Term Limits!

Term limits were brought up in one of the posts and I am of the belief that they are a good thing. 

Sen. Chambliss is about to embark on his election for another term as US Senator.  My question to Sen. Chambliss is, will you retire after serving this next term if you are reelected? 

My question to all candidates running for the US House is will you agree to serve only six 2 year house terms? 12 years is enough!  If you can’t get your goals accomplished in 12 years, then it’s time for someone else. 

Voluntary term limits are critical to get good, authentic, straight forward leadership out of our elected officials. 

42 comments

  1. drjay says:

    definitely an area of disagreement between us bull…if i want to vote for senator billy bob every 6 years until i die then i do not want that right artificially denied me–also i think it would give large state disproportunate power in dc b/c seniority becomes less important for ctte assignments and such, but maybe that’s just me–and the model in california just leads to a bizarre game of musical offices being played by the various politicians…

  2. Icarus says:

    “Voluntary term limits are critical to get good, authentic, straight forward leadership out of our elected officials.”

    The word “voluntary” messes up that whole sentence. DrJay makes the points above. GA’s congressional delegation has much less seniority than usual right now, and it shows in our clout in D.C. I don’t see the Ted “bridge to nowhere” Stephens or Robert “I was part of the Klan before I was against it” Byrd going for voluntary term limits. Mandatory maybe, but not unilateral disarmament.

  3. Bull Moose says:

    Note to readers: I said voluntary.

    As much as I disagree with him on certain issues, Dr. Coburn has brought fresh air to the Senate and that’s what voluntary term limits do.

    Personally, I’m for voluntary term limits.

    The late Congresswoman Tillie Fowler of Florida ran on term limits and rose to be the highest ranking woman in House Leadership. That didn’t take decades of seniority, it took determination and leadership.

  4. Bull Moose says:

    Oh, and Congresswoman Fowler only served 8 years in Congress. She said “Eight is enough”.

  5. Bobby Kahn says:

    This talk about voluntary term limits is nice, and somewhat nuanced. What about all of those folks that ran on term limits, signed on to the Contract On America, and/or explicitly committed to term limits? Kingston, Linder and Deal come to mind. I’m sure there are others.

  6. IndyInjun says:

    Whaty’allsay we limit Saxby to ONE TERM?

    I don’t believe in rewarding bad behavior.

  7. ChuckEaton says:

    Not sure if Fowler is the best example. My old boss was a major financial supporter of hers in Jacksonville and was infuriated due to her wanting to break her pledge of 4 terms and run for a fifth, after rising to a leadership position.

    It wasn’t until after significant public outcry and embarrassment, one group even ran ads calling her “Slick Tillie”, that she honored her pledge.

  8. drjay says:

    that story about fowler illustrates a good point–she painted herself into a corner w/the term limit thing. she rose to leadership long enough to accomplish nothing and leave office–i do not see how that helped her or her constituents

  9. Mike Hauncho says:

    The problem with term limits is that you are under the assumption that there is someone better out there to take his or her place. That is not always the case. Plus you assume that they only have one set of ideas and only 12 years to solve them. If they are truely qualified then they will be able to adapt and work to solve future problems.

  10. grabbingsand says:

    Isn’t the word “voluntary” problematic here?

    Anyone can promise to step off the plate after they’ve been swinging for twelve years, but if they don’t really have to go, then what’s the point? Sure, they can be shamed, made to feel a tinge of guilt for overstaying, but what’s a little guilt after a broken promise?

    We can say that term limits deny voters their choice, but there comes a point where change can no longer be denied.

    Funny thing … back in 2004, as I was leaving my local voting precinct, an older fellow ahead of me — decked out in faded cover-alls — took the sticker that was offered him with a sigh and said, “This was a hell of a lot easier when I could just vote for Herman Talmadge again.”

  11. rugby_fan says:

    The Senate is designed to reward seniority. Unless there is someway to change the nature of Senate, term limits is a ridiculous idea, voluntary or not.

  12. tc says:

    Our system of government was designed for elected officials to be “citizen legislators” (ditto that for the executive branch). I think stagnation, hubris and a perpetuation of the “good ol’ boy network” are only perpetuated and reinforced by career legislators.

    Otherwise worthless a$$clowns like Kennedy, Byrd and Specter are shining examples of this.

    My hat’s off to JC Watts for honoring the Contract with America and leaving the HoR when he said he would.

    Legislatures aren’t like corporations. Turnover is good in legislative bodies.

  13. Bull Moose says:

    Chuck, I take issue with your comment.

