Once Again, City Voters Approve Term Limits
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Posted by admin | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Wednesday 3 November 2010 12:23 PM

From The New York Times

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New Yorkers voted overwhelmingly to limit politicians to two consecutive terms on Tuesday, undoing a highly contentious change to the law pushed through by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
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two years ago.

It was the third time since 1993 that city voters endorsed the notion of two four-year terms and no more for the mayor and other elected city officials.

With 87 percent of precincts reporting, 74 percent of city voters supported a two-term limit, while 26 percent opposed it.

The vote was a repudiation of the tactics used in 2008 by Mr. Bloomberg and his allies in the City Council

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, who supported a bill
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to allow three terms despite criticism that they had usurped the democratic process.

But much of the frustration of two years ago has cooled, and the vote on Tuesday, overshadowed by a contest for governor and make-or-break Congressional races, seemed more an act of quiet rebellion than a scathing rebuke.

Still, voters said they were pleased to have the opportunity to finally weigh in on the matter, though two years later.

“The way it was slammed through was rather distasteful and disingenuous,” said Gianni Sellers, 54, a banker who lives on the Upper West Side. “The voters have spoken on this before. I hope we don’t have to do it again.”

New Yorkers voted in support of a two-term limit in 1993 and in 1996, riding a wave of anti-incumbent sentiment nationwide epitomized by the slogan “throw the bums out.”

The measure approved on Tuesday was devised to prevent a repeat of the backroom politicking in 2008. Council members will be prohibited from making changes to term-limits laws that affect their own political careers.

But incumbents will be offered some consolation

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: if they were elected before Tuesday, they will still be allowed to run for a third term. The two-term limit will only apply to those elected this year and beyond.

That will delay putting the law fully into effect until 2021, when the newest class of city politicians, those elected in 2009, has the opportunity to finish a third four-year term.

Opponents of the two-term limit said it would make government less effective by disposing with leaders as soon as they had gained the experience to govern efficiently.

“With two terms, they have to split their time between minding the store and running for their next office,” said Ruth E. Acker, president of the Women’s City Club of New York, a civic organization. “They’re inclined to favor things that win them Brownie points in the short term.”

Supporters of term limits seized on the anti-establishment fervor that swept through much of the country. Ronald S. Lauder

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, the billionaire cosmetics heir, financed advertisements comparing politicians to dirty diapers
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in need of a change.

Even Mr. Bloomberg, who believed so zealously in a third term that he was willing to sacrifice some popularity, said he would vote in favor of a two-term limit.

“I don’t think it’s hypocritical at all,” he said Tuesday. “The public clearly wants to go back to two terms.”

Some feared the term-limits question would be ignored

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because it was placed on the back of the ballot and formatted in small print. Poll workers made special efforts to point out the referendum questions, but some voters still found the format confusing.

Gloria Hines, 54, a retired postal worker, smiled as she walked out of a poll site in Harlem with her husband, Denny. Then she realized neither of them had filled out the referendum questions.

“I forgot all about it,” Ms. Hines said, her good mood having faded. “Why would they put it on the back?”

In addition to the term-limits question, voters supported, by a vote of 83 percent to 17 percent, a second referendum item that called for several changes to city law, with 87 percent of precincts reporting.

The changes include reducing the number of signatures required to get on the ballot, requiring disclosure of campaign contributions by independent groups and raising the maximum fine for violating conflicts of interest law.

J. David Goodman contributed reporting.

Other term limits news across the country:


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‘Limited’ uprising
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Posted by admin | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Tuesday 2 November 2010 3:43 PM

From The New York Post

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Written by Michael Goodwin

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Across the land, the cry is heard: Throw the bums out! The people are prepared to do exactly that on Tuesday, but there’s a catch. There’s little to stop today’s insurgent from becoming tomorrow’s bum.

Or, as a pessimist once said, many reformers take office to do good and stay to do well.

Take heart, optimists, for there is an antidote to the corrupting disease of permanent poweritis. Term limits. They are a blunt instrument and they work.

They do it by forcing the turnover that the power of incumbency too often thwarts. By using gerrymandering, earmarks, favors for contributors and election laws to thwart challengers, too many incumbents get comfortable in office and make keeping it their mission.

Public service then become private service, which helps to explain how so many lifetime pols leave office filthy rich — emphasis on filthy.

Power corrupts, so prevention is the best medicine.

Presidents are limited to two terms by the Constituion’s 22nd Amendment, passed in 1951, to stop another FDR, who shattered the tradition of two terms by winning four.

Legal limits are popular in the states — about 35 have restrictions on governors and 15 have them on lawmakers. But members of Congress are free to serve as long as voters let them. That’s because the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot set limits for federal officers, meaning Congress would have to do it itself.

That’s not going to happen without overwhelming public demand and persistence. The 1994 Republican takeover of Congress included a pledge on term limits, but various bills all failed to get the required two-thirds majority.

But now, with the spirit of revolution sweeping America, the time and mood are right for congressional limits. The idea was popular among many of the founders, and it is returning as part of the public revolt against the growth and cost of government.

A recent Fox News poll found that 78 percent of Americans want term limits for Congress. Support was dramatic across the spectrum, with 84 percent of Republicans, and 74 percent of both Democrats and independents in favor.

New York City voters are in a position to help lead the movement. A ballot question on Tuesday gives voters the chance to limit elected city officials to two consecutive four-year terms.

That was the rule until last year, when Mayor Bloomberg convinced a pliant and greedy City Council to add a third term to the limits. Public anger over the end run around the referendums that established the limits did not stop Bloomberg’s re-election, and most council members also survived the backlash.

But the issue is back again, and Bloomberg promises he will vote for it. The only rub is that the change would allow anyone already in office to run for a third term.

That’s a small price to pay for this important measure, which is on the back of the ballot. It’s worth the effort to find it and vote “yes.”

Who knows? This could be the first shot heard round the nation and start a new push to prevent today’s reformers from becoming tomorrow’s bums.

Dems win the ‘race’ for irony

To appreciate the “holy s#!t” reaction to Bill Clinton’s bid to get a black candidate to quit the Florida Senate campaign, it helps to understand his cold race-and-ethnic calculation. Indeed, Clinton’s effort illustrates the stereotyping behind all group-identity politics, at which the Democratic Party is the master.

With the first black president now in the White House, Clinton has lost that honorary title and been demoted to doing the dirty work of dividing the racial pie. That meant telling black Rep. Kendrick Meek that he should get out of the Senate race so Dems could unite behind former Republican, and now independent, candidate Gov. Charlie Crist.

The aim of the 11th-hour maneuver wasn’t to boost Crist, who is white; it was to stop Marco Rubio, the GOP candidate who was cruising to victory in the three-way race.

Rubio is not just any Republican. He is Cuban-American, a charismatic rising star and, as a US senator, could be a national magnet for Latinos to vote Republican. That was the red flag that sent the White House and Clinton into action.

Their fear is that Rubio could break the Dem hold on Latinos, and might undo their pandering to illegal-immigration groups. After all, Rubio wants to secure the border and reduce government spending.

Can’t have that, so Meek was set up as the sacrificial lamb. Dems thought they could get away with strong-arming him because of Clinton’s standing among blacks, and because Barack Obama is in the White House. Nobody could accuse them of being anti-black.

True. But they are something else that is also reprehensible. They are slavish group-thinkers.

That’s the Dem way. You’re not you. You’re a member of a racial, ethnic or gender group and you are expected to behave in prescribed “authentic” ways, including buying into group-based appeals.

Fortunately, Meek said no deal. Good for him, and good for America. In some quarters, it’s still the land of individual opportunity.

Bold prince among peers

From Arabia, with wisdom. A billionaire Saudi prince who has supported the imam behind the Ground Zero mosque is joining opponents in calling for the mosque to move.

“People behind the mosque have to respect, have to appreciate and have to defer to the people of New York,” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal told a Dubai magazine. “The wound is still there. We can’t just say, ‘Go to hell.’ ”

But “Go to hell” is pretty much what imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is saying, even after the prince’s sound advice.

Still, the door to compromise is now open. Alwaleed, who owns large chunks of Citibank and the Post’s parent company, News Corp., is a heavyweight in world Islamic affairs. His words could embolden other Muslims to break ranks with Rauf over the provocative location.

Pray it is so.

It’s ‘go time’ Charlie

With a GOP takeover of the House, Harlem voters have another reason to dump Charlie Rangel. The don of the New York congressional delegation will have far less clout under Republican control.

Voters shouldn’t need an excuse. Rangel’s name is synonymous with scandal, and his sense of entitlement in avoiding tax and ethical rules is a big strike against all incumbent Democrats.

Fortunately, a solid alternative is on the ballot. His name is Michel Faulkner, a Harlem pastor active in education, youth programs and police-community relations for nearly 20 years.

