I used to be a proponent of campaign spending limits—and still would be if I thought it had a better chance of survival than a lizard in the path of a Mack truck. Likewise, I support limiting campaign season to something less than a full-time occupation—say, three months in advance of a primary, another three or four before a November election. The time left over by collapsing the time on the campaign trail might be used by incumbents to try legislatingfor a change. (Take a minute to wrap your head around that one.)
Not to mention any names, but some people prefer electioneering to governing. Not to mention any names, but this is especially true of folks who know nothing about government, who think (just for instance) that judges “sign bills” and whose idea of consultation with foreign policy experts is (just for instance) “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” What???
But I digress. We really need to talk about Congress.
Legislative Posts Captivate
In that arena, I’m willing to abandon my fixation on the undeniable need for campaign finance reform in favor of limits on the number of terms a legislator may serve. I say this because it has become increasingly clear that legislative posts are so captivating that otherwise rational, sentient beings are not only willing, but positively eager to sell their souls in order to hang onto them. Limiting the length of time they spend in the moral rot along the Potomac would afford them the opportunity to redeem themselves by going home and performing productive work—provided, of course, they resist the temptation to dive deeper into the swamp and join the K Street crowd instead. This is a dubious assumption we mustn’t make. But that’s a topic for another time.
Freeing the Beholden
As voters, we stand to benefit from term limits in a number of ways, most notably by freeing (or perhaps forcing) our elected “leaders” to vote their conscience. Look at it this way: If you’d been held hostage by the likes of Donald Trump simply because you feared losing your job, imagine going to DC for a final term. You can’t be re-elected because you’re term-limited. Imagine the freedom. Imagine thinking for yourself. Imagine speaking your genuine truth. Imagine casting a vote that actually serves the common good.
And one more thing. Remember elementary school? Taking turns? Sharing? The founders didn’t expect legislating to be a lifetime job. In no endeavor are fresh eyes, diverse backgrounds, independent thought, and sundry passions (notof a sexual nature, in case you’re wondering) more vital to healthy functioning.
The law of averages would dictate that there are some fine, upstanding legislators in our capitol. But when the party of the president controls both houses of Congress and that party allows itself to be held hostage to a bloviating, ignorant “leader,” the jig is up. Clearly, the only goal of most Republicans in Congress is to get re-elected.
This is not to say that Democrats aren’t driven by the same goal; it’s just that I can’t remember them ever being driven into such paroxysms of lunacy that they went along like sleepy sheep to (just for instance) …
You get the picture. How does Congress take this guy seriously? And why?
I’ve already told you. The perks, the connections, the attention, the status, maybe some book deals down the line—and who knows what else? I realize what common wisdom says: term limits are “unwise … impractical … will never happen … “
Yes … and an African American can never be elected president … and women can never make it in politics … and you just have to put up and shut up when it comes to sexual harassment … and people will never give up smoking ……
Thoughts for Our Time
“Conservatism discards Prescription, shrinks from Principle, disavows Progress; having rejected all respect for antiquity, it offers no redress for the present, and makes no preparation for the future.”