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(Politico)   Poll: 3 out of 4 Americans want Congressional term limits. New poll: 3 out of 4 Congressmen think you're batshiat insane if you honestly think that's ever gonna happen   (politico.com) divider line 165
    More: Interesting, Americans, Gallup Organization, term limits, speed limits, Member of Congress, electoral colleges  
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1286 clicks; posted to Politics » on 18 Jan 2013 at 11:03 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-18 09:20:55 AM
Flip the congressional seniority system around, so that freshmen representatives have all the big powerful committee chair positions.

If your congresscritter gets less powerful each election, you'll see a lot more turnover.
 
2013-01-18 09:22:15 AM
My suggestion:

Senate:  Change the term to 4 years, maximum of 3 terms.
House:  Change the term to 6 years, maximum of 2 terms.
POTUS:  6 year term, maximum of 1 term.

It would reduce the number of elections and, hopefully, the cronyism that goes on.
 
2013-01-18 09:28:03 AM
Or you know, if you don't like the job they're doing you could just not vote for them.
 
2013-01-18 09:48:40 AM
My idea is a 24 year limit on elected positions at the national level. A person could serve that in whatever manner works for them.
Keep the presidential limit of 2 terms, but the rest can fall out however.
12 terms in the House
or
4 terms in the Senate
or
2 terms in the Senate and 6 in the House
or
8 terms in the House and 2 as President
etc
 
2013-01-18 09:50:46 AM
we need to change the house term to 4 years. two years means that most of your term is spent running for reelection.
 
2013-01-18 09:54:57 AM
Or we could just make it that only people (i.e., live individual human beings) may contribute to campaigns, not to exceed individual maximum of $2500.

If "the people" are the only ones funding you, "the people" are the only ones you care about.
 
2013-01-18 09:58:56 AM

Sybarite: Or you know, if you don't like the job they're doing you could just not vote for them.


there's a problem when you dislike the current guy but the other guy is the devil
 
2013-01-18 10:00:02 AM

somedude210: Sybarite: Or you know, if you don't like the job they're doing you could just not vote for them.

there's a problem when you dislike the current guy but the other guy is the devil


That's a legitimate concern.
 
2013-01-18 10:05:58 AM
Honestly, I think this is a terrible idea. Most of the across-the-aisle work is done by people who have been there a long time. We don't have the time to break every new congressman out of his or her Mr.-Smith-Goes-To-Washington phase every election cycle.
 
2013-01-18 10:09:36 AM

doyner: somedude210: Sybarite: Or you know, if you don't like the job they're doing you could just not vote for them.

there's a problem when you dislike the current guy but the other guy is the devil

That's a legitimate concern.


So primary your person.
 
2013-01-18 10:14:42 AM

Linoleum_Blownapart: Flip the congressional seniority system around, so that freshmen representatives have all the big powerful committee chair positions.

If your congresscritter gets less powerful each election, you'll see a lot more turnover.


I hear the seniority system decried when people talk about unions, why is it fine for congress?  I guess they can't use a merit system, there would be no committee members.
 
2013-01-18 10:15:37 AM

GAT_00: doyner: somedude210: Sybarite: Or you know, if you don't like the job they're doing you could just not vote for them.

there's a problem when you dislike the current guy but the other guy is the devil

That's a legitimate concern.

So primary your person.


what if you end up with a Lugar situation? Sure Lugar was a bit of a conservative dick, but compared to the guy that won his party's nomination, god help us
 
2013-01-18 10:20:09 AM
Goddamm what a terrible idea. Do people really think the problem with Congress is that these people are *too* familiar with the intricate details of governance?
 
2013-01-18 10:32:13 AM
All that would really do is give more power to lobbyists since they wouldn't be subject to term limits and could stick around for congressman after congressman.
 
2013-01-18 10:35:28 AM

Aarontology: All that would really do is give more power to lobbyists since they wouldn't be subject to term limits and could stick around for congressman after congressman.


Exactly.  Freshman Congressmen aren't exactly the smartest hammers in the bag.
 
2013-01-18 10:41:16 AM

Aarontology: All that would really do is give more power to lobbyists since they wouldn't be subject to term limits and could stick around for congressman after congressman.


Who would then utterly fark us because we don't have a proper civil service in place to actually run things.
 
2013-01-18 10:41:31 AM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Aarontology: All that would really do is give more power to lobbyists since they wouldn't be subject to term limits and could stick around for congressman after congressman.

Exactly.  Freshman Congressmen aren't exactly the smartest hammers in the bag.


Yup Without veteran congressman to show them the ropes, they'd turn to people like lobbyists to figure things out.
 
2013-01-18 10:42:30 AM

Tigger: Who would then utterly fark us because we don't have a proper civil service in place to actually run things.


Yeah. It would be straight up puppetry.
 
2013-01-18 10:47:30 AM

Linoleum_Blownapart: Flip the congressional seniority system around, so that freshmen representatives have all the big powerful committee chair positions.

If your congresscritter gets less powerful each election, you'll see a lot more turnover.


That is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard.  So this guy link should be in the leadership after just getting back to Congress after his constituents decided he was batshiat crazy twenty years ago?  No, thank you.

mahuika: Honestly, I think this is a terrible idea. Most of the across-the-aisle work is done by people who have been there a long time. We don't have the time to break every new congressman out of his or her Mr.-Smith-Goes-To-Washington phase every election cycle.


Not only are they more bipartisan, they actually know where the bathrooms are and how to get stuff done.  Why do we want more people like that?

FlashHarry: we need to change the house term to 4 years. two years means that most of your term is spent running for reelection.


OR we could make financing of political campaigns public, so they don't have to spend all of their time fundraising.  They actually spend comparatively little time campaigning, it's all chasing money.  Plus, two years is good so if they're awful they have less time to screw everything up before we can flush them.  I think two years is pretty smart, actually.  Remember, those are they guys who (are supposed to) have the power of the purse, ie, control how your money is spent.  You want more control, not less, on that.  And I say that as a D.

DamnYankees: Goddamm what a terrible idea. Do people really think the problem with Congress is that these people are *too* familiar with the intricate details of governance?


hehehehehhhheeee....  wait till these term limits people find out about professional staff members.  They'll lose their minds.
 
2013-01-18 11:02:09 AM

Aarontology: All that would really do is give more power to lobbyists since they wouldn't be subject to term limits and could stick around for congressman after congressman.


Yeah, exactly. And voters would have to rely even more heavily on the (R) or (D) system, as politicians wouldn't have time to form a strong enough base to break out opinions that don't toe the party line.
 
2013-01-18 11:04:08 AM
I'd love to see a limit of twelve years total in congress as a limit. And thats house and senate. So its two senate terms, six house terms, or 3 house terms and a senate term.
 
2013-01-18 11:05:43 AM
Term limits are silly. The past couple election cycles have shown if people are tired of their incumbent representatives they will vote them out.

It just looks like people are upset about how OTHER people are voting.
 
2013-01-18 11:06:34 AM

SilentStrider: I'd love to see a limit of twelve years total in congress as a limit. And thats house and senate. So its two senate terms, six house terms, or 3 house terms and a senate term.


And what problem does this solve?
 
2013-01-18 11:07:11 AM

NateGrey: Term limits are silly. The past couple election cycles have shown if people are tired of their incumbent representatives they will vote them out.

It just looks like people are upset about how OTHER people are voting.


Another very good point.
 
2013-01-18 11:08:15 AM
Because we need more freshman Congressmen like the Teabaggers in office.

Finding a way to get public funding done and tamping down PAC and lobbyist money would do a hell of a lot more to improve government (though I don't know of a good way to do that).
 
2013-01-18 11:10:45 AM
If voters think their representatives have served long enough, then they can vote for someone different.
 
2013-01-18 11:10:54 AM
When did everyone get the idea into their heads that term limits are the proper solution to anything?
 
2013-01-18 11:11:34 AM
Term limits will be in the constitution of whatever government we have after the civil war
 
2013-01-18 11:11:55 AM

somedude210: what if you end up with a Lugar situation? Sure Lugar was a bit of a conservative dick, but compared to the guy that won his party's nomination, god help us


So how did that turn out for Indiana (and the US as a whole)?
 
2013-01-18 11:13:40 AM
I told Dick Durbin I wanted term limits 3 years ago. Here was the response:

Thank you for contacting me about mandatory term limits for Members of the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. I appreciate knowing your views on this issue.

Every two years, Representatives, and every six years, Senators stand for reelection, a requirement that was established by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution. Voters should have the right to choose whomever they wish to represent them in Washington. For some members of Congress, two years in office is too long. For others, 20 years is not long enough. We should trust the voters to decide, not federal or state legislators.

Again, thank you for being in touch. Please feel free to continue to contact me on any matter of concern.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator
 
2013-01-18 11:13:53 AM
They're called elections, you simians.
 
2013-01-18 11:16:06 AM

lennavan: I told Dick Durbin I wanted term limits 3 years ago.


Really? You're for term limits? You're usually so sane.
 
