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Time to get serious about term limits

Time to get serious about term limits

Even in these times of great national division, there is one issue that should bring us all together as we look over the current political scene – term limits.

For we conservatives, that means no House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  No Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.  No Adam Schiff.  No Maxine Waters. No Jerry Nadler.  It is likely that septuagenarian Joe Biden would have been retired to his basement in Delaware – having completed his two-term limit way back in 1985.

For the left, there would be no Senate Majority Leader McConnell.  No House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.  No more Congressmen Nunes or Senator Grassley.

The idea of term limits does not rest easy in the heart of a true conservative – especially those with libertarian leanings.  We are believers in maximum choice.  Leave it up to the people.  When asked about his opinion on term limits, former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld captured the dilemma of a conservative when he responded that “terms limits are a bad idea that’s time has come.”

Why are term limits a good idea?

We got the first example when President Franklin Roosevelt broke George Washington’s tradition of self-limiting presidential terms to two.  FDR was able to amass power and manipulate incumbency to win two more elections.  It earned him the appellation as “America’s first dictator.”

So dangerous was the FDR precedent that Congress and the states passed the first term limit provision – the Twenty-Second Amendment.   Since that time, term limits have been enacted to cover many local and state offices.

Republicans (conservatives) tend to like the idea of term limits – and have generally been the driving force wherever they have been instituted.  Democrats prefer to retain power for long periods.  That is what made the racist Democrats from the segregated south so powerful as long-serving congressional chairmen.  It is what makes the entrenched Democrat political machines in our major cities so powerful – and the creation of such political bosses as Chicago’s Richard J. Daley (21 years) and his son Richard M. (22 years).

Opponents of term limits lament the loss of what they call “institutional memory” – that ability to learn how to manipulate the complex legislative workings.  In reality, that is the benefit of term limits.  The most significant thing learned by prolonged participation is how to get re-elected over and over again.  In any given election year, 80 to 90 percent of incumbents running for re-election get re-elected.  Their ability to remain in office shifts from keeping the folks back home happy to gaming the system.

Term limits would help prevent the establishment of that self-indulgent political establishment – and, at the same time, bring fresh thinking to the process.  We would end the problem of lifelong career politicians.  Public services would be what one does temporarily apart from a private sector career.

Term limits would more frequently pass the torch of leadership to new generations.  If that was the case in the past, we would not have an 80-year-old Speaker of the House. A 78-year-old career politician running for President.  You would not have almost one-half of the Senate (48 members) past the traditional retirement age of 65 –  with 27 over 70 and six over 80.  In a bit of irony, the oldest member of Congress – both houses – is the not so young Alaska Congressman Don Young (86).

Perhaps we should rename the chambers to the United States Senile and the Old Folks House.

Our Founders never intended elective office to be a lifetime career.  It was something you did for a while and then went back to being a private citizen.  One way to avoid evolution toward authoritarian governance is to change our leaders on a regular time-table – and term limits is the way to do that.

If we are to continue to strive toward a more perfect union, term limits would be the next positive step.

So. There ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.