Faulkner is that rare bird — a black New York Republican. His time has come, if only voters will give him a chance.

Spitzing distance

A state official who knows Eliot Spitzer too well offers a scathing review of his CNN show. “Don’t he and Kathleen Parker sit uncomfortably close? I keep waiting for them to wheel him out strapped to a gurney wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask like in ‘Silence of the Lambs.’

Letter: No votes for incumbents
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Posted by admin | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Friday 29 October 2010 1:00 PM

From The Rockford Register Star

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It’s time for term limits in government. It’s time to get rid of the career politicians. It’s time to let someone else play the game.

If the highest elected office in our nation has term limits, then so should every other elected position in the nation. From village boards, to county boards, to state reps, to school boards, to clerks and judges and treasurers and mayors and everyone in between.

It’s time to take back our country from the incumbents and insist on term limits. It doesn’t matter what party you stand for.

We can’t let these politicians sit in office for 10, 15, 20 years and beyond.

And while we’re at it, it’s time to insist on lowering the pay scale for our politicians. The median U.S. household income is about $50,000. No politician should be making even 1.5 times that.

They all claim they’re going to balance the budgets, cut spending and help the economy. The first way is to reduce the astronomical paychecks they’re doling out for themselves. It can be accomplished.

I know I won’t be voting for incumbents this November.

Expiration date for lawmakers
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Posted by admin | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Wednesday 27 October 2010 11:06 AM

From The Washington Times

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Change is coming to Washington, and there’s hope on the horizon that America will ensnare the big-government colossus that’s consuming our wealth and curtailing our liberty. But even after next week’s elections, the temptation of pay-to-play politics, in which career officeholders sell access to the public till, will remain a threat. It’s time to address the crisis of out-of-control government by imposing term limits on members of Congress who overstay their welcome on Capitol Hill.

Last year, Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, introduced a constitutional amendment to limit senators to two consecutive six-year terms and members of the House of Representatives to three consecutive two-year terms. Tea Party activism has placed the nation on the cusp of political transformation, but victory will be short-lived unless it’s accompanied by a legal mechanism for ensuring Congress is composed of citizen legislators who don’t see public service as a lifetime meal ticket.

Each election offers the chance to limit the term of individual representatives, but the power of incumbency and related federal overspending make it imperative to curb tenure for the lawmaking class responsible for the nation’s fiscal dire straits. The Democrat-controlled Congress has collaborated with President Obama in piling up a federal public debt of more than $2.5 trillion during Mr. Obama’s first 19 months in office. According to Terence Jeffrey of CNSnews.com, that’s more than the public federal debt accumulated by all presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan. This government spending is rife with waste as billions flow to favored political constituencies such as unions and green technology firms.

Thomas Jefferson foresaw the temptation of treating elective office as a sinecure and advocated term limits “to prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing too long in office the members of the Continental Congress. . . .” His warning went unheeded, and it wasn’t until the 22nd Amendment was ratified in 1951 that presidential service was restricted to two terms. Time in the legislative branch should be similarly limited.

An amendment restricting congressional officeholders would need to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate and House and three-quarters of state legislatures. Such widespread endorsement is rare in an ideologically diverse country, but Americans agree on this issue. A September Fox News poll shows that 78 percent of voters support term limits, including 84 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats and independents. The trend has mushroomed in recent years; currently, 37 states impose term limits on their governors and 15 restrict the service of their legislators.

Someday, the venality of human nature may disappear, and pigs may fly. Until then, it’s a good idea to have laws checking the power of erstwhile public servants who serve themselves above all else.

Raese, Manchin would limit their Senate service
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Posted by admin | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Monday 18 October 2010 11:57 AM

From The Charleston Gazette

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Both the Republican and Democratic candidates for Senate say they would limit the time they serve if they win the seat of the late Robert C. Byrd.

Republican John Raese says he wants to fill the two years left on Byrd’s unexpired term and then serve one more six-year term before handing the seat over.

“There is a human nature to try and re-elect yourself, and that’s when I think our politicians get in a lot of trouble,” the Morgantown businessman said. “If we had term limits, it would take that situation and remove it.”

Raese said the ideal term should be two six-year terms for senators and three two-year terms for representatives. But he also believes it would be difficult to get such legislation passed.

Manchin said he would like to serve Byrd’s unexpired term, and then two more full terms before retiring from politics.