    I was very close to Mrs. Fowler during my time in DC and am still very good friends with young Tillie and was in DC during that time period. Leadership put A LOT of pressure on Mrs. Fowler to abandon her pledge but she personally never backed down from her pledge.

    And to answer Mr. Kahn, I can only say that it would be nice to have people run on an issue and stick to it, but that doesn’t happen on both sides of the aisle.

    Personally, that’s why people distrust politicians and politics in general is because too many people run for office on one set of issues and then abandon them once they get safe and comfortable.

    Think about it, the best and brightest aren’t necessarily the ones who have played it safe and stayed in the same seat.

    I’d like to see more pressure from citizens to hold elected officials of both sides of the aisle to keep their word and do what they say they are going to do.

    We do not need to continue this political class that exists in Washington and so contributes to the fact that nothing gets done in Washington.

  14. ChuckEaton says:

    Fair enough Bull Moose, obviously I didn’t have the connection to her that you did. Perhaps it was a nasty rumor that she was going to seek reelection, but there sure were a lot of folks worked up over it – to the point a group spent money on an ad campaign.

    “I’d like to see more pressure from citizens to hold elected officials of both sides of the aisle to keep their word and do what they say they are going to do. ”

    If more folks paid attention there wouldn’t be a need for term limits.

  15. Bill Simon says:

    Chuck,

    Maybe if you folks dropped our rates, we wouldn’t have to work so hard to finance gas and electric companies’ expenditures on lobbyists, and we’d have LOTS more leisure time to pay attention to you elected officials. 🙂

  16. ChuckEaton says:

    Keep in mind that citing Ted Kennedy as a reason for term-limits plays well with conservatives, but the people of Massachusetts are generally happy with him. I’ve got a liberal aunt who lives on Martha’s Vineyard that thinks he walks on water; too bad Mary Jo couldn’t.

    Even if there were term-limits it’s not like they would be replacing ol’ Kennedy with William Buckley; we’d probably end up with Barney Frank.

  17. ChuckEaton says:

    Bill,

    Perhaps you could intervene in the next rate case and testify as to how a decrease in utility rates would negate the need for term-limits. Would could place you in the public witness line right behind the woman who believes marjuana is a renewable energy source.

  18. Ben Marshall says:

    Why should we have term limits for Presidents and Governors, but not congressmen and state legislators?

  19. LTC says:

    Icarus, there’s a fair amount of seniority from our delegation (Lewis, Bishop, Deal, Linder, Kingston).

    Besides, tenure/seniority no longer equates committee leadership. Kingston vs. Adam Putnam is a case in point.

    Ben, congressmen/state legislators have less powers at their disposal.

  20. Bull Moose says:

    I would also submit that if we had fairly drawn legislative districts it would probably take care of the need for term limits.

    Because the districts are drawn in a partisan mangled manner, incumbents are protected in their districts as long as they so chose to run again and again.

    In the current Congressional Districts, incumbent Members of Congress drew their own districts and passed them along to the state legislature.

    Thus, the only true districts that are competitive at all are Marshall’s and Barrow’s.

  21. IndyInjun says:

    Bull Moose – This is why it is important to get folks to summon the guts to challenge them from within the party.

    Voting for the current crew of GOP congressional incumbents is voting for the destruction of this country.

  22. Ben Marshall says:

    I’m actually not advocating either way on term limits, I’m just throwing it out there because we do have one branch of government term limited, one that’s not, and I feel there’s got to be a real good argument for having two standards. I guess I almost am saying that I want to hear an argument as to why we should term limit one and not the other, rather than having it consistent for both branches. I guess I don’t see the point in term limiting one and not the other.

  23. Bull Moose says:

    If you’re not going to have a transparent and fair redistricting process removed from partisan political manipulation than we must have term limits.

  24. Bull Moose says:

    And no one serving in the legislature is so great that there isn’t someone who can do better. I hate it when someone says in response to my support for term limits, “What you don’t think (insert incumbent here) is doing a good job?”

    That’s not the point.

    What’s also funny is how incumbents throw off everyone with arguments against both term limits and fair redistricting. Again, it’s a lame arguement to say, “Well, Republicans drew better lines than the Dems.” That’s missing the point again.

    So, fair and non-partisan redistricting reform or term limits. Pick one and call me in the morning!

  25. Bull Moose says:

    P.S. You’ve got to be doing a “heck of a job brownie” to earn my vote after 12 years in the same office.

  26. Southerner says:

    From my experience in elective office, I think that the solution — at least in part — is to get rid of pensions for legislative service. Get rid of them at all levels, from city councils to U.S. Senate, and I think you might see more of the kind of “Citizen Legislator” that the Founders had in mind. I served two terms on our city council and one of my supporters was upset with me for not running for a third term: “You would have been vested, man!” Boy what a good reason to run for office…NOT.

