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Term Limits - Success or Failure
Chuck Plante | June 12, 2007 | backtothestreets

Posted on 06/12/2007 12:17:06 PM PDT by backtothestreets

Many FReepers still consider term limits a remedy to problems that plague our nation.

I am located in California where term limits is now the law for all non-federal elective offices. The effort was primarily aimed at removing one person from state politics, Willie Brown, then Speaker of the Assembly.

My personal assessment is that term limits has ushered in an era of progressive-liberalism from both the Democratic and Republican parties never imagined. It has also tossed many very capable conservatives from office. I wonder how others assess term limits now.

Using California as the example, how many FReepers would like to see term limits extended into all states and Congress?


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; US: California; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: congress; elections; govwatch; limits; term; termlimits

1 posted on 06/12/2007 12:17:09 PM PDT by backtothestreets
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To: backtothestreets

Me!


2 posted on 06/12/2007 12:20:36 PM PDT by hdstmf
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To: backtothestreets

Me too!


3 posted on 06/12/2007 12:21:35 PM PDT by InsensitiveConservative
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To: backtothestreets
I support term limits. I don't think any politician should serve a lifetime in public office. Two terms is plenty. Its not like these talentless hacks couldn't be replaced by people who have something new to contribute. I would like congressional term limits. Two terms for senators and six terms for House members. Poster Boy #1 for term limits is Ted Kennedy. He's served in the Senate since I was born. Poster Boy #2 is Trent Lott who thinks his 35 years of service makes him better than his constituents. Term limits would be the best reform that could ever happen to Congress.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

4 posted on 06/12/2007 12:21:41 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: backtothestreets
America is more and more being governed by an arrogant elite of professional politicians. The advantages to incumbency are great. I know of no other way than term limits to get back to the founders concept of citizen legislators.
5 posted on 06/12/2007 12:25:27 PM PDT by Prokopton
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To: backtothestreets

Extend them! Extend them! Make them relinquish the Orb!


6 posted on 06/12/2007 12:26:07 PM PDT by HaveHadEnough
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To: backtothestreets

The problem with California term limits is that the players just find another elective office to hold. And the people just vote them in. Look at the former Governor Jerry Brown. He became the mayor of Oakland and then Attorney General of the State. Problem is, I think some people just vote for a name they have heard in the past instead of voting with intelligence.


7 posted on 06/12/2007 12:26:25 PM PDT by w1andsodidwe (Jimmy Carter allowed radical Islam to get a foothold in Iran.)
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To: everyone

There’s no reason to think the legislature in California has become (even) more liberal due to term limits. The voters and the Democratic gerrymander did that.


8 posted on 06/12/2007 12:30:36 PM PDT by California Patriot ("That's not Charley the Tuna out there. It's Jaws." -- Richard Nixon)
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To: w1andsodidwe
I agree. I think incumbency creates a "name brand." Term limits will create a level playing field for outsiders who otherwise would never have a chance of entering public service. The Republic has survived fine with presidential and state executive branch term limits. There's no reason to think new legislators could not do a better job than they ones they're replacing.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

9 posted on 06/12/2007 12:31:24 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

I agree. These individuals are turning being a Senator/Congressman into a lifelong career. Two terms max in the Senate, four in the House, and no more than 15 years total.


10 posted on 06/12/2007 12:32:45 PM PDT by Right Cal Gal (Remember Billy Dale!!!)
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To: goldstategop
Our Founding Fathers never would have imagined a professional politician. Most of them were farmers, store owners, and such, so that is was a real sacrifice for them to attend congress. Now we are infested with a entire collection of political fleas, who hide is the seams, of society, and like to do their dirty work in the back offices, and night spots. Nothing would be better for us than to get rid of these professional trough feeders, such and Robert Byrd (sp) or Ted Kennedy, look at the ones like Trent Lott, and Old What’s his name ( used to be married to Liz Taylor).They do not add a thing to the running of our Country. Two term and out. We might lose a few good men but we would get rid a lot of bad ones.
11 posted on 06/12/2007 12:33:01 PM PDT by BooBoo1000 (Some times I wake up grumpy, other times I let her sleep/)
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To: California Patriot

Not only that, but BOTH California houses are based on population rather than area. So the blue counties get overly represented and the red counties (which there are more of in California) are always completely shut out.


