Term limits sound really great. In these times of the uneducated serfs being driven to an emotional fervor, their angst is being guided by the Marxists against the wrong problems. Term limits wrongly seems to be an easy solution to a problem caused by a society that has become shallow and uninterested except in times of crises. Essentially, our problems are the results of We The People being unengaged and seeking quick emotional faux solutions to problems created because we’ve been thinking short term, only responding to emergencies, we have caused, by, yes, previously only seeking emotional, short term solutions.
Term limits allows We The People to deny the problem is our fault, wrongly of course. We can go back to voting for whoever wears the badge of our party or buys the most lies via TV commercials. An argument I always try to use, because I’ve seen it personally and it is powerful, as well as real: To found America and keep her free, nearly 1.4 million Americans have given the ultimate sacrifice. They are dead. They died for us. Without question we have a duty to slow down and get this right. We have a duty to meet candidates in our communities, coffee shops and churches. We have a duty to read their financial disclosures, learn if they cheat on their spouse, and shake their hands and look in their eyes. We have to duty to make every best attempt to elect honorable men, and, when the scallywags slip past our newly-affirmed efforts at Due Diligence, we must turn them out of office. We must do that, not rely on parchment barriers to do it.
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union had term limits. Why did the Founders not include them in the new constitution? The framers of the constitution knew term limits did more harm than good.
“The ineligibility proposed by the [terms limitation] clause as it stood tended to destroy the great motive to good behavior, the hope of being rewarded by a re-appointment. It was saying to him, ’make hay while the sun shines.’”
— Mr. Gouverneur Morris, July 17, 1787, Madison’s Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention
“Nothing appears more plausible at first sight, nor more ill-founded upon close inspection [than term limits]…. One ill effect of the exclusion would be a diminution of the inducements to good behavior. There are few men who would not feel much less zeal in the discharge of a duty when they were conscious that the advantage of the station with which it was connected must be relinquished at a determinate period, than when they were permitted to entertain a hope of obtaining, by meriting, a continuance of them.”
— Federalist #72, Alexander Hamilton
– All members of Congress in their final term would have no incentive to be responsive to their constituents. This greatly increases the influence of special-interest lobbyists. In other words, if you think Congress is corrupt now, just wait until we have term limits! With 535 seats in Congress, 469 are up for election this year. If the people want them out, the majority of Congress can be fired this year (and every two years).
“Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them….”
— President James Garfield
Representatives in Washington are there because we send them there. The only solution is an informed electorate, which would term limit anyone politician, any time it wanted to. There is nobody to blame for the “status quo” but ourselves.
Can you name one political office that has term limits imposed on it that has been filled with nothing but constitutional conservatives since the term limits were imposed?
Knowing the dangers of a lame duck session of congress, could you imagine how much worse things would be with the entire Congress in an endless state of lame duck?
Also, term limits would take out the good politicians that we have. For example, why would you want to term limit Rand Paul, Justin Amash, Mike Lee, or Thomas Massie? To name a few.
In short, if the goal is to hold politicians to the powers enumerated to them by the Constitution, there is no evidence to suggest that term limits would solve anything.