Politics: August 2006 Archives

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.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from August 2006.

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