I keep reading the same crap. Why is this so hard to understand?
So you believe term-limits will solve our political problems. Why would you think that? Are “old timers” in Congress the big problem — as opposed to the bloated egos and narrow minds of the Tea Party, Trumpocrats, and racists? All of whom were recently elected and have no understanding of how the government works? And worse, who care nothing for the American people?
Look how much they’ve fixed everything. Yeah, that’s going well.
So you believe we will get better government if no one in congress gets to hang around awhile? Why would inexperience produce a better government? Aren’t we already suffering from a monumental amount of inexperience and incompetence?
Would you choose an inexperienced surgeon? A barber who has never cut hair or gone to barber school? In what other area do we prefer untrained, raw recruits to veterans?
Oh, right. The presidency. How’s that working for you?
Why do you want amateurs making your laws?
Our founding fathers specifically excluded term limits.
Their experience under the Articles of Confederation (the document that preceded the Constitution) proved to them the best people are not interested in temporary government jobs for lousy pay in a distant city. Many of the people originally elected under the Articles of Confederation walked away from their positions or never took them up in the first place.
There was no future in it.
When the Constitution was drawn, its authors wanted to tempt the best and the brightest to government service. They wanted candidates who would make it a career. They weren’t interested in amateurs and parvenus. The business of governing a nation has a learning curve. It takes years to get the hang of how things work, how a law gets written. How to reach across the aisle and get the opposition to participate.
The Articles of Confederation contained exactly the ideas people are promulgating today. They failed. Miserably. How many times do we need to relearn the same lesson?
The absence of term limits in the Constitution is not an oversight. The writers of the Constitution thought long and hard about this problem.
A little more history
Under the Articles of Confederation, our country fell apart. Elected representatives came to the capital (New York), hung around awhile, then went home. Why stay? The job had no future and their salaries didn’t pay enough to cover their costs or support their families.
Term limits were soundly rejected at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. They were right. The Constitution aims to get professionals into government.
Term limits remove any hope of building a career in government.
It becomes a rough temp job without a future.
Myth Busting 101: Congress isn’t overpaid
Maybe they are paid more than you and me but compared to what they could be earning elsewhere, not so much.
What you cry? How can that be?
Most members of Congress are lawyers. The 2011-2012 salary for rank-and-file congressional members was $174,000 per year. A third-year associate at a good law firm will do that well and after six to twelve years (1 – 2 senate terms), a competent attorney in a good market makes much more.
Senators and representatives have to maintain two residences, one in their native state, the other in DC. If you think $174,000 will support two houses and send their kids to college, you are living in a fantasy world. Which is why many members of Congress have other income streams.
Curiously, our Founding Fathers expected congressmen, especially senators, to be men of means. They felt only wealthy people would be able to afford government service. They would be less susceptible to bribery.
On the whole, they were right. What they didn’t foresee was how greed would become the foundation of our national government and that’s another issue. Or how many kinds of corruption would be easily available.
Bribery is the least of our problems.
Skill and experience count
Writing a law that can stand up to scrutiny by the courts and other members of Congress takes years. You don’t waltz in from Anywhere, USA and start writing laws. Moreover, great legislators are rare in any generation. A sane electorate doesn’t throw them away.
We are not suffering from an entrenched group of old-time pols stopping the legislative process. We are suffering a dearth of the old guard, folks who understood how to work with the opposition. Knew how to make the process work. It’s the recently elected morons who are stopping progress.
Sadly, our experienced old-timers got old, retired, or died. They have been replaced by imbeciles.
Above and beyond the skill it takes to write legislation, it takes even longer to gain seniority and respect. Frank Capra notwithstanding, Mr. Smith doesn’t go to Washington and accomplish miracles. Newly elected congresspeople hope to build a career in politics. With luck, one or two of them will become a great legislator, a Tip O’Neill, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Bob Dole, Ted Kennedy et al.
Anyone you name connected to the passage of major legislation was a multi-term, Representative or Senator.
Term limits eliminate all chance of having great legislators
Term limits guarantee a bunch of amateurs — or worse — fumbling their way around Congress. If any of them figure out where the toilets are and actually get good at their jobs (I know, hard to imagine at the moment), they’ll be gone.
Does that make sense? Really?
If you think your congressman or senator is doing a crappy job, replace him or her with someone you believe will do better.
If you don’t elect them, they won’t be in Congress
We have term limits. These are called elections. Throw the bums out. Vote for the other guy. Term limits were an awful idea in 1788 and they haven’t improved with time. You only have to watch the news once or twice to see how our wonderful, government is doing.
If that doesn’t argue against the treasured (but stupid) belief that what Washington DC needs are outsiders, I don’t know what will convince you. Assuming we survive 45s reign, we will desperately need intelligent, knowledgeable people to set America back on course.
We don’t need term limits.
We need better candidates, better representatives.
We need men and women willing to learn the craft, who have ideas and can work with each other and other nations to get America’s business done. Our government does not rest on the Presidency. It rests on Congress.
The president doesn’t run the country
He’s not our “CEO.” Congress writes legislation and votes it into law. Ultimately, it’s you, me, our friends and neighbors who choose the people who make the laws, pass budgets, approve cabinet members and Supreme Court justices.
Whatever is wrong with Congress, it’s OUR fault
The members of Congress are chosen by us and if you don’t like one, don’t vote for him or her. If someone gets re-elected over and over, you have to figure that a lot of people vote for that candidate. You may not like him, but other people do. That’s what elections are about.
It doesn’t necessarily work out the way you want, but changing the rules won’t solve the problems. Make the job more — not less — attractive so better people will want to go into government. Otherwise, you’re creating a job no one will want.
It’s close to that already. Mention going into politics to an ambitious young person. Watch him or her recoil in horror.
Ultimately, it’s all about America. Partisanship, special interests, regional issues, party politics, and personal agendas need to take a back seat to the good of the nation … and we need to agree what that means, at least in broad strokes. Term limits won’t fix the problem, because that’s not what’s broken.
You want term limits? Vote the morons out of office
We didn’t vote ALL the morons out of office, but we did pretty well and considering there are still a few senatorial elections being recounted, we may do even better. Moreover, we had the highest voter turnout ever. That’s amazing, wonderful, and gives me hope.
Vote for people who believe the good of the country is more important than their personal agenda. Vote for intelligent people who understand about compromise, who have a grip on law, justice, and the constitution.
That will produce real change that might last!