Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Term Limits, Now More Than Ever
Townhall.com ^ | May 4, 2014 | Paul Jacob

Posted on 05/04/2014 9:03:57 AM PDT by Kaslin

Government of, by and for the people.

Yeah, right.

If government were “of, by and for” us — as President Lincoln spoke so eloquently over the fallen at Gettysburg — well, for starters, we’d have term limits.

Especially in Illinois. The Land of Lincoln has sadly become the nation’s capital of corruption. Four of the last seven governors left their “service” in the governor’s mansion to serve time in prison. After former Governor Rod Blagojevich was indicted for selling a U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, the head of the FBI’s Chicago office quipped that if Illinois “isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor."

The state’s most dominant politician, however, isn’t the governor. It’s House Speaker Michael Madigan, the longest-serving speaker in state history, having wielded power as legislative top banana for 29 of the last 31 years.

Over the last five, The Chicago Tribune has perennially published features on how Speaker Madigan “wields clout to help friends and allies, benefit his legal clients and maintain his decades-long grip on state government.” The series, called “The Madigan Rules,” boasts headlines, including: “Favorable legislation flows to private clients of House Speaker Madigan,” “How Madigan builds his patronage army,” “Madigan’s allies get slice of village business,” and “Madigan’s son’s employer rakes in suburbs’ insurance business.”

You get the idea.

One public employee discussed a phone call from the Speaker asking him to give an employee a raise. “I didn’t feel like he was putting a gun to me, but,” said the former Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority chief, “then again, he is the speaker of the House . . . who to a great extent controlled our legislation and funding.”

“Madigan clearly has so much power he has made himself impregnable,” according to James Browning, with the liberal watchdog group Common Cause. “How do you push back when one man has amassed so much control?"

Yes, Mr. Madigan is very, very, very powerful.

But not at all popular. Polls show the long-serving, patronage-spewing speaker is rated negatively by a whopping 65 percent of the public.

Last week, almost like Spring breaking up the long, cold winter, the oppressive negativity of Illinois politics was met quite positively — and head-on. The Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits delivered to the state Board of Elections a 36-foot long box, weighing nearly two tons, filled with 68,000 pages of petitions containing nearly 600,000 signatures from state voters.

That’s more than enough signatures to place the constitutional amendment onto this November’s ballot. The measure will limit state legislators to eight years in office. It will also reduce the size of the state senate (from 59 to 41) and increase the size of the state house (from 118 to 123), while increasing the legislative vote needed to override a governor’s veto to the same two-thirds threshold found in 37 other states and at the federal level, for the president.

Under Illinois’s limited initiative process, only legislators can be term-limited, but the issue promises to animate the governor’s race as well. Republican nominee for governor, Bruce Rauner, led the campaign to place the issue on the ballot.

“We are taking the term limits initiative to the voters directly,” he said at the news conference announcing that nearly 600,000 voters had signed. “Serve the voters and then leave office.” A successful businessman, Rauner has not previously sought public office.

Meanwhile, incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn is no term limits slouch, either. He led a 1994 petition effort to impose legislative term limits, later blocked in court. Quinn announced prior to the current massive signature submission that he would abide by self-imposed term limits, meaning the second full term he now seeks would be his last. (Quinn picked up a partial term at the start of his gubernatorial stretch when police removed his predecessor, thus creating a vacancy.)

One man has definitely not jumped on the term limits bandwagon. Just hours before all those voter signatures were presented to state officials, an attorney connected to Speaker Madigan filed a lawsuit hoping to block the vote.

In 1994, when now-Governor Quinn and others petitioned a straight term limits question onto the ballot, the Illinois Supreme Court blocked it for not being both “structural and procedural.” The current proposal addresses this ostensible requirement by offering more than term limits: it would change the number of state senators and reps and also raises the threshold to override a governor’s veto from the current 60 percent to 67 percent. As Trib columnist Eric Zorn points out: “one clearly procedural, the other clearly structural.”

Predicting how judges will rule is the very inexact-est science of all, but all democratic hope lies with the voters of Illinois having the opportunity to decide — yes, for the decision simply to be “by the people.”

It’s certainly educational that the news report on the Madigan-inspired lawsuit quoted “sources who asked not to be identified for fear of risking their ability to secure state grant dollars.”

Yet another argument for term limits.

Now. More than ever.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 05/04/2014 9:03:57 AM PDT by Kaslin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
Yeah. Better election results.

That'll fix things. [/s]

2 posted on 05/04/2014 9:05:48 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
Term limits have dire unintended consequences, just one of which is increasing the influence of lobbyists for the big-government/big-corporate crony-fascist complex.

A better solution is to repeal the 17th Amendment, which would shift the balance of power between the states and the U.S. Congress back to the states.

3 posted on 05/04/2014 9:08:50 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government." --Tacitus)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Conversely, I am for going back to square one.


4 posted on 05/04/2014 9:09:18 AM PDT by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

5 posted on 05/04/2014 9:10:44 AM PDT by joethedrummer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

The commie ‘RATS will never buy it. Once they’re in there, they’re there for life. They have to be wheeled out on a gurney with a sheet over their head.


6 posted on 05/04/2014 9:14:55 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Obama's smidgens are coming home to roost.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ClearCase_guy; All

Why I believe there should be term limits, but what good would they do when you don’t know what the next person would do. They can and do make all kinds of promises but once they are elected and are in they forget about the promises they have made


7 posted on 05/04/2014 9:24:46 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: E. Pluribus Unum

Why not repeal the 17th AND have term limits? I’d say, “12 and you’re done.” At implementation, any Rep or Senator that has served more than 12 years could not run for reelection.

Of course, the 12 years are 12 years total in the House or Senate.


8 posted on 05/04/2014 9:35:43 AM PDT by upchuck (Support ABLE, the Anybody But Lindsey Effort. Yes, we are the ABLE!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: E. Pluribus Unum
Term limits have dire unintended consequences, just one of which is increasing the influence of lobbyists for the big-government/big-corporate crony-fascist complex.

A better solution is to repeal the 17th Amendment, which would shift the balance of power between the states and the U.S. Congress back to the states.

Do both, and simply make lobbyists irrelevant by requiring that all political donations be ANONYMOUS. You can't sell influence if you don't know who is buying!

Do away with all perks other than an office and reasonable staffing, and require that all laws passed be equally binding on them and the populace. (Hello, Obamacare!)

9 posted on 05/04/2014 12:22:05 PM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed & water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS NOW & FOREVER!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

We have term limits. Every single election is an opportunity to remove someone who is not doing their job.


10 posted on 05/04/2014 1:10:32 PM PDT by ro_dreaming (Chesterton, 'Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. ItÂ’s been found hard and not tried')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

The people to whom term limits need to be applied right along with the elected are the bureaucrats, both appointees and hirees, who squat in their gubmint jobs decade after decade. Starting with the State Department.

They are unelected, yet wield immense influence over their departments and agencies, and our lives. Ten years and out seems about right as a starting place.


11 posted on 05/04/2014 3:46:51 PM PDT by RobinOfKingston (Democrats--the party of Evil. Republicans--the party of Stupid.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson