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Term Limits
#1
I'm not that much of a political junkie, but I notice a lot of you seem to enjoy discussing politics.  So since I'm in an attention whoring mood, I will play along and offer up an opinion on a reasonably benign political issue.  We need term limits.

Why is it, on a national level anyway, the presidency is the only office with term limits?  I know the presidential limits were enacted after FDR's almost 4 complete terms.  It must have seemed like that guy was going to run the country forever.  Granted, he was a stabilizing force during both economically troubling times and wartime, but even so, he was so entrenched in the seat of power I suspect he could have won even more elections had physical frailties not been his downfall.  That is too long for one individual to reign as leader of the free world.

Some of you will say, "We already have term limits.  They are called elections.  If we don't like their performance,we can vote them out."  Well, maybe yes and maybe no.  A senator or congressperson, since they are not subjected to term limits, can easily decide their main priority is reelection instead of elected representation.  Therefore, their most diligent efforts will focus on getting returned to office instead of representing their constituents' interests. They become Washington insiders working the system to ensure their continued memberships in the world's most exclusive and self-serving clubs.

'Hold up," you say.  "It takes experience and longevity to become effective and influential in congress.  That is how reps and senators garner chairmanships and key leadership positions."  Well, that's only because there are no term limits.  If every politician was subjected to those, we would not have years of finagling and influence peddling to rise to positions of chairmanships and such.  If people are not smart enough to chair a committee or be a house speaker or senate majority leader without spending term after elected term to get those positions, then I don't want them in congress in the first place.

There is no shortage of intelligent and qualified citizens capable of serving in congress.  Career politicians need to become an historical footnote.  Political service to our country should not be a self-serving career move.




 

 

 

 
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#2
This is a tough one for me J.  We really don't have much in the way of research to study in order to get an idea of the impact congressional term limits might have.  Costa Rica has had limits in place the longest.  On one hand, I would like to see a few folks who have worn out their welcomes move along.  But that isn't quite fair, is it?  On the other hand, the Cantor upset is a perfect example of "term limits" in the voting booth. 

 
Civil disobedience is patriotic 
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#3
It's not really tough Jess.  Artificial term limits at the federal level are unconstitutional and cannot exist without amending the constitution.  The president is kicked out by an amendment after 8 years, and we have to honor that, but the government has zero business defining eligibility for federal office other than by applying the tests in the constitution.

We have term limits every two, four and six years.  That's as much as we need.
 
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#4
I would consider an amendment that allows for term limits.  Career politicians are too entrenched in positions of power.  Sure we can vote them out, but while they're there too many of 'em spend the majority of their time seeking to stay there instead of tending to the people's business.
Load me into a cannon & shoot me into the sun! - Dow Joans
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#5
What limits would you like to see on the house and senate?  2 terms?  10?

If you fill up the house with people that have only been there 4 years, none of them will know what to do.  At two terms, the senate will have time to take control of the legislative branch because the house will be in constant disarray.  This isn't necessarily bad as it will stop them from passing more and more laws.  Then the president will just rule more by executive order and we will end up with a series of eight-year dictatorships, lorded over by one oppressor or the other.

I have yet to see a well-articulated argument for limiting the choices of American voters.  Crooks for 4 years are the same as crooks for 40.  The house will always be one step above the riff raff in their districts.  Most don't care much for the constitution now.  If they know they will be fired in 4 years, they will care less and just abuse their power.  Presidents already do that as lame ducks.  We don't need to have half of another branch doing the same thing.
 
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#6
The point is that being a legislator at any and all levels isn't necessarily a good thing.  Citizen legislators used to work at their chosen profession, then go to work for the people for a period of time, then go back to their profession.  When legislators roam the halls of the statehouse for a couple of decades, then roam around Washington for a couple of decades, then their profession is legislator.  Career politicians have lost touch with the common person.  

Perhaps it's true, that term limits will impede the well functioning of the halls of Congress.  I think it's equally plausible that Congress will amend it's way of doing business to accommodate legislators who will have shorter tenure.  

Liberty, you bring up a very valid point when you say that the executive may rule with gretaer power, using executive orders to essentially run roughshod over a weakened legislative branch.  But let me point out something, something that has bothered me for some time.  Look at the War Powers Act, where Congress has essentially ceded it's Constitutionally stated power to declare war over to the executive.  In my opinion, that's not just one of the worst decisions ever made, I'm not even sure it's Constitutional.  But that was done and continues to be done by Congresses not burdened by term limits.  The power you are afraid will go to the executive should we have term limits has already gone to the executive without term limits.  

The problem is we have a problem and no one really knows how to fix it.  In the absence of knowing, sometimes you just have to take a chance.  I'd be OK with term limits.  In fact, I'd be OK with term limits that don't allow for an accumulation of years in the state House, then state Senate, then federal House, then federal Senate.  Limit the total years, then make them get real jobs.  And make it such that the job they then go to isn't that of being a lobbyist.  
 
Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.  
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#7
Liberty wrote "If you fill up the house with people that have only been there 4 years, none of them will know what to do."  I disagree.  It doesn't take years to figure out the procedures of governing.  It takes years to spend all your time building special interest connections to keep returning to your seat of selective influence.

Liberty also wrote "Crooks for 4 years are the same as crooks for 40....  If they know they will be fired in 4 years, they will care less and just abuse their power."  I disagree.  People who run for elective office knowing full well their time in congress is limited to a predetermined maximum are the type of people who'd more likely do it to serve their constituents & their country rather than do it to solidify their control of power.
 
Load me into a cannon & shoot me into the sun! - Dow Joans
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#8
Dammit RC.  I forgot, I made you an admin so I can't ban you for disagreeing with me.  LOL.  


 
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#9
Only a few politicians know what they're doing and have the capacity to understand how it all works and is integrated. Most of our politicians are shells, they rely upon their staffs to make the decisions for them. Who is working on congressional staffs? Lobbyists, professional staffers, and ideologues who recycle from one job to the next plying their agenda. Look at the staff's of an elected official and limit their input/access then we might see some positive governance. People like (D) Hank Johnson (is Guam tipping over) and (R ) Todd Akin (legitimate rape) are stupid people who are told what to do or are maneuvered to do what the apparatchik thinks is best. Dismantle the apparatchik with term limits.

 
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#10
That's good advice, Number Two.
 
Load me into a cannon & shoot me into the sun! - Dow Joans
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