There are many good arguments to be made by those who support legislated term limits for Congress persons, and even Judges. Judge’s term limits are a whole other ball of wax from Congressional, and will be left for another time. Let’s cut to the chase on the Term Limits issue for Congress.
There are two facts about Congressional term limits which its supporters don’t address and can’t get past.
First is the simple fact that Congress would have to legislate their own term limits. There may be a handful of persons in Congress, who pay lip service to the notion, but, I know of none who can convince me they would vote for it, if their vote was to be the deciding vote.
Second, to ask a political party to adopt term limits will, in all likelihood, lead to their own elected party members turning against their Party on this issue, using the same argument the Democratic and Republican Parties use very convincingly. That argument is: A party can’t represent its voting membership if it is voting its own elected officials out of offices for the sake ofterm limits. A good politician is hard to find, and it makes no sense to boot a rare good one out on general principle. Term limits are to a political party what a gun is to a suicidal person: self-defeating.
To elaborate, legislated term limits are a poor substitute for the original intent of the public’s vote referred to as universal suffrage. Our Colonialists overthrew a King whose reign relied on bloodline and was for life. Many of our founders understood that those in power will elect to keep themselves in power, in perpetuity, thus negating the very idea of a vote for the purposes of “re-election”. Our founders understood that the power of the vote was in its ability to REMOVE figures from power when the voters deemed such action warranted. No vote was needed to keep King George in power over the Colonies.
Term Limits, if they are to mean anything, must spring from the evaluation of the voters of their representative and voting accordingly. Anything less than this original intent and design of the vote, is a very poor substitute. And that is precisely, what legislated Term Limits are, a poor substitute for voters taking the responsibility for the outcome of Congress with their elected representatives in it.
The logic is inescapable. If voters don’t like the results of Congress, it means one of three things about their own elected representative. Either their Congress person is a proponent of the actions of Congress which the voter disapproves of, or, their representative is ineffective in changing the Congress. In either case, if voters disapprove of Congressional results, they have an obligation to exercise their vote to remove their representative who is either part of the problem, or ineffective in correcting it.
A political party which is considering adoption of Term Limits into its platform, as the New American Independent Party is, would do better to consider ways of influencing their followers and other voters to hold their representatives accountable on election day, rather than seek legislated term limits, which would force out those representatives, which voters highly approve of, along with those they don’t.
There is no substitute for voter responsibility or, the ability to respond appropriately, on election days. Democracy depends directly upon an informed electorate capable and willing to replace their own representatives when the results of their government disappoint.
This is, of course, only one person’s position and arguments on the term limits’ issue. The decision of the NAIP leadership to engage their members and followers on this issue is a wise and reasoned course. The Party must reflect the best interests of its followers, but, also the nation. A Party that acquires power in government, must lead for the benefit of all, not just its supporters. This is not a simple issue topic. I commend NAIP for engaging its supporters on the topic before deciding whether legally mandated term limits will, in fact, be in the best interest of its supporters and our nation.