Term Limits: The GOP's Fake Gesture is Resurrected

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Some Republicans are calling for Term Limits of those in Congress. When you are done laughing your arse off, please continue reading. Term Limits were in the Contract With America, offered by Republicans in 1994. As soon as Republicans acquired the majority in government to enact term limits, the entire issue was never spoken of by the GOP again. Until now, that is. Now, that they are the diminished minority, again.

Despite the Supreme Court's two rulings striking down term limits questions as unconstitutional (arbitrarily restricts voter choice on election day), and despite Republicans failure to get even close to the majority required in the House in the 1990's for a Constitutional Amendment to invoke Congressional term limits, some Republicans are raising the issue again. (Constitutional amendment by legislature requires 2/3 majority assent in both houses of Congress, and then ratification by 3/4 of the State's legislatures or conventions.) The reason Republicans are raising the issue again is clear, and it has nothing to do with hopes of its passage which, are non-existent.

Proponents of term limits can be found amongst Democrats, Republicans and independent voters. But, when push comes to shove on Election Day, Democratic voters vote for their Democratic incumbent, and Republican voters vote for their Republican incumbent, and only Independent voters are prone to vote against the incumbent by voting for their challenger, regardless of the incumbent's Party. Since, independent voters now control the outcome of federal elections, it is politically shrewd of some Republicans to cater to this independent group by attempts to resurrect the term limits issue as champions of it, knowing that the majority party would logically oppose term limits. Which begs the question, are Republicans playing independent voters for dupes and dopes, or, are Republicans themselves dupes and dopes in wasting our time and effort on a proposal that doesn't even have a snowball's chance in Hell of passing?

California established Term Limits for their Legislature in the early 1990's. What do voters think of the results? More than four in ten registered voters (43%) think that limiting the terms of state legislators has had no effect on the overall job performance of the legislature. Of the rest, 24% believe that there has been an improvement, while 15% think term limits have led to a decline in their overall performance. Clearly, term limits has not had the anticipated result in California.

If you are an independent voter, don't be a dupe or dope in attaching any loyalty to Republicans calling for term limits. It is both a gambit and ruse. The practical and plausible action to invoke term limits without a Constitutional amendment is simple. Don't vote for incumbents (those in office seeking reelection). Convince your friends and family that the only term limits available today to voters is their refusal on Election Day to vote for an incumbent. If you usually vote Republican, vote for a challenger in the Republican Primary. If you usually vote Democrat, vote for a Democratic challenger in the Democratic Primary election.

And if your purpose is to really throw a wrench into the well-honed system of gerrymandered and seemingly predetermined election choices, vote cross party for the other party's challenger. The goal is to deny the politicians their predictability in being reelected. One of the main reasons politicians do NOT vote in Congress according to the demands and will of the people is simply because the people traditionally don't hold incumbents responsible on election day. Voters can change that, and they are. These off-year elections this month demonstrated a clear anti-incumbent sentiment and intention by voters. The PEW Research Center poll indicates 53 percent of those polled want incumbents to get the boot next year, (the poll conducted Oct. 28 - Nov. 8, 2009).

When politicians can't be assured of their reelection because their actions result in government performance voters will NOT reelect, then, and only then, will Congressional politicians acknowledge that their reelection now depends upon improving government performance in the eyes of the voters, and not on their wealthy special interest lobbyists and campaign donors. This has been the vision of the PAC known as Vote Out Incumbents Democracy since its formation in 2006. Their Vote Out Incumbents car window/bumper stickers can be seen in more than half the states of the union. vote out incumbents window sticker

Voting out incumbents is not as sexy or easily communicated from person to person as Term Limits, but, it is available to every single voter in the nation, unlike Term Limits legislation which will never be legal as long as the majority Party in Congress refuses to vote for such legislation, and why would the majority Party vote for legislation that would unseat so many of their own?

So, if you are a realist or, a practical voter who wishes term limits were possible, you will invoke term limits with your vote in 2010 by refusing to vote for you representative running for reelection. And you won't have to wait for a Constitutional Amendment which, will never come.

I also highly recommend laughing in the face of any elected Congressman or woman, Democrat or Republican, who tries to get your reelection vote by telling you they will vote for Term Limits to unseat themselves. Perhaps, with enough of us laughing at these Congresspersons all at once, we can render them all deaf and they will resign, which would be just as good as term limits, if not better.


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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on November 12, 2009 5:41 PM.

The Stakes Could NOT Be Higher was the previous entry in this blog.

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