“I’m telling you that I will be two full terms maximum, if I’m elected and able, two full terms,” Manchin said. “I guarantee you, 12 years will be more than enough time.”

John Raese has also signed the U. S Term Limits Pledge, supporting a Term Limits Amendment next year. You can view his Pledge

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, as well as the signed pledges of other candidates at, USTermLimitsAmendment.org
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. Also view USTL’s Press Releases for all the candidates who have signed the pledge, at TermLimits.org
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Add term limits at all elective levels
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Posted by admin | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Thursday 14 October 2010 12:55 PM

From NewJersey.com

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Want to save millions, perhaps billions, of dollars? This could be achieved realistically by instituting term limits at all levels of government.

By eliminating “career politicians,” you eliminate the need for exorbitant political pensions, lifetime health care benefits and associated costs. When you factor in the possible savings at the local, county, and state levels, the savings could be significant enough to lower property taxes.

Are you listening, Gov. Chris Christie?

If the upcoming mid-term general elections do nothing else, they will solidify the urgent need for term limits for all political offices. This is evidenced by more efforts than ever before to embarrass, defame or degrade one’s opponent, rather than focus on the extremely important issues facing all of us today.

One can only assume this type of campaigning is being done because: (a) no one has a credible record to run on, or (b) no one has viable solutions on the issues.

Some politicians currently in office consistently vote in lock-step with their party, no matter what the voters want. When the next election comes around, they bad-mouth some of the very things they supported. They must truly believe they are all-knowing and can easily manipulate the electorate with smoke-and-mirrors rhetoric.

People today are beginning to see through the smoke and realizing a lot of politicians are really representing themselves instead of the people.

Often, politicians will use the excuse, “I did it for the good of the party.” They forget that they were elected by the people to serve the people, and not the party.

Some candidates refuse to step aside even if they are defeated in a primary election. They switch parties, or run as independents or write-in candidates. So much for the “good of the party.”

Sorry to say, in several instances, it’s more about ego and power than the will of the people. Not all politicians fall into this category, but the numbers are ever increasing.

What is good enough for our term-limited president, vice president and many state governors should be good for all political offices.

Time for Federal Term Limits
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Posted by admin | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Monday 20 September 2010 3:25 PM

From TheTownTalk.com

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The title of this opinion piece relates to both a chronological mark in our history and as an essential subject for us all to consider. On Feb. 27, 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enacted. This amendment limited a person’s elected terms of presidency to two, four-year terms for a total of eight years. This action restored the tradition established by George Washington and endorsed for nearly 150 years by his successors until Franklin Roosevelt was elected to four, four-year terms for a total of 16 years. He did not make it through his fourth term, but it was decided by Congress (and the people) that 16 and even 12 years was too much for one person to serve as president.

The time is now to limit the number of terms for U.S. senators and representatives not to exceed 12 years (six terms for representatives and two terms for senators) for the same reasons the presidential terms were limited.

Our country enjoys a huge pool of able and patriotic talent for these 535 offices, and we deserve to have access to as many of these people as possible. To further this access, a person serving in one chamber (representative or senate) could not serve in the other chamber. Running for president or vice president would be acceptable and appointments as cabinet members could also be approved. Further enhancements are required as well.

The political campaigning for office would be limited to just eight weeks before election day. The use of private funding or contributions from any source to candidates would be against the law. This would also apply to the use of the candidate’s personal wealth. Campaign funding would be provided equally among all candidates from a fund generated by a small percentage increase to prevailing income tax rates. Private individuals, companies and lobbyists would be encouraged to contribute to this fund as their patriotic duty, but the contents would be equally distributed to all the candidates. Somehow in our history we have come to admire wealth and money raising capability of political candidates as the best qualifications to be elected.

Just recently, and as an example, candidates in California and Arizona spent more than $20 million each to win a primary election. This is buying votes; this is nearly dishonest, almost cynical and certainly not intended by our founders. It hurts us all. We can only speculate how many worthy candidates can’t even try to serve, due the lack of money and the stomach to buy votes.

Another necessary reform would eliminate the seniority privileges used in our Congressional chambers. People holding on to these chairmanships unfairly end up with more influence than we the people award them via our vote. Districts gaining unfair advantages to the expense of others are often gleeful, but it’s contrary to how our government was intended to be by the founders and necessary to our well being as a nation. Representatives are distributed to states based upon their population. Each and every state has two senators with equal representation rights intended. The seniority/chairmanship customs give more authority than intended by our founders to such individuals with seniority.

