Monday, August 20, 2007

The Time For TERM LIMITS is Now!

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The 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1951, partially states the following: No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice. This, of course, came on the heels of the wildly popular Franklin Delano Roosevelt being elected to the office of president a record four (4) times, beginning in 1932, and continuing to his final election victory in 1944. One is left to wonder if Roosevelt would have gone on to win a 5th or even 6th term had he not died shortly into his 4th and final term in 1945. Our very first president, George Washington, could have been elected to a third term but declined it, suggesting two (2) terms of four (4) years were enough for any president. In 1797, he quietly returned to Mount Vernon. His two-term example became an unwritten rule in the realm of presidential politics until FDR dramatically altered that notion in the first half of the 20th century.

I believe the time has finally come for a similar term limitation policy to be adopted by the US Senate and US House of Representatives. The nature of politics has evolved into this blatant power struggle between us against them, or them against us. Everything in congress is now an epic battle for establishing and maintaining power for your party and castigating the opposition party into a completely subservient role. This would be a fine strategy if you were participating in a monopoly tournament or a Super Bowl Championship. However, events such as those, hopefully, don't have any long range dramatic impact on peoples' lives. Clearly the purpose of our elected 535 member legislative branch of government should be to work for us instead of working to screw each other over. I would hope the most powerful legislative branch of government in the world is more concerned with working for the interests of the American people, than plotting and scheming against the opposition party while solidifying their own personal interests.

This need for term limits is not an indictment against one political party over another, but for both. It's true that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Let's first look at some irrefutable facts.
Over the course of the past 100 years, the Congress has developed into an institution that fosters long careers. "Careerists" (legislators serving ten or more terms) have become all too common on Capitol Hill. Since 1950, over 90 percent of House incumbents have run for reelection and well over 90 percent of them have won. Incumbency success rates rose to an all-time high in the 1984-1990 period, when Representatives won 97 percent of their bids for reelection. The same trend is true for the Senate. Since 1982, Senate incumbents have won more than 86 percent of their races, including a staggering 95 percent in the 1996 election. It seems the only exceptions to these rules occur in times of great strife in the country, such as when intellectually challenged brush clearers from rural Texas manage to ascend to the White House via some cruel, twist of fate. This leads to catastrophic events, such as the Iraq War, that infuriates the voting public to such a state, they actually rise up and take on a "throw the incumbents out mentality" as we witnessed last November.

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Right now, the news headlines literally report on a daily basis about soldiers dying or suffering life altering injuries in the Iraqi Civil War. Rarely a day goes by, as well, we don't hear about unimaginable corruption in the highest offices of our so called leaders; perjury, deception, manipulation, prostitution and in simplest terms, good old fashioned incompetence at the highest levels. The new Democratic majority in the Senate and the House refuse to cut off the funding to this dreadful mistake of a war because they fear their new found power may be compromised by a slick Republican counter offensive, making the Democrats appear less than patriotic by NOT supporting "our troops." The Republicans won't join the Democrats in virtually any endeavor now, for fear of the Democrats getting more credit, therefore eliminating any chance of the Republican Party regaining control in both houses of Congress in 2008. The bottom line is that the Congress has no real motivation to do the right thing if it would remotely impact their aforementioned Careerist ambitions and insatiable thirst for power.

It would seem the ONLY hope of stopping the petty, intramural battles Congress wages towards one another, and more importantly the American people, would be to apply similar conditions to them, as we do towards the President, as stipulated in the 22nd Amendment. Somebody please demonstrate to me why a US Senator needs to serve more than two (2) six (6) year terms thereby providing a 12 year "cap" in office.. Then immediately afterwards, show me why House members should serve more than six (6) two (2) year terms, thereby being held to the same 12 year cap of the Senate.. If these so called legislators devoted their time to actually serving the people that elected them, rather than devoting their time to remaining in office until senility replaced ego as their dominant trait, then perhaps the American people would be proud they voted their Senator or Representative into office in the first place. Senators and Representatives should remember their election campaign promises, therefore making the American people their primary concern. This would allow John and Mary American along with their kids to live better lives by reaping the benefits of their elected officials' service, rather than the elected official reaping the benefit of their own service at the expense of the American people.......

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