12 posted on 06/12/2007 12:34:29 PM PDT by Right Cal Gal (Remember Billy Dale!!!)
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To: w1andsodidwe

Well, Jerry Brown wasn’t consistently in office. He didn’t hold any office from the time he left the Governorship until becoming Oakland Mayor, over 16 years.


13 posted on 06/12/2007 12:36:06 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~~~Jihad Fever -- Catch It !~~~)
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To: Right Cal Gal

I agree with your idea, except that the limit can’t be an odd number of years, since the terms are six years for senators and two years for reps. The limit should be 16 years. It’s unfair that presidents have term limits and congressmen don’t.


14 posted on 06/12/2007 12:37:03 PM PDT by PhilCollins
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To: BooBoo1000

I agree but the state that I live in will never allow us to vote in term limits.


15 posted on 06/12/2007 12:38:14 PM PDT by mtnwmn (mtnwmn)
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To: backtothestreets

Term limits have been great in OK for the Legislature — in fact I would recommend them. Without term limits the Dems would still control the OK House and we wouldn’t be tied in the Senate. In 100 years of statehood, the Republicans have NEVER controlled the OK Senate outright. We are tied this time and are in position to take it over in 2008.

I am all in favor of term limits. Ours are 12 years max in either the House or Senate which is six terms in the House or three in the Senate or combination thereof which reaches 12.


16 posted on 06/12/2007 12:38:18 PM PDT by PhiKapMom ( Inhofe for Senate 08 -- Broken Glass Republican -- vote out the RATs in 2008)
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To: backtothestreets

Term limits now!


17 posted on 06/12/2007 12:39:19 PM PDT by coon2000
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To: backtothestreets
Term limits engendered a parade of what I call "put-up-dolls," candidates hired to mouth the right phrases for a couple of years while delivering the goods, then to take their new job as a reward on the way out. Even if they were honest, they aren't there long enough to learn real competence.

Term limits got rid of a good many dedicated public servants too. A good example was Quentin Kopp. However much I disagree with his politics, the guy was honest.

18 posted on 06/12/2007 12:50:00 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Duncan Hunter for President)
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To: backtothestreets

I agree that California’s 6-year legislative term limits are far too low, and have been disastrous - the $35 billion energy scam raid on the state, the horrendous state budget defict, etc. We might as well have a one-day limit and draft people off the street to be legislators for a day.

IMO a simple 16 year limit would be fine, and I’d like to extend that to state appellate & Supreme Court judges, Congress, and all federal judges too.


19 posted on 06/12/2007 1:05:21 PM PDT by Thud
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To: Carry_Okie

I agree with you. I think term limits are a bad idea. The assumption is that no one ever seeks office because he’s a dedicated public servant who wants to make this country a better place. With term limits, if you elect someone who’s in there doing a great job and commanding respect from everyone, he’s forced to quit, for no reason other than to kick out the occasional bad guy. That’s wrong, and it hurts our country.

If the Founding Fathers didn’t want career politicians in office, then term limits would have been part of our Constitution. They’re not.


20 posted on 06/12/2007 1:08:37 PM PDT by Tarantulas ( Illegal immigration - the trojan horse that's treated like a sacred cow)
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To: coon2000

Nothing will change until term limits become law.


21 posted on 06/12/2007 1:13:24 PM PDT by boomop1 (there you go again)
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To: Tarantulas
If the Founding Fathers didn’t want career politicians in office, then term limits would have been part of our Constitution. They’re not.