Under the foregoing proposals consider these advantages:

1. Candidates would have more time in office to do the people’s business by not having to campaign so long and to make so many compromises in exchange for money to buy votes.

2. More worthy people would serve.

3. We could trust and admire our Representatives and Senators more than we do now.

4. The taint of money grubbing would be removed from their elective process.

5. The intended equitable representation process by our country’s founders would be attained.

It would be tough to get the required Constitutional amendment(s) to do the foregoing, especially when it’s like asking the foxes guarding the henhouse to voluntarily limit their appetite for all those free chicken dinners, but we really do need these reforms.

Bill Boles lives in Woodworth.

Should members of Congress have term limits?
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Posted by admin | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Monday 20 September 2010 8:56 AM

From NBC News

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With over 70 percent of voters saying that they disapprove of the job Congress is doing, it’s not surprising that many of them are itching to “throw out the bums,” as GOP Sen. Jim DeMint put it on NBC’s TODAY Show this morning.

But many Americans (including many First Read commenters during this week’s “Exit Interviews” series on the United States Senate) believe that it shouldn’t take an electoral defeat to show members of Congress the door.

They advocate for term limits that would cap the number of years lawmakers can serve on Capitol Hill.

The average length of service for senators this Congress is 12.8 years, just over two terms. It’s a full term longer for the senators who are leaving the chamber at the end of this year. The average length of service of the elected senators who are retiring or who were voted out this year (not including Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who will announce whether or not she will mount a write-in candidacy tomorrow) is 18.8 years.

Republican Sen. Sam Brownback is retiring this year because he limited himself to serving only two full terms. He believes that all senators should follow his example.

“You can find 100 competent people to do these jobs year in, year out,” said the Kansas lawmaker in his exit interview with NBC News. “And you ought to have a change of blood and a change of ideas.”

Brownback believes that, as senators serve longer, power is consolidated in fewer hands and over time creates a more partisan Congress.

Last year, Brownback joined Republicans Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas in proposing an amendment that would cap Senate service at two terms. (Hutchison is currently serving her third term, having failed to win the Republican nomination for governor in her home state in March.)

Term limits are gaining steam as a campaign issue as well. Several successful Tea Party candidates – including Colorado’s Ken Buck, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, and Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell – supported the idea during their primary campaigns.

It’s a popular idea. A recent FOX News poll found that almost eight in 10 registered voters said they would like to see a cap put on how long members of Congress can serve.

Brownback, who’s now running for Kansas governor, also wants term limits for Supreme Court justices. Members of the high court have served lifetime appointments since the nation’s founding.

Either suggestion presents a steep climb for would-be reformers. Implementing term limits for either senators or justices would mean a constitutional amendment – which would require either a national constitutional convention or the approval of two-thirds of both houses of Congress.

Term Limits: Treating the D.C. Disease
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Posted by admin | Columns
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, Term Limits
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| Friday 10 September 2010 10:36 AM

As Washington D.C. slips further below the waves of partisan rancor and unprecedented red ink, voters of both parties are overwhelmingly endorsing term limits as a way to right the sinking ship.

In fact as increasing numbers of Americans have begun to recognize the importance of refocusing our nation on its founding principles, none of those principles is garnering more support than term limits.

According to the results of a new FOX News poll, 78 percent of all voters favor term limits – including 84 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats and Independents. By contrast, only 16 percent of voters oppose term limits. In today’s era of political hyper-partisanship and media-fueled ideological divisiveness, those numbers are positively astounding.

Or are they?

The truth is that support for term limits has always been strong. In 2002 for example voters in states that passed legislative term limits during the previous decade were still supporting them by huge majorities – ranging anywhere from 60 to 78 percent.

Given such strong and consistent public support, it’s not surprising that the only successful attempts to undo legislative term limits in the modern era have come from legislative or judicial actions which overturned the results of popular elections. In fact just last year New York City leaders arbitrarily tossed out the results of two citywide elections to give themselves additional terms in office.

So much for the argument that term limits are “anti-Democratic.”

A throwback to Athenian, Spartan and Roman government, the concept of term limits – or “mandatory rotation in office” – is actually a staple of democracy. Championed by Thomas Jefferson and numerous Founding Fathers, term limits were designed to “prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by (politicians) continuing too long in office.”

“Nothing is so essential to the preservation of a Republican government,” George Mason – the father of the U.S. Bill of Rights – wrote in endorsing term limits.

