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Thread: A Limit to Time in Elective Office

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    Default A Limit to Time in Elective Office

    A couple of responses in recent threads have alluded to Term Limits as a solution to some of the ills befalling the system of government we have chosen. While there is little disagreement by myself that this is desirable, Does anyone have any ideas for making TERM LIMITS actually happen?

    I will open with this: I don't know how many of you live in states with the initiative process, but I would suggest that if you do, get an initative on the ballot that limits public retirement to those employed by the public. Specifically, if an individual is elected, the time they spend in office will not count toward any public retirement benefits!

    What say YOU?
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    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    A couple of responses in recent threads have alluded to Term Limits as a solution to some of the ills befalling the system of government we have chosen. While there is little disagreement by myself that this is desirable, Does anyone have any ideas for making TERM LIMITS actually happen?

    I will open with this: I don't know how many of you live in states with the initiative process, but I would suggest that if you do, get an initative on the ballot that limits public retirement to those employed by the public. Specifically, if an individual is elected, the time they spend in office will not count toward any public retirement benefits!

    What say YOU?
    Given that the qualifications for US Senators and Representatives are defined in the Constitution, I believe a Constitutional amendment would be needed to define term limits. That was the approach used to establish Presidential term limits during Roosevelt's Presidency. Personally, I would oppose such limits for a few reasons:

    • the job of being a legislator actually has a pretty significant learning curve. To avoid creating serious experience gaps would require limits (I believe) of at least 10-12 years.
    • I believe that voters are responsible for electing the candidates that they want. Term limits and similar rules will never be a substitute for voter ignorance or stupidity.
    A more modest approach might be to limit the terms of committee chairs and possibly even committee members., forcing a certain amount of rotation in these positions. This would reduce the opportunities for the development of long-term sweetheart deals between lobbyists and legislative power brokers and force greater cross-fertilization between different areas. Best of all, the change could be made by each house through modifications to its own rules.

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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    I'm not opposed to term limits per se, except for the fact that they take away voter's choices, if they're happy with their incumbent.

    More importantly, I don't believe that term limits will achieve the goal that you intend. It would essentially make a 50% lame-duck congress, (or whatever the election cycle would become with limits) that has NO fear or sense of obligation to their constituency. Rather, it would "up-emphasize" the already corrupt election and campaign finance situation to new level. Combine that with the recent supreme court decision, and you have a truly corporate-owned government.

    Maybe that's what we're seeing the groundwork for, right now? We're losing our voices, our already feeble control of our government. Exactly what our founding fathers tried to prevent from happening. I say again, God help us!
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

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    Senior Member Goose's Avatar
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    Simple...a surgically implanted IED with a timer set for 2 years, 4 years or 6 years.

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    Senior Member EdA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    I believe that voters are responsible for electing the candidates that they want. ..
    these lifetime politicians are re-elected because they bring home the pork

    does the country benefit when fossils like Stom Thurmond and Robert Byrd are so entrenched in the Senate that only death removes them from office?

    does the country benefit from legions of professional politicians who spend their entire lives in Washington D. C., beginning as aides, then elected officials, and finally lobbyists?

    Christopher Dodd began his career in Washington in 1974, how many lobbyist offers do you think he will have when his term ends?

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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdA View Post
    these lifetime politicians are re-elected because they bring home the pork

    does the country benefit when fossils like Stom Thurmond and Robert Byrd are so entrenched in the Senate that only death removes them from office?

    does the country benefit from legions of professional politicians who spend their entire lives in Washington D. C., beginning as aides, then elected officials, and finally lobbyists?

    Christopher Dodd began his career in Washington in 1974, how many lobbyist offers do you think he will have when his term ends?
    Right. And THAT's what needs to be limited. Chris Dodd is getting his term limit right now. You don't think he really WANTS to step down, do you?

    The presidential term limits make sense, in that you don't want power accumulating in any ONE person. Avoidance of monarchy. But the congress is a body. No one senator or representative should rise to power in that body, despite Joe Lieberman. The people have the power to limit congressional terms. Chris Dodd, Rick Santorum, Ted Foley....
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

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    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdA View Post
    these lifetime politicians are re-elected because they bring home the pork

    does the country benefit when fossils like Stom Thurmond and Robert Byrd are so entrenched in the Senate that only death removes them from office?

    does the country benefit from legions of professional politicians who spend their entire lives in Washington D. C., beginning as aides, then elected officials, and finally lobbyists?

    Christopher Dodd began his career in Washington in 1974, how many lobbyist offers do you think he will have when his term ends?
    Actually, my suggestion for limiting committee memberships/chairmanships would significantly affect the ability of senior members to bring home the bacon.

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    Senior Member EdA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    Actually, my suggestion for limiting committee memberships/chairmanships would significantly affect the ability of senior members to bring home the bacon.
    I am certainly not opposed to anything which would curtail the powerful whose power comes not from ability but from seniority

    I would also propose that a candidate must get 75% of his/her campaign contributions from his/her constituents

    12 year term limits would be satisfactory, 2 terms in the Senate, 6 in the house, then a designated period of time before returning to the Legislative branch

    Obviously we would not want to eliminate the qualified from Executive elected office because of their time served in the Legislature

    the Legislature's inability to accomplish much of anything beyond partisanship in the last 20 years should convince us that the status quo does not work

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    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    A more modest approach might be to limit the terms of committee chairs and possibly even committee members., forcing a certain amount of rotation in these positions. This would reduce the opportunities for the development of long-term sweetheart deals between lobbyists and legislative power brokers and force greater cross-fertilization between different areas. Best of all, the change could be made by each house through modifications to its own rules.
    That sounds very reasonable ... to me. Have a feeling the Congresspeople would find a reason was it was "unfair"

    How about a mandatory retirement age? I think 70 or 75 would be old enough, for sure!

    We might also try a 28th Amendment to the Constitution:
    "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of
    the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and
    Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the
    Senators and Representatives that does not apply equally to the
    citizens of the United States ".
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
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    ​I don't use the PM feature, so just email me direct at the address shown above.

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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    I think the most pressing need for an amendment to the Constitution would have to deal with defining citizenship issues, and rights afforded under the constitution. Namely, the question of individual rights pertaining to corporations or not. This is a basic question, germane to the soul of our system of governance. This type of issue is what prompted the clarification by the Bill of Rights. The citizenship standing of negroes, women, the right to have a voice in government, etc... The standing of corporations and the extend of their "equal protection" under the law needs clarified.

    I fear the republicans and their SCOTUS appointees have already attempted to do this, and nothing short of an Amendment to the Constitution will set it right.
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

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