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Term limits for Congress?

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

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  1. Alpha-Red

    Alpha-Red Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 25, 2004
    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 [link=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:sj11:]bill[/link] was [link=http://www.ustl.org/]introduced[/link] 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

    Jediflyer Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 5, 2001
    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

    Rogue_Ten Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 18, 2002
    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

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2006
    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

    anidanami124 Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 24, 2002

    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

    Jediflyer Jedi Master star 5

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

     
  7. Rogue_Ten

    Rogue_Ten Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 18, 2002
    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

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 6, 2001
    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

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Mar 19, 1999
    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

    Kimball_Kinnison Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 28, 2001
    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

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Mar 19, 1999
    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

    anidanami124 Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 24, 2002
    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

    Rogue_Ten Chosen One star 7

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

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Oct 13, 2003
    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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