Skip to comments.From the Back Porch - Term limits for legislators (the way to get things done in Washington)
Posted on 04/21/2005 6:35:25 PM PDT by CHARLITE
A government of the people, by the people, for the people ... of power
The judicial branch of our government has come in for increasing criticism in recent years and it seemed to peak in the Terri Schiavo incident. Unfortunately, the concern of the people over the actions of the judicial have somewhat masked the concern of the people over the actions of the legislative branch, the Congress.
Abe Lincoln's famous saying that Americans like to quote does not totally stand up as to how Congress actually performs. When it comes to Congress, or even to state legislatures, you have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, only if you are one of the people powerful enough to pay hundred of thousands of dollars to lobbyists to do your bidding with the Representatives, Senators and state legislators.
Lobbying has long been an accepted part of our government. Originally, it was considered only as a tool for a group to have an agent to talk to the legislators as to the group's primary interest when it came to legislation. But long ago lobbyists turned from just talking to bribery. I know, a lot of folks are going to say that bribery is an unfair term to use.
But what else do you call it when lobbyists ply legislators with fabulous trips, expensive dinners, high priced sports and theater tickets and other fine gifts?
You can write a scathing letter to your Congressman about the high price of gas. But what influence does that have over an oil-company's lobbyist wining and dining that Congressman (and other members) at restaurants and clubs with menus prices equaling those of New York Yankee baseball salaries?
One lobbyist currently is being investigated for taking fees from one Indian tribe wanting to establish a casino at the same time he has taken fees from another tribe who has a casino and doesn't want the other one to have one. Does that sound ethical? Well, when it comes to ethics, too many lobbyists have trouble spelling the word, let alone understand it.
To further compound any problems caused by lobbyists, former members of the House and Senate don't seem to have any major problems of becoming highly paid lobbyists once they leave the Congress.
There is one thing that could help put the influence of lobbyists back where it belongs. That is term limits for members of Congress. Just 15 years ago Republicans were all in favor of term limits. At that time it looked like the Democrats would never give up their majority. But the Republicans did get elected to Congress and now suggest term limits to a Republican Representative or Senator and the reaction you will get is like what you would get if you told them that Al Gore really did invent the Internet.
I know, the members tell you that term limits prevents us from having experienced lawmakers in Washington. Well, we certainly have had experienced law makers in Washington for some time now, and that experience leaves a lot to be desired by citizens who do believe in ethical behavior and not just lots of talk about morality.
Those in government maintain that it isn't fair for a person to have to give up a high paying civilian job to serve the nation for a few years. But isn't that what the government is doing to a lot of National Guardsmen and Armed Forces reservists?
Does anyone really think that there would be a problem with Social Security now if 50 years ago the law required that Senators and Representatives to participate in the program?
Pardon me from joining the group giving my opinion of what the writers of the Constitution meant, but I simply do not believe they meant for elective office to be a life-time career. In fact, professional politicians really contradict the idea of "a government of the people, by the people and for the people."
If, 70 years ago seeing how things were going in Washington prompted Will Rogers to say, "We have the best Congress money can buy," what could he come up with today?
George Frasher, an independent columnist, is a retired News-Leader Inc. editor and may be contacted at 337-238-3433, E-mail email@example.com.
And that is why they set the term of Senators at six years and of Congressmen at two---
"I simply do not believe they meant for elective office to be a life-time career.
And that is why they set the term of Senators at six years and of Congressmen at two---"
But neglected to include actual term limits. It is interesting how low the approval rating for congress is but there is about a 90% re-election rate for members of congress.
Judges ought to be term limited as well.
6 year appointments for them as well.
IIRC, the framers of the Constitution considered term limits and rejected the idea, preferring to depend on the intelligence of the voters---
Yep and it was a purely political move to have them inserted for president after FDR. I think we should all bow to greater minds then our own on this one and leave things as they stand now.
--I agree--even in the light of situations like Massachusetts --
Just think how much better off MA. and the whole country would be, if Teddy Kennedy had had only 6 years in the Senate.
........and, of course, much better off also, if we'd been able to expose John False Kerry early enough (getting all of his military records out into the open), so that he never would have gotten His Royal Frenchified Lurchingness into the Senate in the first place.
They were great men, but not infallible. If they could see the entrenched
corruption in DC, they would surely rethink that position.