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Implement term limits so that (any) new legislation has a chance.

I received a 'canned' email from Senator Blumenthal detailing his disappointment that recent Gun Control legislation did not pass. In his email Senator Blumenthal vowed "to push legislation to make our streets and schools safer". I wrote back: "It won't really matter how much you 'push for legislation'. How Congressmen/women get compensated affects which laws pass and which don't. Would you support term limits? 3 terms is too many (proposed by Senator David Vitter (R-LA). I don't want to see anyone in office for 3 terms. 2 years max, then get a REAL job like the rest of us. If you only had two years in Congress, you would submit and or pass legislation more honestly since the longevity of your career would not depend on it."

  • May 11 2013: I lived and worked in Mexico City for four years. They have term limits, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more corrupt government.
  • Apr 21 2013: Ok, fair enough. I'll try to explain... Let's say you are 'Senator EL' and your constituents are asking you to support XYZ Legislation. Meanwhile Big Company ABC says to you, "We will contribute significantly to your next campaign" if you DO NOT support XYZ Legislation. Maybe you personally see both sides, for and against, XYZ Legislation. If you wanted to run for office again, aligning yourself with the interests of Company ABC would really help your career. Therein lies the conflict. Campaign funding is like legalized bribery. Companies can 'buy' politicians through that legal channel. However, if you were only allowed to be in office for ONE term, i.e. there was no next campaign then you would not have the same incentive to support Company ABC. I realize that this does not completely stop a politician from being 'bought'. You could accept money even if there were no future campaign. That however would be pure (illegal) bribery. If there were Term Limits, the extent of unjust, self-serving political careers would be limited. It would be more like jury duty to some extent. Jurors have no incentive to be persuaded financial, so their view is not likely tainted. Of course there is a different 'qualification' process to assemble a jury vs. elected official. I'm just saying that limiting terms could help toward effecting legislation honestly. There is another potential upside to Term Limits and it has nothing to do with money or being bought: just the idea of getting re-elected persuades politicians to vote or act in a way that preserves job security. Think of all the money and benefits politicians award themselves...for as long as they can. Maybe I seem to hear about more politicians abusing the system than I hear of politicians who have done any terrific 'public service'.
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      Apr 22 2013: May I quote you?. . . "I realize that this does not completely stop a politician from being 'bought'. You could accept money even if there were no future campaign. That however would be pure (illegal) bribery." This is a fallacy. Selling political influence is wrong in and of itself. Which term a person is in make no difference in the fact that it is a great miscarriage of trust for an elected official to legislate in favor of ANYONE other than the citizens who elected them to office. All bribery is illegal. We do not strictly enforce existing laws against influence peddling. Imposing more new laws in the form of term limits will not reduce the incidents of graft and corruption in politics. Thank you for a vigorous, relevant debate! Where is our common ground?
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    Apr 20 2013: For Liberals and Conservatives alike the definition of a good politician is one who consistently supports the ideological agenda. Why would it be a good idea to disallow continued service for a good politician? I completely agree with the idea of culling bad politicians and I think we should use recalls and impeachment more frequently to do just that. But term limits have a built in down side and should NOT be implemented. I do agree no person is capable of serving as POTUS for more than 8 years because the job is ultra-stressful and takes its toll quickly.
    • Apr 20 2013: I suppose 'good' is relative and depends on whose opinion is at hand. I don't have much faith in politicians or that there are 'good politicians' in general. The 'lowest common denominator' therefore might be applying a rule where no one, perceived as either good or bad, gets to stay in office for too long. More importantly, the point of term limits would be to deter politicians from letting their personal campaign get in the way of any legislation for a greater good. The way the system is now, its more or less 'built in' that politicians can allow their personal campaign (job tenure) to be persuaded by powerful groups, such as the NRA, or large corporations, other interest groups with deep pockets, etc.
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        Apr 21 2013: Term limits would merely change the name of the beneficiary of the deep pocket money. Good politicians exist in both camps. They should be allowed to continue serving. Whether we should outlaw questionable funding of candidates is a different question. Term limits would solve nothing and would diminish the power and influence of committee chairmen who enjoy hard-earned seniority as a result of long, faithful service. It is not realistic to insist there are no good politicians. Indeed, if the sweeping generalization that all politicians are bad is true we would be in a lot more trouble than we are now, if you can imagine that! Some see the NRA as the cause of our troubles. Others see the less-well organized opponents of the second amendment as the culprit. That's politics. We are a polarized nation of 47% Liberals, 47% Conservatives, and 6% Independents. Each side believes the world would be better off if they were allowed to implement their plans without opposition, but that is not how a Representative Republic works. Opposition and checks and balances are essential to freedom. Term limits would have a deleterious effect on both opposition and checks and balances. The only indication that a politician has stayed in office too long is their inability to uphold their sworn duty to the American people who elected them. Recall and Impeachment YES! Term limits NO!
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        Apr 21 2013: RE: "Are you asking an honest question. . . ?" I am flattered that you think I am capable of understanding your assertion that term limits would solve the problem of buying and selling political influence. But I do not. I see no causal relationship between the two. Please explain your reasoning. By the way, I have no interest in "winning you over to my perspective."
  • Apr 20 2013: Maybe our people have more seniority. Boston was on all our minds - I'm glad the danger is over. Basically I think this degenerates to game theory and negtotiation. See Raffa.
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    Apr 19 2013: I agree 100% Jennifer. The way to get real results out of Congress is to end career politicians.
  • Apr 19 2013: Why not just oppose Citizens United? Also, legislation is viewed differently in various areas. For guns it's a rural vs. urban thing. With Prohibition it was different interest groups though the concept is similiar. Remember that most gun deaths are suicides. Drunk guys with guns. Pedistrian deaths by car seem to involve drunks. Suicides? Probably often. A friend who killed one drunk driving in his sports car was unhappy about the guy tearing things up. Last time I saw him he had a truck. Be careful what you ask for as you may get it. Do we have to look for drunk suicides on the road as well as horses, deer, cattle, etc.? Is it worse that the bad guy has a gun or a pressure cooker or a box cutter?
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      Apr 19 2013: Gee whiz, George. The conversation is about term limits, not gun control.
    • Apr 20 2013: I probably shouldn't have mentioned any particular legislation, e.g. gun control. Choose any legislation that has big money behind it....what if you opposed or supported a cause that didn't stand a chance due to huge money supporting the other side. I appreciate that people have differing views and some issues are particularly polarizing. My point was more about term limits so that any legislation has a fighting chance. As it stands now, the side of an issue with the most money behind it most likely wins. That's not equitable or democratic, in my opinion.
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        Apr 21 2013: Please explain how term limits would stop the buying and selling of political influence.
        • Apr 21 2013: Are you asking an honest question, i.e. you really don't know? Or are you just setting up an opposing argument? I think you understand my position, but you disagree and that's totally ok. Your argument so far hasn't won me over to your perspective.