Term Limits - Smart Reform? Or Depriving People of Choice?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by CivilLiberty, Feb 20, 2005.

  1. CivilLiberty
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    CivilLiberty Active Member

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    Among the types of election and political reform that have become of vogue in recent years is that of "term limits", where a specific candidate is only allowed to occupy the same office fora set number of terms, regardless of what the electorate want.

    One of the ideas behind term limits is that it keeps politicians from becoming "entrenched" in power. However, citizens are given the opportunity to remove any bad politician at the next election cycle, as happens all the time.

    When asked, however, it seems that people are most unhappy with "entrenched" politicians that are not their own (such as a Texan being unhappy with Mass. Senator Ted Kennedy). So what people are really saying is "yes politicians should have term limits, but no term limits on mine!"

    In considering term limits, one must ask: why? Shouldn't the people elect who they want regardless of the experience that person has? If a person is doing their job well, shouldn't they have the opportunity to continue? Term limits force the most experiences politicians out of office, and open the door to new and inexperienced candidates.

    If you were running a business, and you had an experienced plant manager who was doing a good job - would you fire him just so you could hire someone inexperienced? Of course not!

    The reality is that term limits favor the minority party, because term limits force the majority-elected office holder to leave office, and all this does is give the minority a better chance at occupying that office.

    But I also agree with the idea that entrenchment can lead to power polarizations that are not always good. And power polarizations are most objectionable in positions of absolute authority.

    In general, I'll suggest that term limits are good for executive branch leadership: Governor, Mayor, President, etc. Positions where a single person has veto powers and executive order powers. These are positions where that power must be kept on a tight leash, and one way to do that is with term limits.

    However, term limits are bad for representative branch offices: City Council, Congress, etc. Representatives need to form coalitions, and work together to be effective. The needs of the people represented are best served by experienced representatives.

    If a representative is not doing their job, they can get voted out, as happens all the time. Term limits are not needed to force bad persons out of office - term limits only serve to allow the minority party more opportunity.


    - Andrew Somers
     
  2. MJDuncan1982
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    MJDuncan1982 Member

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    I support term limits because once a person is in power, that person has the resources to manipulate the electorate with greater efficiency. S/He can make it seem that s/he is the only person for the job and make it difficult for others to gain office.

    Plus I think the founders didn't want career-politicians. There are enough interested people out there and I think the numbers would grow if there was usually no incumbent running.

    I would add that any politician is limited to say more than 2 consecutive terms. Once other politicians have served the equivalent of 2 terms, that politician is free to go for another two consecutive terms - that way, if s/he is really good and the people love him, s/he can come back.

    Edit: Also, the electorate gets complacent - isn't the re-election rate around 98%? I doubt that all 98% of our politicians deserve to keep their jobs.
     
  3. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    The logic is still bad, squirt. A person from the same party with the same ideologies can also be elected. The long version is no more logical than your previous attempt at thought.

    I guess you see the difficulty dems are having within the democratic process and seek to limit their exposure to the desires of the people. Plus there are no good dems on the horizon. You have to get the most mileage out of the hacks you have in there now.
     
  4. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Andy, you're not from crawfordsville are you?
     
  5. MJDuncan1982
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    MJDuncan1982 Member

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    Yea I just realized that this will only reinforce the party system. I think that is a downside to term limits. I'd like to see much more independent minded politicians. I'm quite positive that the entire spectrum of political human ideology can not be neatly divided into red and blue.
     
  6. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    I agree with duncan (amazingly). The idea of carreer politicians apparently didnt enter the minds of the founders, otherwise term limits would have been constitutional. They believed in the idea of "Public servants" elected by the people to "serve" the people. The problem is that somewhere along the line, it went from being "to serve the people" to "making as much money for yourself while getting reelected."

    I dont think entrenched politicians are good for the country. theres a reason we dont have presidents for more then 8 years maximum. At some point, fresh ideas and change need to take place. No one would want 4 more years of Clinton anymore then they would 4 more years of bush. Thus term limits were enacted for the leader. This to eliminate a dicatatoral possibility.

    The problem is with the senate. This group thinks that it is aristocracy. They think that it is their noble right to be senator for life. The people see a name on a ballot, think well hes been there before so why change, and pull the lever. Thus 2 or 3 elections and senators are their for life. Plus with 6 year terms, a senator may do awful things but by the time it comes for re-election, people will forget about it. The house has a way of removing problems with its 2 year term limits. If you dont do things in your 2 years, your likely to be removed easily. Senators get entrenched and think the people owe them something instead of their duty to the people.

    I feel that Senators terms need to be reduced to 4 years and a limit of 2 terms max. Reps need to be limited to 4 terms max. Same thing for mayors, Governors, state senators and reps. No more then 8 years for anyone person FOR LIFE in public office. If you want to run for president, but have been a senator for 8 years already, too bad. Your political life is over. Go get a job as a civilian. If you were senator, governor, mayor, rep, etc for 4 years, you can run for president for only 1 term. This would hopefully return this occupation to truely being a "Servant of the people."
     
  7. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    With a two party system you have a clear majority when embarking on actions. A multiparty system creates no concensus for anything and politicians bicker amongst each other for payoffs and temporary alliances. So I must heartily disagree with you.
     
  8. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    On the contrary. I think with term limits, more people would get exposure due to the sheer number of new faces that would need to be shown in each and every election. No one party is always right all the time. Fresh ideas and fresh faces are what makes this coutnry great. If their ideas dont work, then whether with term limits, or popular opinion, they wont be their long.
     
  9. MJDuncan1982
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    MJDuncan1982 Member

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    Well as far as the Presidency is concerned, a majority is rare. Usually a candidate wins with a slim plurality - 48% to 43% with a few other guys getting the rest.

    And I think I would like the idea of there being no permanent consensus among politicians. Make them talk things out and convince people on the merits of an idea - not because they are of the same party. And temporary alliances may be good. Imagine if we had four parties right now. Moderates of both parties and extremes of both parties. For Bush to pass SS reform, he could convince the extreme Republicans and the moderate Republicans and Democrats or if there was enough power, just all of the Republicans. I see politicians banding together based on an idea and not party lines as a good thing.
     
  10. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Hey. I invite you to please split your party into a million bickering shards. We're staying together to whip your ass. The ideas ARE discussed right now. There are two parties because there are typically two ways to do something, the right way and the left way.
     

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