May 3, 2009

Term Limits

My buddy TOTWTYTR has a post up in which he states:

I'm pretty sick of the constant campaigning. That applies to both parties. Enough with the constant running for office. Do something that will make me know whether I should vote for you or not, don't tell me how great you are. And no, the media, as usual, is not helping the situation. This constant electioneering is making me like the idea of term limits more and more.
I've been an advocate for term limits for years. If JB were the Benevolent Philosopher King and could change the politician term limits, I'd do it as such:

President: One single 6 year term, with no more than 20 days of it spent doing campaigning for his or her party allies. The President belongs in the Oval Office or at some "World Summit" meeting, not helping a party crony get elected to Wyoming's 5th District. I didn't vote for you so you could give fund-raising speeches. I voted for you so you could get to work.

Senate: Two terms, four years each, no more than 40 days total on the campaign trail to get re-elected. If you work hard enough, and get results, that's all the campaigning you'll need. Oh, and same rule above about helping your party buddies.

House: Same as the Senate.

The very idea that people spend their entire careers in some form of the political "ruling" class runs directly opposite to the original ideas of the Founding Fathers. They structured the Constitution in such a way as to entice your average Joe Citizen -- be he a farmer, businessman, doctor, or other "regular" guy -- to serve a term as a leader, then return back to his farm, business, or patients.

Sadly, we've not had people to meet that vision in generations. The kind of people that would best lead this country don't WANT to be elected. And why should they?

As the great philosopher Groucho Marx once said, "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member." I think most truly great leaders feel the same way about public office.


Bob said...

I think I'd also want age limits on the judiciary, especially the US Supreme Court. Mandatory retirement at age 70 would be a good thing.

Jo said...

Douglas Adams summed it up:
"The major problem--one of the major problems, for there are several--one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem."

At least you guys have some form of term limit on your Presidents - we had Thatcher for 11 years, and Blair for 10...

TOTWTYTR said...

Jo, you'd have been better off with Thatcher for 22 years.

That aside, I still like the old joke. Politicians should be limited to two terms. One in office, one in prison.