Term limits are working

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Remember the claim that term limits would give lobbyists more power? From John Fund in the Wall Street Journal, on efforts to repeal term limits:

Mark Petracca, a liberal who chairs the political science department at the University of California at Irvine, notes that lobbyists actually dislike term limits because they have less influence with a steady influx of unpredictable new legislators. "It's no surprise that business and labor interests have long been reliable opponents of term limits," he notes. "There is no systematic evidence that lobbyist power has swelled under term limits."

Other groups have obvious self-interested reasons to oppose term limits. "Journalists who cover politics hate term limits," says columnist Jill Stewart, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times. "They must cozy up to a new bunch of lawmakers every time the old bunch is forced out. They have to develop new sources and--Horrors!--update their Rolodexes."

Term limits mean there is less time for a legislator to build a stronger sense of identity with bureaucrats, lobbyists, journalists, and fellow legislators than he has with his own constituents. He's less likely to start thinking of the Capitol Gang as "us" and his constituents as "them," less likely to become assimilated into the culture.

And the more new members there are at any given time, the less likely new members will feel intimidated by the institution, and the more likely they will trust their own intelligence and judgment and will be open to change.


Johnny said:

Appreciate your blog and insight. Although we often disagree on politics I applaud your research (most of the time, heheh).

However, I disagree with you on this point.

The paragraphs you cite (sp?) have merit. But what about the staffers who end up staying there way longer than the elected officials? Surely you are familiar with arguments that they eventually end up running the show?

Ug I hate to be cliche in my first post but I firmly believe this: every politician faces term limits. They are called elections.

I've noticed you don't issue a "call to arms" like many online activists do. You just kind of make personal recommendations. Do you not believe in the viability of an online grassroots call for change?

Again, I'm not being confrontational. I do respect your opinions and the work you put into forming them. I've just noticed you have a different style than other internet "rabble rousers" (I use that term as a complement).

You focus a lot of time on local politics; arguably those elections require less financial resources and grassroots has a bigger impact. Why do you hesitate to build an online army for change?

Twatch said:

Term limits serve the purpose of moving along people like Charles Ford, who was known to legislators by his "Tag Line"; "I could vote either way on that Bill how can we work together".
I dare say that the average voter DIDN'T know who he was let alone what he was doing.

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

I don't like term limits. Its good if you have someone bad in office, but its bad if you have someone good in office, and if you haves someone bad in office, that's what elections are for (assuming there's a better candidate). I agree in principle with what Johnny is saying about term limits, although I'm not sure why politics (national or local) needs to be a military event. If you can appeal to a person's desire for change, and respect all persons' intellect, you have no need for spin, seeding half-truths, and berating other people to your benefit. What I'm saying is: It doesn't have to be a call to arms or an army of change. Try following Titus 2:7-8, as an example (BTW, you don't have to be a Christian to appreciate the Bible.)

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 16, 2006 9:33 PM.

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