Here are some reasons that this is a bad proposal.
First off, the Founding Fathers discussed and debated Term Limits when they were drafting the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist, No. 72, “Nothing appears more plausible at first sight, nor more ill-founded upon close inspection.”
Next, is the issue of a lame-duck congressman, what incentive would they have to follow the Constitution? Would they be easier prey for lobbyists? Do you remember the lame-duck special session of Congress back in 1994, when a lot of congressmen lost their seats, but they came back in November after the election and voted and passed GATT? Most Americans were against this treaty, and the elections had been held already, and the congressmen who were voted out did not have to worry about facing re-election.
Some say it is too hard to vote out ‘bad’ congressmen. Well remember House Speaker Tom Foley? Yep, voted OUT, beat by a political Novice. House Ways and Means committee chairman, Dan Rostenkowski, voted Out. The voters Term-Limited them!
Oh and remember the election of 1992, we got 124 NEW freshmen members of Congress… remember the 1994 election, 87 new Representatives and 11 New senators. And the voters did this without term-limits.
I would even say that term-limits would make some of us lazy. Right now we have a congressman’s voting record to view to see if we want to re-elect them or not. But if there were term-limits, then some might say, well it doesn’t really matter if my congressman is doing bad, he will be term-limited next time anyway. People want a quick fix.
Another point with term-limits, congressmen will be ‘new’ at the game and will have to rely on their staff more and more. These congressmen’s staff will be in high demand and then staff personel will start to wield their power, because the congressmen will need them to ‘get things done’. And these office staff are not voted into office by the voters, so we will have no voice in this.
And if you think there will not be career politicians, you might want to think again. After the politicians make their rounds from the house and perhaps the senate, where will they go? They will look to the executive branch, as there are plenty of federal jobs in the various executive departments. So once the congressman is term limited, he may want to help the current president with a bill or two so that the congressman can get that cushy job.
And speaking of Term-Limits and the President…. How is that working out for you? We have Term-Limits for Presidents, but has that helped us have better Presidents?
I think the internet will help us become better voters because we will have the advantage of doing our own research, analysis, and comparison. We will have more dialog with our elected officials and with each other. We can have our own virtual town-hall meetings, our own soap-box and we can help each other stay informed on our current congressman and together hold his feet to the fire.
But in the long run, I don’t think the issue is Term-Limits, it is a Constitutional Convention. Term-Limits is just a sound-byte that the establishment is trying to hook unthinking voters into wanting to change the Constitution. They have been trying for years to force the states to call a Constitutional Convention. Once is was for Equal Rights, then it was for a Balance Budget, next even a Line-Item veto, now, it is the Term-Limit issue. The laymen here in the trenches are unhappy with the government and term-limits seem to be a ‘easy’ way to fix the problem. Make no mistake about it, they want to rewrite our constitution, and make you think we need just a little change here or there. And remember, those that voted for the current elected officials would vote you a new constitution. Will they vote a better one in than the one we have now? I don’t think so. Don’t Do IT!