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I admire any citizen who actually bothers to take an interest in their government, and that includes people who run for office.  The vast majority do it for the right reasons, at least from their own perspective, and more people should do it.  I also wish more people would take time to know how the nuts and bolts process of government actually works, because if they did, they'd feel the same disgust any longtime observer would at this news.

If you didn't click, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has declared he wouldn't sign any legislation more than three pages long.  It's a great sound byte, but otherwise pretty silly.  Federal legislation like the annual budget, for instance, can span hundreds of pages.  Saying you won't sign anything longer than three pages sounds a lot like a toddler refusing to don any footwear with laces.

This isn't the only Republican who operated (or still operates) a pizza place making questionable claims about legislation.  U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, whose district includes parts of Decatur, campaigned here in part on a platform of not voting for any bill he couldn't read in its entirety.  This brought up the same concern.

During one of his visits, I asked Schilling if he really intended to reserve his vote on things like military spending or the National Park Service in the event he didn't have time to read through their mammoth appropriations bills.  His answer: His statement was more a means of provoking debate on the issue of how long legislation is.

Cain would most likely say the same thing, were he later elected.  I guess "I want to have an open debate about how lengthy and impenetrable legislation has become to the common person, even as we have the most tech-savvy populace in history" just doesn't have the same ring as a pedantic ultimatum.

Demagoguery will always be a problem in politics, and always has been, but talking points like this make candidates sound like they have scorn for the tough realities that face those in power, rather than a willingness to work within the legislative system to fix them.

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