Perquisites of Office

Reader Elmer sends a story from the Corning Leader [pdf] about Randy Kuhl's appearance at the dedication of the community center in Addison.  This example of retail politics is one of the many examples of the natural advantages of incumbency. 

Another is the high-quality four-color foldout [pdf] I received earlier this week from Rep. Kuhl's office.  This mailer, produced and mailed at taxpayer's expense, is an example of the power of the franking privilege.  Each representative uses their franking budgets in different ways.  Before I was gerrymandered out of Louise Slaughter's district (NY-28), I used to receive her mailings, which were more like a cheap newsletter than Kuhl's polished document.  As of 1997, each Member of Congress' franking budget was $112,000, a number which has probably been adjusted for inflation in the last decade.


Good looking brochure! Very sharp.

Incumbency is powerful, but not 100% bullet-proof. I have thought for years that we should have term limits to get around incumbency.

In a perfect world, with well educated voters, I would oppose term limits. Alas, this certainly isn't a perfect world.

I'm not a big term limits supporter, but I do support districting by non-partisan panels (e.g., judiciary). That would lead to a few more competitive districts, which might cut down on the number of incumbents.