2013-01-18 11:16:14 AM

Aarontology: All that would really do is give more power to lobbyists since they wouldn't be subject to term limits and could stick around for congressman after congressman.


Public perceives a problem: members of Congress are too beholden to lobbyists, and not accountable to the people.

Public solution: end Congressional accountability to the people.

Something ain't right here.
 
2013-01-18 11:17:57 AM

DamnYankees: lennavan: I told Dick Durbin I wanted term limits 3 years ago.

Really? You're for term limits? You're usually so sane.


I recognize there are downsides but at this point I think the pros outweigh the cons.
 
2013-01-18 11:19:12 AM
I have no problem with re-electing a congressman who's good at their job for life. But I think the seniority system needs to go, and something should be done to make primary challenges much easier - if someone serves for life, it should be because they're good, not because they have seniority and are in a safe seat so no one will ever challenge them.
 
2013-01-18 11:19:57 AM

birdboy2000: I have no problem with re-electing a congressman who's good at their job for life. But I think the seniority system needs to go, and something should be done to make primary challenges much easier - if someone serves for life, it should be because they're good, not because they have seniority and are in a safe seat so no one will ever challenge them.


In a lot of ways this really boils down to how we finance campaigns more than term limit issues.
 
2013-01-18 11:23:03 AM

lennavan: I told Dick Durbin I wanted term limits 3 years ago. Here was the response:

Thank you for contacting me about mandatory term limits for Members of the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. I appreciate knowing your views on this issue.

Every two years, Representatives, and every six years, Senators stand for reelection, a requirement that was established by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution. Voters should have the right to choose whomever they wish to represent them in Washington. For some members of Congress, two years in office is too long. For others, 20 years is not long enough. We should trust the voters to decide, not federal or state legislators.

Again, thank you for being in touch. Please feel free to continue to contact me on any matter of concern.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator


That's a very candid, reasonable response. I mean, you may or may not agree with him. But you can't say he's trying to bullsh*t you.

If your goal is to increase Congressional accountability to the people, term limits make no sense. Members of Congress will become more beholden to lobbyists, not less, because they have to plan for their lives after Congress. They'll have every reason to vote the way corporation X wants if they know their congressional careers will end, and corporation X will offer them a nice fat consulting position once their term ends.

And anyway, term limits are a Big Government, one size fits all solution. Maybe two terms is right for your members of Congress, but for someone else's member, four terms might be better. Voters should be able to decide for themselves. Government shouldn't be in the business of dictating who people vote for anyway.
 
2013-01-18 11:23:19 AM

qorkfiend: When did everyone get the idea into their heads that term limits are the proper solution to anything?


It`s a solution to the problem of constant campaigning, and making sure that elected representatives spend more time representing their constituents instead of trying to ensure their reelection.

Year 0: Campaign. Make powerful friends to help you win the election.
Year 1: Get used to the new role. Begin to pay back the friends you made. Make connections in the political body you were elected to. (Congress, Senate, City Council, whatever.) Do small, showy and easy things to show your constituents that you are working for them, too.
Year 2: Actually work for your constituents. Pay back the friends you made during campaigning but couldn`t get to in Year 1. Potentially do things which are controversial using the "You need to put the shoulder back in place before it can heal properly, so it's going to hurt a heck of a lot now but it will be better in the long run." style argument.
Year 3: Begin to set the ground work for the next election by going back to the powerful friends to solicit their assistance. Actually work for your constituents on things which will help you get reelected first and foremost.
Year 4: Campaign. Work with powerful friends to set the groundwork for a campaign. Do things for your constituents which are designed to get you reelected primarily, and if you can do things for them which won`t hurt your chances, do those too. Do nothing that will harm your chances to be reelected, no matter how necessary they are for your constituents; your reelection is the most important thing this year.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat until defeated or retired.

Right now, it is looking more and more like you have two years of campaigning, one year of basking in the post-election glow and one year of actually working for the constituents. Term limits remove the need for reelection, and in theory should make politicians work more for their constituents. Whether it would or not is... well, in need of experimentation. It might work. It might not work.
 
2013-01-18 11:23:22 AM
Term limits are counter-productive for two reasons:

1> We lose any good congresspersons as soon they start getting competent at their jobs, continually replacing them with freshmen totally dependent on lobbyists and party leaders to tell them what to do,

2> If a politician is thinking about retirement or putting kids though college, they have even less reason to care about a short stint in public office and instead focus on the K-Street career they can get afterwards.

Publicly financed elections is the only real solution to political corruption.
 
