Term limits for Congress?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Alpha-Red, Apr 15, 2011.

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  1. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    So just yesterday I had a thought, and I punched "term limits congressmen" into Google. The first link that came up took me to Wikipedia, where I found out that several states tried to limit their state assembly representatives and congressional representatives to a number of terms. The congressional term limits were struck down by the Supreme Court apparently, on the principle that states don't have the power to overrule the Constitution on this matter. So I thought, why not pass an amendment to do it? Lo and behold, a bill was introduced just yesterday to do just that, by Jim DeMint of all people. And apparently the idea is pretty popular, if the poll (by Fox News) on that second link is to be believed.

    So any thoughts? Are there any downsides to limiting Congressmen to serving a finite number of terms before having to step down?
  2. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    How about inexperienced Congressmen and experienced lobbyists?

    Or lack of name recognition requiring more special interest assistance in getting elected?

    The more established and secure a Congressmen is in office, the less dependent on lobbyists and special interesst he is.
  3. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    The only effect this will likely have is make the average American even more disconnected from his government and give the corporate power structure even greater control.

    That said the accelerationist in me is all for it.
  4. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I don't think this holds up, the reason name recognition needs more special interest help is because the other politician usually is an incumbent and DOES have high name recognition because of it. I would think that term limits would increase how often you have two names, neither of which are terribly well known, and in that sense leveling the playing field. I think the established Congressmen often owe a lot to the lobbyists and special interests because that's what got them to be established in the first place.
  5. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6

    When the USA first started they did not have all that experience. It should not become a career like many of them have made it to be.
  6. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    Sure they did. Look at the first three Presidents. The served in a variety of political offices before becoming president.

  7. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    lol. The great thing about The Cult of the Founders is you really don't have to know anything at all about American history in order to worship it.
  8. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    By introducing term limits, you would give an inordinate amount of power to career staffers. Politicians would be dependent on staffers, and this would be at its apex early on in each term/cycle. On the other end, you have politicians like Ted Kennedy, who was infinitely more powerful and influential than any of his staff members.

    You could have staffers essentially running Congress to one degree or another. That's probably the case at times right now, but when you've been around awhile, you start to go beyond the need for the basics and become more independent in some ways.
  9. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Maybe it's true in the Senate, but there aren't a lot of lifers among House chiefs of staff. And the bulk of staffers are young 20-somethings fresh out of college and still bankrolled by their parents. It's always fun to make a Hill visit and talk to someone half my age who nods sagely as I explain my position on an issue. The only congressman I consistently get to speak to in person is Danny Davis, my own rep, the honorable Mr. Not Mayor of Chicago.
  10. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    As Jabba said, that's more likely to be true about the Senate, rather than the House.

    I'm not sure that getting politicians like Ted Kennedy is a good thing. Do we really need more political dynasties? Remember, Ted ran for and won what had been his brother's seat immediately after he became eligible for it when he turned 30. After he died, the general attitude was that it was the "Kennedy seat", and practically belonged to the Kennedy family. That's a large part of what made Scott Brown's victory so surprising to a lot of pundits.

    In general, I would favor term limits, but I almost prefer the way that Virginia term limits its governor: he can serve as many terms as he wants, but cannot serve two consecutive terms. When it comes to the House, I would probably limit them to 3-4 consecutive terms, before they are ineligible to run again for a period of time (I would say at least 2 terms). In the Senate, I would say no more than 2 terms before a minimum of 1 term of ineligibility. That would provide enough time that legislators could develop experience, but not so much time that they become overly entrenched in office.

    Kimball Kinnison

  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Long-range strategic planning is hard enough with "dynasties" in Congress. See the Yucca Mountain discussion. Long-term politicians nurture a culture in Congress that I think helps bipartisanship over time. Presidential term limits are great, but I don't think Congressional term limits would be helpful to getting things done.

    Of course, there are conservative lines of thought that believe the less effectual Congress is at passing legislation, the better, as the underlying goal is to undermine the Federal government by fostering a legislative branch that is incapable of doing business.
  12. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    I'm sorry but I don't like people who make beening in the senate or congress into a career. That's not what they are about.
  13. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    You're entitled to your opinion I guess, just know that your reasoning is based on made-up nonsense.
  14. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Term limits wouldn't change anything in the U.S. If anything, it will make people more unfamiliar with politics.

    But Raul Casto seems to like the idea of term limits:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/cb_cuba_party_congress
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