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Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2010, at 9:18 AM

One of my favorite cartoon characters is Bugs Bunny. That "What's up Doc?" and carrot appetite of his cracks me up every time. Bugs used one phrase numerous times to describe how he got to a wrong destination... "I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque". Well, today's blog isn't about Albuquerque, but not getting to the proper destination is...

Whether you are left, right, centered, or some other place out there politically, you have to admit most people are unhappy with the government the majority of voters elected in one way or another. Who did what to who, who didn't, who is to blame, and why it isn't my fault are just some of the political dialog we endure on a daily basis. Ethics charges and counter charges bombard the air waves, newspapers, magazines, and especially the Internet. Influence peddling charges, special "gifts" and considerations... the list goes on and on, and we the people continue to let the political class run amok with the purse strings of our country, and our national security left hanging on what at times seems like a thread.

It wasn't so many years ago that term limits were being passed by the states in an effort to get control of the federal government. Things seemed to be going along pretty well with 23 states passing congressional term limit legislation, Nebraska being one of them by 1995. The Supreme Court steps in and ruled it was up to Congress to set elected representative limits, or through a congressional amendment... end of story?

We see the results. Over half of us think the country is headed in the wrong direction. We hear the same stories of political corruption we heard 30 years ago. There are grassroots movements today trying to get us to vote out all congressional incumbents so perhaps congress will start to represent the people again. The TEA Party is doing its thing, the rhetoric is starting to be ramped up by the candidates, and only November will silence the election BS floating around the airwaves and Internet.

Term limits should be considered again for the US Senate and Congress. Here are some pros and cons for you to consider from http://tenurecorrupts.com/arguments.html... please feel free to add your thoughts!

Pros -

1. Overwhelmingly, voters prefer term limits.

2. Term limits downgrades seniority, favors meritocracy.

3. Increases competition, encourages new challengers.

4. Builds a 'citizen' Congress, drives out career politicians.

5. Breaks ties to special interests.

6. Improves tendency to vote on principle.

7. Introduces fresh thinking, new ideas, eliminates 'old bulls'.

8. Reduces power of staff, bureaucracy, lobbies.

9. It will create a natural reduction in wasteful federal spending.

10. Encourages lower taxes, smaller government, greater voter participation in elections.

11. There are more reasons in favor of term limits than reasons against.

12. Gets reelection rates back to near 50%, versus the current 99%.

Cons -

1. Terminates the good politicians along with the bad.

2. Instead of term limits, a reform of Congress' procedures would be easier.

3. Reduces range of voter choice.

4. Loss of knowledge and experience.

5. Increases the power of staff, lobbies, and bureaucracy.

I believe our country needs a term limit amendment to the Constitution. I think congressional term limits can help us more than the TEA Party, the Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Progressives, and any other political faction. Get people to represent the people from the people instead of the political class we've allowed to develop. It's never too late to take that left turn at Albuquerque.

More on term limits... http://www.congress.org/news/2010/09/20/...

Oh yes, and for the other Bugs Bunny fans out there...

Showing most recent comments first
[Show in chronological order instead]

My statement about not a single person in Washington supporting term limits should not be confused with me calling into question the ethics of a person. A good majority of the people in Washington have great ethics but once they get there the need to stay is pretty great.

No, I would not support a constitutional amendment for term limits. Though I was too young to vote at the time I was strongly against the movement in Arkansas.

Until voting levels cross the 75% percent line across the US and stay above that level I won't buy into the "Americans are waking up" line. The same things happens from time to time. Groups pop up and are typically quickly absorbed into one of the major parties.

I have maintained for a long time that if you want to see interest and participation go up in the United States we need to dissolve the two national parties. Alas, that is a pipe dream as both parties are much too powerful as it stands. I predict that by either 2012 or 2014 TEA Party will be nothing more than a footnote in the history books. Nothing against the organization, but history shows that these groups typically get swallowed up by one of the large parties.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Fri, Oct 1, 2010, at 4:57 PM


I disagree, however not respectively as there is only one of me to voice an opinion, with your contention that term limits are needed. States with term limits are generally only now seeing the problems with those systems. Although there are problems with career politicians, with term limits there will only be other, unforeseen problems, better the devil you know and whatnot. Rather than imposing limits, I would rather see an effort to end the gerrymandering that goes on today. Even more than that, I would like to see people involved with politics and making informed decisions.

-- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, Oct 1, 2010, at 11:43 AM

I wonder Mike, if a constitutional amendment about term limits were up for consideration, do you think you would support it?