    Dear Mr. Horist, Your article is very timely. In fact, I believe, it should serve as a long- long overdue, warning to the American public, especially to those, who love our great nation.
    No use kidding ourselves, that America, that millions and millions, dream and everyone desires, and is their dream to come to the USA is no longer in existence, outside of these dreamers.. The radicals, with the help of DemocRATS like the Pelosi, Clintons, Schfiffs Nadler’s, have managed to create such an imbalance in our society, that we are about to lose our Republic, to these destructive forces.
    If we think about Dictators in the world and their power, they look ridicules compared to the distance runners of the American politicians in Congress and in the Senate, ruling in excess of 40 years. Dictators can only dream of this kind, and length of time and power, that our, democRAT politicians pose.
    I believe people like you, should take up the torch to save our America.
    People must be made aware of the dangers of these democRATS, controlled by such evil citizens as George Soros, with his over 15,000 civil organizations, throughout the world. He seems to have almost 100% control over the European Union leadership and over 400 of its representatives. We know, what he is capable of doing and in fact what he is doing in the United States. The sudden new trend to disguise the activities of these criminal-minded democRATS is to blame China, for what is happening in our land. The same trick as Hillary used to hide her illegal e-mail activities, he accused and created the Russian connection against President Trump, nearly tripling his ability to govern. To reveal their action is a real effort to save America.! they are very dangerous, because, their actions are all, premeditated and evil !!
    You must use your knowledge and power of connections, to keep the idea of
    T E R M LI M I T ALIVE, AND MAKE THE PUBLIC AWARE, THAT IF WE DO NOT ENACT TERM LIMIT, AND LET THESE CRIMINAL FORCES TAKE OVER OUR COUNTRY, IN 50 YEARS, / IF WE ARE LUCKY/ OUR NATION AS WE KNOW IT WILL SEES TO EXIST. Term Limit should make politicians run and complete Maximum of two terms like the President is authorized. Once they served in their elected capacity, they should not be able to be elected or play consultant to any political position or hold the office of any kind, for at least 10 years.
    Please, make every effort, to keep the idea of T E R M L I M I T ALIVE. Reach President Trump, and convince him, that after the election, he must get behind this Nation Saving effort, it’s a long process, but he must make it happen in the next four years.
    I know he loves our country, and he likes a good fight. well, this could be the crown, the crown for saving our nation. Thank you.

    • Scott Cohen

      Not only should term limits be implemented, but so should campaign funding. Running for election is extremely expensive and only invites special interests and whatever strings are attached.

  2. Edwin Dumas

    If term limits were acceptable to the presidency following the unprecedented four term presidency of President F. Roosevelt, the same principle should apply to congress members. A recent saying, “We prefer millionaires who become politicians over politicians who become millionaires”. It is amazing how many congress members have become millionaires on a salary of $170,000 a year. A recent report suggests 50%. I wish I could have done that! Unlimited time as a congressional member gives them more power over time and this power tends to corrupt. The power to vote self serving special benefits for members of congress such as retirement benefits (full salary for life), health benefits (unlimited and free), free travel boondogles and more which are not available to average citizens. Compare these benefits to what is reality for the rest of us. Term limits are a must. Most careers mandate a retirement at age 60-65 and very few retire with full pay.

  3. Marie

    Term limits could be the saving grace!

  4. Terry Bell

    I agree. Thake Nasty PISSalocie for instance. She is so full of shit she should have been changed many many years ago.

  5. Neil Johnston Rouse II

    There is a huge downside that is important. It’s a very fast moving, complicated, and dangerous world out there right now. As much as I resent the power the Bilderberg Group, the G-8 (9,10,11,12,whatever it is today), and even a handful of multinational corporations have over some of our elected representatives, I do not feel comfortable with rule by utter armatures either. It is bad enough already, considering the Democrat Parties total lack of understanding of what the constitution says and how it works.

    It’s an old argument, but a valid one, that we already have term limits of a sort, we can always vote them out of office. With term limits you would certainly get rid of Palosi, but given her district, you would only get another, younger, more energetic (and potentially crazier) person that would be just as bad, or worse.

    It may be more likely for a politician to become corrupt over the years, but there is nothing that indicates that many are not already corrupt even before they are elected.

    Terming out Palosi and Schumer might seem like a good idea, but do you really want to term out Ted Cruz and Rand Paul? Might be, almost literally, throwing out the baby with the bath water.

  6. David Barron

    Term Limits will never happen. Those in charge of legislation will be committing political and self suicide if they ever voted it in. It would end life time political careers which is what is needed to make things better.

  7. Merrill Hortenstine

    One good flu season could wipe out Congress at this point.

  8. Thom

    MAXIMUM 12 aggregate for all public service employment. Term limits broken down this way;

    President: three four-year terms if they can be re-elected at the end of each of their four years.

    Senators: Two (2) 6 – year terms. If elected after first 6 years.

    House Representatives:

    Six (2 year) terms if elected every two years.

    Supreme Court Justices: One (1) 12 – Year term.

    Decent pay and medical benefits only while serving actively in public employment. At the end of your term you buy your own insurance like all other American citizens. No special insurance for Public taxpayer expense.

    NO RETIREMENT BENEFITS for any public sector job paid for by the taxpayers. This incentivizes the lawmakers to make good law for sustainable business as they will be returning to the private sector to fulfill their jobs and careers.