Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pros and Cons of Term Limits

By Douglas V. Gibbs

A popular cry by conservatives is for term limits.  We have a term limit set against the President, as per the 22nd Amendment, so why not for the rest of the cockroaches in Washington scurrying around in the halls of Congress?

I believe we already have the recipe for term limits through the voters.  When a politician has overstayed his or her welcome in office, or have become just another mindless automaton that embraces the establishment and rejects the concerns of the electorate, the voters should be informed enough to recognize the cancer, and remove the Congress Critter through the voting booth.  But, the voters have not been living up to their duty.  While the approval rating of Congress is consistently below 20%, over 60% of voters like their own representative.  It is always "the other guy's fault."  Since the electorate has failed to uphold their end of the bargain in our republic, their part in the concept of limiting the powers of the political class cannot be trusted, and it may be necessary to place term limits on politicians in the absence of an informed electorate capable of acting upon its duties.

The Founding Fathers believed term limits were not necessary because politicians were expected to maintain some semblance of sacred honor.  The electorate was also supposed to remain an informed one, willing to eliminate politicians who showed a lack of the sacred honor necessary to represent the people.  In today's political dynamic, neither necessary ingredient are any longer present. In 2010, when I ran for city council of Murrieta, one of the issues I ran on was a measure on the ballot for term limits against city council members, which called for no more than two consecutive terms. I liked the measure because it allowed for the cream of the crop, after a one term break, to run again. . . they just couldn't as an incumbent, while still forcing those that may desire to simply be local professional politicians to step down and relinquish their iron grip on local politics.

That all said, there are also dangers that go along with term limits. In California, term limits have been a disaster.  It has become a tool used by Democrats to keep themselves in power through an intricate web of political lineage, while rejecting any challengers that may try to upset the culture, or remain in office long enough to break the chain of liberal left dominance.

In the world of business, a concept such as "term limits" would be an unmitigated disaster.  As one friend of mine once asked me, "should a successful CEO, or group of board members of a very successful corporation, be replaced by a bunch of rookies by force, on occasion? Would that be best for business."

As you can see, there are a myriad of pros and the cons regarding term limits.  In the absence of an informed electorate, and a political community steeped in sacred honor, however, we may have no other choice than to pursue term limits.  Term limits may be necessary to force the "good ol' boys" out of office, so that they can be replaced with fresh blood, and fresh ideas, and perhaps break the chain of establishment politics. Unfortunately, the bureaucrats, staffers and consultants, will never be subject of term limits, or the vote of the people, and the real problems may very well lie in that class of political elitists.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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