Sunday, March 3, 2013


I've always been skeptical of having "term limits" imposed on Senators and members of the House. After all, the populace has an opportunity to "term limit" every single house member and a third of the Senate every two years. 

I suppose that's the way our Founders envisioned things. And there were damned few things that the Founders did not forsee, at least in the abstract. Maybe they didn't forsee the telephone and E-mail, but basically these are just modern forms of "speech and the press"; just like this blog is sort of a modern broadside. And as far as weaponry goes, maybe they didn't specifically forsee the AK-47 and the M-16; but they certainly knew that "arms" - which are what the Second Amendment refers to, MILITARY BATTLEFIELD WEAPONRY carried by the common light infantryman - would steadily improve. (there was even an attempt to have a "full auto" musket, based on the technology of the Roman candle).
One thing they did not forsee, however, was the rise of the Professional Politician. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, a man aged 70 was old, indeed. The mortality rates of the day made "professional politicians" a self-solving problem. Some Congressmen and Senators served at length, but they were the exception and not the rule. 
Senators have always served multiple, consecutive terms, but "Senators for Life" like Robert Byrd were fairly rare. And the Senate was after all meant to provide a modicum of stability to the Legislature.
Today, however things have come to such a pass that recently a Congressman who was voted out of some Eastern state remarked that maybe he would run for Congress in a state out West because "(he) heard that there's a seat coming open there". As if he were a plumber who was thinking of packing up and setting up a Roto-Rooter franchise on the other side of the country. 
It's high time we acted to break up the big caucuses and little cliques formed by these professional pols.  After a set number of terms, let them be forced to return to the civilian population and live under the conditions they have created. It's time for term limits on Senators and Congresspersons. 
As concerns the House of Representatives, each member should be limited to four consecutive terms, after which he or she would not be able to run for either the House or the Senate for ten years. Representatives serving fewer than four consecutive terms should be barred from running for the House or for the Senate for a period equal to the number of years of consecutive service. 
As to the Senate, Senators should be limited to serving during a period of 18 years following their first being seated in the Senate. That is, a Senator may be sworn in and serve six years; but win or lose he may only run in the next two Senate races for his seat. In any case, 18 years after a Senator is first seated and regardless of the outcome of the other two races for that seat during that time period (and regardless of whether the Senator chooses to run or not); his or her "career" in the Federal Legislature is OVER and he or she shall not hold the position of United States Representative nor United States Senator again (but may if elected Vice President cast the deciding vote in a split and may - if House rules provide for it - be appointed Speaker of the House by the House membership. 
Finally, let's repeal the popular election of Senators and replace it with the original method of having them chosen by the State legislatures. I think that would be a great way to get people more concerned about just who it is they are sending to the State capital. Plus, these United States Senators have houses in the D.C. area and spend much of their time away from the influence of their constituents. State legislators have no such cozy insulation, and would know that there woudl be no escaping the wrath of citizens who saw them as having inflicted them with a Bozo Senator; and so would probably be very careful who they sent to the Senate. 
I'm not Jaques Pepi'n, but these are "term limits my way". (cue French accordion music)  

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