I think Arley hit the nail on the head when he says "People are waking up, and are not happy." Length of limited terms would be a big debate if something ever started to move forward.

Mike said... "There isn't a single person in Washington that would vote themselves term limits."

I don't know about everybody in DC as I'd hope there are at least a few ethical folks that would vote the way their constituants desire. If the poll numbers I've seen are even close (at least 75% favor term limits), to me the country should be exploring term limit options a lot closer.

Though never tried, the constitution can be amended by the states... http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/usconstitu...

It would take a complete grassroots movement to accomplish a state initiated congressional amendment, but if we the people think that's best for our government, then lets make it so!

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Sep 30, 2010, at 8:29 AM

They are all (designed) equal parts of the federal government. Though Congressmen are elected by individual states or individual districts they represent all Americans when they are Congress. This is where you are correct Brian that the law could stand as Constitutional.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Thu, Sep 30, 2010, at 6:31 AM

I think the amendment would stand a very slim chance of being confirmed by the states but it would never make it out of Congress. There isn't a single person in Washington that would vote themselves term limits.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, Sep 29, 2010, at 9:35 PM

More than likely, perhaps, I have the wrong opinion about what/who constitutes the Federal Government. I will spout it off, and someone in better understanding can correct me. In my opinion/understanding:

There are actually only two people constituting the 'Federal, Individual person, Government,' in that they are the only people elected by the entire Nation Electorate, the people, and that would be the President and Vice President. All other portions (for lack of a better word) of Government are filled by Representatives of each individual State and Territory of the Country, to Represent the desires, and dictates of the Citizens of the Representative, as relates to the overall function of the United States, as a Group of One. Congress is supposed to work for the people of their individual State, to provide cohesion and fund the needs of the Government, as allowed by the States of the Nation.

The Third Branch (??), is placed, to provide Judicial opinion of the Constitutionality of the Laws passed by Congress, and agreed to, through Presidential signature, and serve at the allowance of the Congress, and President. Should the 'Opinion' of the Court be that something is 'Unconstitutional' (using the Constitution as the point of Reference), the Court Opinion is repaired, replaced, or no action taken, only by the Congress of the United States, with the Agreeing Signature of the President, to affirm that All is Well, with that law. (or something like that)

I would have to type for many hours to say all I would like to say, if I were able to say it all, but, hopefully I have said enough that you know some of how I believe this country was founded, but no longer functions.

The 'Tail' (Government), somehow, seems to now be 'Wagging the DOG' (the Citizens).

That thing everyone seems to be calling 'Term Limits,' only uses elected terms to diagram the fact that no one should serve more than "Six Years, in Service to Country's Governing Power Structure."

I'm done. Something need be fixed, so Something doesn't Hit a proverbial Fan. The People are waking up, and are not happy.

Corrections, anyone? Possible Agreement??

-- Posted by Navyblue on Wed, Sep 29, 2010, at 8:39 PM

I agree term limits would limit the peoples choices, but permission by the people would be granted if a term limit admendment were passed.

On one hand I agree with your argument about encroaching on states rights, but I think it could be argued that no term limit encroaches on states rights as well.

It makes for an interesting debate that this nation should have in my opinion.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Wed, Sep 29, 2010, at 12:25 PM

In the end though, Brian, those most senior members of Congress are not our representatives, they are their states representatives. Going by that logic and if I am wrong then please correct me limiting the terms of Congressmen not from our state or district is actually limiting the people's choices in that state or district without their permission.

I think that is the main reason we haven't nor will we see a constitutional amendment for congressional term limits. It's encroaching on states rights. I don't see an amendment like that holding up under Constitutional Review.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, Sep 29, 2010, at 12:11 PM

I should have mentioned number 11 as a really valid reason don't you think Mike.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Wed, Sep 29, 2010, at 11:07 AM

Mike said... "Every time we go to the polls we can limit the terms of our elected people."

Not true by perspective. I don't get to vote on the most senior members of Congress. Unfortunately, those are the folks with the most political power to influence decisions effecting me and my state.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Wed, Sep 29, 2010, at 10:57 AM

I respectively disagree Brian. I do not agree that term limits is an answer because we already have term limits. Every time we go to the polls we can limit the terms of our elected people. It has happened several times already in primaries around the nation this year alone.

A lot of the pros seem to be more of opinionated reasons than factual ones and are then not provable.

I agree that there are serious issues with Congress but career politicians can and will find ways around term limits.

Love the Bugs Bunny reference though.

-- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, Sep 29, 2010, at 9:59 AM

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