I’m starting to hear people grumble and yell for term limits on the US House and Congress again. Saying that we are in the mess we are because of “career politicians”. I disagree.
Quick question: How do you feel about Mitch McConnell? He’s been in the Senate for over three decades. What about Nancy Pelosi? She’s been in the House for just over 30 years. Chances are you like one of them and hate the other. So, term limits? You can’t legitimately impose term limits on one without the other.
I don’t agree with mandated term limits. Mandated term limits forces a turn over, removing experienced people from their jobs. People that voters may actually like and would prefer to have stay. Considering that the Senate have to reapply for their jobs every six years and Members of Congress have to re-apply for their jobs every two years, we already have the best form of term limits there is: If their constituents think they are doing a bad job, vote them out and replace them.
There is also the issue of continuity. We already have wide swings of domestic and international policy when the Presidency changes hands every four or eight years, which sometimes leaves programs, partners and allies in the lurch. Just think about how much worse it would be with a forced turnover of the legislature as well.
Example: Here in Maine, there are term limits in place for the House and Senate. Mark Eves was a House representative from The Berwicks, until he was termed out. But unfortunately for him, the State Senator for his district wasn’t and is of the same party so he is currently out of the legislature entirely. This is a man that very likely would have easily won re-election. His last assignment in the House in his last term was Speaker – he ran the House in his last year, and famously got on the now-former Governor’s bad side just for doing his job as the people of his District wanted.
The problem isn’t how long legislatures are in office. The problem is the cheating that has been put into law to enable unwanted people to remain in office past the time the people in their states want them gone. Gerrymandering has reshaped districts in such a way that the parties, usually the Republicans, are choosing their voters rather than the voters choosing their representatives.