Here's what Mr. Madison had to say in Federalist 53:

No man can be a competent legislator who does not add to an upright intention and a sound judgment a certain degree of knowledge of the subjects on which he is to legislate. A part of this knowledge may be acquired by means of information which lie within the compass of men in private as well as public stations. Another part can only be attained, or at least thoroughly attained, by actual experience in the station which requires the use of it. The period of service, ought, therefore, in all such cases, to bear some proportion to the extent of practical knowledge requisite to the due performance of the service.

[snip]

A few of the members, as happens in all such assemblies, will possess superior talents; will, by frequent reelections, become members of long standing; will be thoroughly masters of the public business, and perhaps not unwilling to avail themselves of those advantages. The greater the proportion of new members, and the less the information of the bulk of the members the more apt will they be to fall into the snares that may be laid for them. This remark is no less applicable to the relation which will subsist between the House of Representatives and the Senate.


22 posted on 06/12/2007 1:32:32 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Duncan Hunter for President)
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To: Carry_Okie

Term Limits are absolutely necessary in a Republic. As Madison notes, some legislators will become masters. In today’s world this comes from tenure and all the named and unnamed privileges afforded to long-standing legislators. This gives undue influence of citizens represented by tenured legislators (masters) over citizens represented by freshman or less tenured legislators. A Republic must protect the less represented citizen from citizens that continually elect the same legislators to gain undue power, privilege and influence in the legislative branch. The only way is to limit the term an individual can serve in the US Congress.


23 posted on 06/12/2007 1:51:21 PM PDT by 11th Commandment
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To: 11th Commandment
As Madison notes, some legislators will become masters.

Then perhaps you can make a citation to what he actually said with sources and in context, please. Madison (in Federalist 50-52) pointed out that the checks and balances within a limited government precluded such despotism. Madison also preferred to leave the decision as to when to remove a legislator up to the people, as I cited in his own words above.

The rest of your post is equally unsupported assertion.

24 posted on 06/12/2007 2:03:32 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Duncan Hunter for President)
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To: backtothestreets
They sounded like a great idea and I used to be all for them but after seeing what happened in CA I'm now against them. All they've done is create an environment where every politician's main concern is getting their next job instead of doing their current one. I also think it's made them less responsive to their constituents and more beholden to groups that can help them in their next election. Be careful what you wish for.
25 posted on 06/12/2007 2:08:09 PM PDT by houston1
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To: backtothestreets
Term limits speed up the process by which the representative body more closely matches the thinking of the people.

After all is said and done, it's the voters who are mostly to blame or credit with the condition of the government, even more so when term limits are in place. After all, they elected the rotten scoundrels.

26 posted on 06/12/2007 2:15:29 PM PDT by TChris (The Republican Party is merely the Democrat Party's "away" jersey - Vox Day)
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To: backtothestreets
All great answers thus far offering many views and insights. I’ve something more I’d like to throw in for consideration.

First, would term limits give control of government to bureaucrats that are not elected, but serve their entire career with the government?

Secondly, I’ve seen some suggestions to limit total time served in elective office to a combined 16 years. Had this been the law in 1960, Richard Nixon would have been prohibited from seeking the presidency as he had already served 6 years as Senator from California and 8 years as Vice-President under Eisenhower, thus he had already 14 total years in elective office. Just a thought for consideration.

27 posted on 06/12/2007 3:01:12 PM PDT by backtothestreets (NO AMNESTY FOR INCUMBENTS! - All must go back from whence they came!)
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To: backtothestreets
First, would term limits give control of government to bureaucrats that are not elected, but serve their entire career with the government?

It would sure push things that way, because the liege-slatterns won't be as familiar the ins and outs of agency connivances. Of course, that's not always a bad thing.

Re total time, who would have the wisdom to deny Henry Clay, Patrick Henry, or Jesse Helms on the strength of too much time in office, much less Antonin Scalia, Story, Fuller, or Taney? To allow that much latitude for whimsy is to engage in a poor understanding of history.