  27. Chris says:

    I’ll take the risk that the greatest legislator out there has to hang up his hat after 2 terms if it means we can get rid of the lying scum of the earth that is Sen. “Bridge to minority” Stevens and Sen. “KKK” Byrd.

  28. Holly says:

    Agreed, Chris.

    I came around to the idea of term limits after the 2006 elections. Before that, I did not support them at all. But I look at what the Republican party is becoming on the national level, and I am convinced that it’s going that way because too many of our legislators have gotten too comfortable inside the Beltway and are growing more and more out of touch with the base and their constituents.

    I agree with Clint – two terms in the U.S. Senate and six terms in the U.S. House should be plenty.

    Sure, there will always be good legislators, but let’s look around. Which of the truly good legislators have been there a long time (1996 or earlier) at this point? Which of the guys elected back in the 1990s still act the same way now that they did when first elected? There are some, and I’m not disputing that. But there aren’t many, and that’s enough to convince me that Washington tarnishes even the most pure of souls.

    If we really want the people – the grassroots level – to take back the Republican Party, I wholeheartedly believe we need to revisit the idea of term limits to keep the legislators from straying off into the land of big government and corruption again.

  29. Federalist says:

    Federalist #59-61. No person in congress today is as well reasoned or intelligent as these men. Nor are any of you. This matter was considered and debated, then concluded from a well reasoned and articulated mind…not from emotional responses from simpletons like bull moose.

  30. Doug Deal says:

    Senators are divided into 3 classes, and you are guarenteed to have 2/3 survive each election, so why even allow re-election at all.

    If they want to run for the other seat, they can take 2-4 years off and run for that one.

    For the House, make it three consectutive terms. I do not think that quick turnover is a bad thing, especially since deserved lawmakers can always run again in 2 years. Maybe that 2 years off will humble them a little.

  31. ChuckEaton says:

    JSM-

    I’ve written and spoken extensively on the issue, but I’ll answer your question point by point:

    -Is this fuel expenses that were not passed along to ratepayers? Is that why it’s an “undisputable debt?” Yes, they are fuel expenses that have not been passed on to ratepayersyet. By law GA Power is entitled to recovery, the PSC will allow for these fuel costs to be amortized over time to smooth the impact to ratepayers (especially after a huge jump like Katrina).

    -How has it been allowed to reach $900 million?
    I wasn’t on the Commission, so it’s hard for me to speak to the specifics, but I would say it’s a natural tendency to delay the impact of the pain.

    -Has anyone researched other possible cost-cutting measures (administration, etc.) within GA Power? This is a seperate issue by statute. The fuel case is specifically about fuel and does not consider GA Power’s overhead, etc.. We’ve got a major rate case coming up (GA Power is filing in the next few days) that will discuss administration, EPA measures, etc..

  32. Darth Mike says:

    Chuck….”Keep in mind that citing Ted Kennedy as a reason for term-limits plays well with conservatives, but the people of Massachusetts are generally happy with him. I’ve got a liberal aunt who lives on Martha’s Vineyard that thinks he walks on water; too bad Mary Jo couldn’t.”

    That one is too funny!

  33. Bull Moose says:

    Yes, the “heck of a job brownie” was a sarcastic reference to Bush’s acknowledgment that the guy was doing a “good job”.

    Seriously though, voluntary term limits are a good thing. Change is good especially in DC.

    The over accumulation of one person’s personal power in Washington, DC is corrupting our system of democracy.

    I mean for heaven’s sake, barely 50% of the country even votes.

  34. Icarus says:

    I don’t want the other 50% voting. I think a lot of them were marching in Atlanta yesterday.

    Mandatory term limits maybe, but voluntary takes power away from us and gives it to Alaska and West Virginia.

    And John McCain is the one true conservative…

  35. Demonbeck says:

    I could just imagine a campaigning Bull Moose saying:

    “I am going to go up there and fight for term limits. I don’t care if it takes me fifty years!”

  36. Darth Mike says:

    I agree with Bull Moose….any politician worth respecting should be able to accomplish all that he wants to in 2 terms of the Senate.

    Kind of goes to prove my point about McCain since he is in his 4TH TERM though.

    Thanks for pointing out McCain’s ineptitude for us though. I agree with you 100%

    DRAFT NEWT!!!

  37. Bull Moose says:

    I’ll take 50 years of John McCain over 6 years of blah blah blah politicians anyday of the week.

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