2013-01-18 11:23:51 AM

Frozboz: somedude210: what if you end up with a Lugar situation? Sure Lugar was a bit of a conservative dick, but compared to the guy that won his party's nomination, god help us

So how did that turn out for Indiana (and the US as a whole)?


but imagine if you had the opposite and you had a liberal senator replaced by a far more conservative member of the party and they lost to the other party?
 
2013-01-18 11:25:33 AM

Techhell: It`s a solution to the problem of constant campaigning, and making sure that elected representatives spend more time representing their constituents instead of trying to ensure their reelection.


It may be a partial solution to that, but its a bad one. If that's the problem you want to solve, a much, much, much better solution is reforming campaign finance laws.
 
2013-01-18 11:26:43 AM

Hickory-smoked: Term limits are counter-productive for two reasons:

1> We lose any good congresspersons as soon they start getting competent at their jobs, continually replacing them with freshmen totally dependent on lobbyists and party leaders to tell them what to do,

2> If a politician is thinking about retirement or putting kids though college, they have even less reason to care about a short stint in public office and instead focus on the K-Street career they can get afterwards.

Publicly financed elections is the only real solution to political corruption.


We already have term limits anyway. They're called "elections."
 
2013-01-18 11:28:50 AM

Techhell: It`s a solution to the problem of constant campaigning, and making sure that elected representatives spend more time representing their constituents instead of trying to ensure their reelection.


This is the exact opposite of reality. There's no incentive to represent your constituents if you're not accountable to them through the election process. By contrast, there's every reason to represent corporation X if you know your time in Congress is coming to a close, and you stand to get a fat consulting position with them when your term ends.
 
2013-01-18 11:30:24 AM

mahuika: Honestly, I think this is a terrible idea. Most of the across-the-aisle work is done by people who have been there a long time. We don't have the time to break every new congressman out of his or her Mr.-Smith-Goes-To-Washington phase every election cycle.


Institutional memory is vital, but that's why you make the term limit long enough that turnover tends to be only about 1/3 of the legislative body or less. That way you retain enough people to keep productive while new legislators get their feet wet.

I'd propose 12-year term limits for the House, 18-year term limits for the Senate. Also, so it pasts, make it apply only to officials elected prospectively. Not that I don't think current politicians should have limits too, but they'll just never pass it if it works to their own detriment.
 
2013-01-18 11:31:59 AM

Supes: but that's why you make the term limit long enough that turnover tends to be only about 1/3 of the legislative body or less. That way you retain enough people to keep productive while new legislators get their feet wet.


I think you are massively underselling what that "1/3" actually represents. In the 2010 election, the MASSIVE wave by the GOP, the House only turned over 20%. The idea that we would routinely be turning over 1/3 of Congress is an absolutely tectonic shock.
 
2013-01-18 11:32:02 AM

mahuika: Honestly, I think this is a terrible idea. Most of the across-the-aisle work is done by people who have been there a long time. We don't have the time to break every new congressman out of his or her Mr.-Smith-Goes-To-Washington phase every election cycle.


I agree that high turnover is bad, but so is low turnover. I think that a 12 year limit would be okay, enough time to get acquainted and into how things work, and get some things accomplished.

Can states start their own referendums to put this on the ballot themselves without worrying about the idiots in congress doing it?
 
2013-01-18 11:35:07 AM

Supes: I'd propose 12-year term limits for the House, 18-year term limits for the Senate. Also, so it pasts, make it apply only to officials elected prospectively. Not that I don't think current politicians should have limits too, but they'll just never pass it if it works to their own detriment.


It will never pass anyway. I remember 1994 very clearly. The din for term limits reached its crescendo shortly before the election. Once the Republicans took Congress, it died out immediately. I mean, you heard basically nothing about them.

Until 2007, that is, when the Democrats took Congress. Then the astroturfing started up again. The din reached another crescendo in late 2010. And this is pretty much the first I've heard about them since.
 
2013-01-18 11:35:47 AM

mittromneysdog: Until 2007, that is, when the Democrats took Congress. Then the astroturfing started up again. The din reached another crescendo in late 2010. And this is pretty much the first I've heard about them since.


I don't remember this being a campaign issue in either of those years. Maybe my memory sucks.
 
2013-01-18 11:36:01 AM
I don't think there should be term limits at all. But I DO believe they shouldn't be able to serve consecutive terms. Fund raising and campaigning should be done on their own time, not the American People's.
 
2013-01-18 11:36:05 AM

Sybarite: Or you know, if you don't like the job they're doing you could just not vote for them.


Problem is people tend to love their own congressmen but hate everyone else's.

/I hate all politicians equally.
/public service shouldn't be a career.
 
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