they disregarded the law!!
We have elected people that have been dishonest, self-serving and corrupt at all age levels.

What is next? Perhaps we submit to an IQ test before nominated to run for office? Or will transcripts be enough? Geez, I got involved young, went to law school and got a masters in public policy (economics)-- I guess I should wait to meet some age requirement? Voters are not stupid and pushing for 'requirements' is telling the voters that they cannot decide for themselves.

I think the solution is to encourage good people to run for office and elect them. And once we elect people, we need to keep their collective feet to the fire. (This blog tends to do that fairly well.)

By the way, Merry Christmas-- Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all!

Paul Vance

Paul Vance said...

In Pagani's world:

Feel free to go to Iraq and fight for our nation, just don't put your name on the ballot until you are all growed up!

bluecoat said...

It would be better if Rell would hire a competent commissioner team to run ConnDOT but in absence of that, this step ain't bad but the union objects for some strange reason: Union officials wary of firm hired to audit I-84 work
Luther Turmelle, North Bureau Chief
12/19/2006

Anonymous said...

demchick said, "Bingham has only done a "good job" finishing the work started by former mayors. He hasn't accomplished anything himself, or come up with an original idea.

He did do a great job botching up the town hall referendum though."

Absolutely wrong dem, Bingham has come into an office that left a lot of unfinished business, hence why the voters ousted a so called 'popular incumbent'. Bingham has done a great job in his first year in restoring a Mayor's office we should all expect.

As for the botched referendum, the only one who botched that was the city clerk's office who failed to put up the notice on time, so it was delayed one month. Of the past 2 mayors please tell me which one had given any thought to the deteriation of City Hall. How long have these fire code violations been around?

Finally we have someone who is willing to deal with issues in Torrington, and note the reason the Mayor asked for the extension on the referendum was improper notice which with the delay would allow for proper notice and more time for residents to make an informed decision. The whole point was to have as much of the public's input as possible, sounds like a good idea to me since residents do decide this spending.

Anonymous said...

Listen. Our Founding Fathers were by and large quite young. Thomas Jefferson was 32 when he wrote the
Declaration of Independence. 32, Can you imagine? He was brilliant.

Washington was about 41-42 in 1776. Hamilton late 20's early 30's.

Revolutions are for the young. Stratford will have a revival in a couple of years with a powerful
newcomer with much charisma indeed.


Mr. Pickwick

Anonymous said...

The ages currently set up to run for office seem just fine to me and that's nothwithstanding the fact that Bingham is not ebtriely an independent actor. However, bringing the age of the founding fathers of a fledgling nation of 13 colonies in to the debate seems a little bit irrelevant given that the US is a little bigger these days not to mention a world power of astronomical proportions.

Anonymous said...

2:29pm "A little bit irrelevant"
you say. Wow. That is quite a statement. Our founding fathers
were the greatest.

Mr. Pickwick

ken krayeske said...

And Thomas Green started the Hartford Courant when he was 29. His printer's devil was 12. Bastard son Alexander Hamilton was a mere lad of 11 or 13 when his mom died and he went to work on St. Croix with a shopkeeper. Hamilton wasn't 22 when he was elevated to Washington's chief of staff in 1777.

Up until the 20th century, we didn't have child labor laws, and in many parts of the world, they still don't.

In America, in 1776, times were different. They didn't offer an extended adolesence to 22 or older to children. When you were old enough, you were old enough.

Mirror said...

Re Ken's post : Ah, the good old days, when minorties knew their place, less than half knew how to read and most had never gone more than ten miles from where they were born, the average age of Death was 30-40 and a majority of the population was under thirty since the average age of debilty and death hovered around 40. Young people are very useful as they work hard and long for pats on the head from the old farts, who control what they do.

ken krayeske said...

I wasn't implying that those times were ideal, just noting historical comparisons and giving context as to what 35 meant to the Founding Fathers.

Nor could women vote, and the Constitution they wrote treats an African-American as 3/5ths of a person. Certainly not a time to idealize, yet simultaneously, the foundation for who we are today.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you mean that the Founding Fathers - becasue there were no founding Mothers - were not so wise as they thought they were and that we evolve.

Anonymous said...

so sorry to be negative here but it time to go dean..

your administration is gone and contact with the current adminstration isn't all that great --

dean's insight is based on the old boy network and this adminstration is based on what the right paln for the right reason at the right time.