Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A call for term limits

With the 2006 midterm election closing in, much attention has been given to the fate of the Republican congressional majority. With only about 2 months to go, many experts have predicted that the GOP will lose majorities in the House and maybe even the Senate. Congressional approval ratings are at record lows, and there is a strong anti-incumbency sentiment in the country.

And I completely understand all of it.

The 109th Congress has been a joke. Spending has continued to spiral out of control. On Social Security, illegal immigration, and (in large part) energy policy, they have punted. None of these moves reflect any sort of ideological fervour, but instead an attempt to cover their political butts. You and I may disagree on how to handle these issues, but we all should agree that postponing solutions displays a lack of real leadership.

Nevertheless, at least in my own district, I am probably going to stay the course. After all, there's a war going on out there and a don't see how I can trust the other guys to fight it. But don't think I'm too happy with the state of affairs.

12 years ago, the Contract with America laid the groundwork for a Republican majority. Among its numerous reforms, the Contract called for a "Citizen Legislature," a constitutional amendment imposing 12-year term limits on members of Congress. The idea was simple: career politicians tend to watch out for their careers, whereas citizen legislators will be more likely to stand on principle. The popularity of their idea waned as the Republican majority lingered.

It is interesting that, had their proposal been adopted, the very politicians who campaigned on this would now be leaving office. Also, I'd probably be happier. Rather than being forced to vote for entrenched politicians, I could be proudly supporting a fresh, new group like the one I remember from '94.


At 9/05/2006 06:36:00 PM, Blogger The Iconoclast said...

Gotta agree with you here. I think the biggest problem with all levels of government is stagnation. If you're sent to Congress (or hired by X agency) and you know that you'll only be there for X amount of time, you'll be a helluva lot more aggressive in pursuing your goals, which presumably is why you presumably were elected. If you're hampered by concerns over constant elections, you simply can't focus only on those issues.

I'm not making a value judgment on that last point. If the best way to push your agenda is to keep the majority (i.e. get yourself elected) then discretion can be the better part of valor. Personally, I'd like to wipe the problem away with term limits.

BTW, what do you want for limits? If I remember right, the old standard was 4 terms for reps and 2 for senators. Ideally, I'd see it cut to 3 for reps and 1 for senators. As Harry Carry would say, "your thoughts?!?!"

PS -- Welcome back.

At 9/05/2006 08:59:00 PM, Anonymous thehustle said...


At 9/07/2006 07:43:00 AM, Blogger Cannon said...

Personally, I like what was in the old Contract with America (which I linked to), which was 12 years for everyone (6 terms for Reps, 2 terms for senators). As I am essentially forced to vote for liberal Republicans this term, and it has been 12 years since they took the majority, I'd say they got this right

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