28 posted on 06/12/2007 3:43:31 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Duncan Hunter for President)
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To: backtothestreets

I’d just keep it to similar offices - 16 years as any kind of state or federal judicial office (okay to have 16 years in each), 16 years in Congress (both houses) or the legislature (both houses again), but 16 in the state legislature and another 16 in Congress okay, etc.

The only appointive office I’d hit with term limits would be judicial. Federal judges are incredibly arrogant and, as Supreme Court justices, can do incredible damage. So term limits for judges is pretty much damage control.

I could care less if some bureaucrat has a career - most of them are working stiffs like us, and expertise is pretty important for many. You can risk your kids’ lives on some water quality guy with only eight years experience - I’d rather have my water quality guy have twenty years experience.


29 posted on 06/12/2007 4:05:06 PM PDT by Thud
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To: All
Thanks for all the replies. They have all shown great consideration and thought.

My opinion of term limits is mine, and all should develop their own, which may or not be similar to mine.

I do not believe term limits is the answer to our woes. It seems no matter who gains elective office the course does not change much.

Having read the replies, and with my tainted personal perspective, I think there is something that could have a greater impact. Prohibit all campaign contributions from organizations, businesses, PACs, Labor Unions and whatever other legal groups exist. All organizations are comprised of people.

Allow them to make their contributions solely as individuals. This would give campaign fund raising a transparency to see who is really pulling the strings & yanking the chains of the candidates and elected office holders.

At present we hold our disdain for the elected, not the puppet masters. We have got to identify the puppet masters. Only then can we keep them from putting their puppets in place.

Opinions?

30 posted on 06/12/2007 4:15:24 PM PDT by backtothestreets (NO AMNESTY FOR INCUMBENTS! - All must go back from whence they came!)
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To: Thud
I agree most bureaucrats are as you say, working stiffs like us. Electing the right persons to office was, and to some extent still is, the sole control citizens had of assuring bureaucrats did not control government.

I recall a situation 20-30 years ago when a Post Master over the area I lived in at that time did something that infuriated the local community. Complaints did not go to the Post Office General, but to our local Congressman. It was he that nominated the local Post Master to the President, and it was the Congressman that stood to lose if he did not move to correct the situation.

What we had then was greater local control.

31 posted on 06/12/2007 4:28:16 PM PDT by backtothestreets (NO AMNESTY FOR INCUMBENTS! - All must go back from whence they came!)
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To: Carry_Okie
Actually, I understood Madison's point, but wanted to show that his theory of a Master works against a Republican style democracy. I wonder if Madison would support term limits if he knew how large the federal government had become and with the passage of the 21st amendment that weakened the Republic and flew in the face of federalism?

Now to support my notion that tenured legislators have undue influence over citizens represented by less tenured legislators, one only has to look at "No Child Left Behind", ADA, and the recent immigration "reform" bill to understand the Senator Kennedy and the Commonwealth of MassacuTAXES has more influence on my life than my 2nd term and 1st term Senator from Missouri. (And don't get me started on West Virginia)

32 posted on 06/13/2007 5:51:58 AM PDT by 11th Commandment
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To: 11th Commandment
I wonder if Madison would support term limits if he knew how large the federal government had become and with the passage of the 21st amendment that weakened the Republic and flew in the face of federalism?

Actually, he would point to the "Selective Incorporation" doctrine of the 14th Amendment and the 16th and 17th Amendments for the growth of the Federal government, blaming the people for letting the Republic go down the drain.

33 posted on 06/13/2007 7:28:47 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (Duncan Hunter for President)
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To: Carry_Okie
True, but now you are bringing int the courts, if you do not want me to get started on Robert Byrd, don’t get even me started on the Judiciary.
34 posted on 06/13/2007 8:12:28 AM PDT by 11th Commandment
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