Famed female historian Mercy Otis Warren – who was dubbed “the conscience of the American Revolution” – vigorously protested the exclusion of term limits from the U.S. Constitution, while accurately predicting the corrosive influence that career politicians would wield over the populace in their absence.

“There is no provision for (rotation in office), nor anything to prevent the perpetuity of office in the same hands for life; which by a little well timed bribery, will probably be done,” she wrote in 1788.

Frankly, our government has moved well past “a little well timed bribery.” Today, decisions in Washington are dictated almost exclusively by a corrupt pay-to-play culture in which powerful special interests (often taxpayer-funded interests) leverage their access to career politicians in order to expand their slice of the public largesse.

It’s a favor factory, pure and simple – and rather than governing on principle both Republicans and Democrats end up being governed by the spoils that come from dispensing those favors.

Look at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – a pair of government-sponsored (now government-owned) mortgage giants that were able to use their relationships with career politicians to evade reform efforts during the early part of this decade. Having escaped accountability, Fannie and Freddie’s reckless lending helped sow the seeds for America’s recent financial collapse.

And look at government’s “solution” to this ongoing financial collapse – draconian new regulations over the free market that give these same career politicians even greater power over the flow of capital in America.

Speaking of government “solutions,” look at organized labor – which has received billions of dollars via government bailouts and Barack Obama’s new socialized medicine bill. Are we supposed to believe that this money is not payback for the $100 million that unions gave to Obama and Democratic candidates during the 2008 election?

Whose interests are being served by these policies? Clearly not those of the American taxpayers, whose personal and financial freedom shrinks with each new government power grab financed by borrowed billions.

And while changing political parties may treat the immediate symptoms of Washington’s disease, absent long-overdue reforms like term limits we will never actually treat the disease itself.

Overwhelming majorities of Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, partisans and independents recognize this reality. It is past time for our politicians to put down their personal interests and follow suit.

Fox News Poll: 78 Percent Favor Term Limits On Congress
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Posted by admin | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Tuesday 7 September 2010 4:52 PM

from Fox News

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Finally, an issue both Democrats and Republicans agree on: term limits. Nearly 8 in 10 American voters like the idea of imposing fixed time limits in office for all members of Congress — including their own senators and representatives.

A Fox News poll released Friday found that 78 percent of voters favor establishing term limits for Congress. That’s nearly five times as many as oppose limiting the number of terms members can serve (16 percent).

Large majorities of Republicans (84 percent), Democrats (74 percent) and independents (74 percent) favor the idea.

The poll also shows 70 percent of voters disapprove of the job Congress is currently doing. That includes most Republicans (84 percent) as well as more than half of Democrats (54 percent), despite the fact that their party controls both houses of Congress. About one voter in five gives Congress a thumbs up (22 percent approve).

Moreover, 68 percent of voters are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today. That’s up a bit from 65 percent dissatisfied in June, and up significantly from 53 percent in April 2009. Still, it’s an improvement from the 79 percent who said they were unhappy with the way things were going the week before President Obama took office (January 13-14, 2009).

The number of displeased voters is more than double the 32 percent who say they are satisfied with how things are going today. And while that’s down from a high of 46 percent satisfied in April 2009 (after Obama had been in office about 100 days), it’s up from 20 percent satisfied in January 2009.

The Fox News Poll involved telephone interviews with 900 randomly chosen registered voters and was conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corp. from September 1 – September 2. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for the total sample.

Click here for full poll results (PDF).

As has been the case all year, the new poll found Republicans are more interested than Democrats in the upcoming elections. Forty percent of Republicans say they are “extremely” interested — double the number of Democrats who feel the same way (19 percent).

An even larger number of voters — 51 percent — who identify with the Tea Party Movement are “extremely” interested.

That trend clearly favors the Republicans. With Election Day just two months away, by a 46-37 percent margin, more voters say they would back the Republican candidate in their district than the Democratic candidate if the election were held today. In mid-August, Republicans had a 7 percentage-point advantage on this generic ballot question (44-37 percent).

At the same time, by an 11-point spread, more voters think President Obama has “truly made an effort” to work with Republicans in Washington (52-41 percent). Has that been reciprocated? Voters say no. By a 25-point margin, voters think Republicans have not made an effort to work with Obama (33 percent yes, 58 percent no).

Yet in many cases that may not be a criticism. A slim majority of Republican voters (52 percent) would rather see their party’s leaders stand their ground and fight hard to put in place the ideas they believe in rather than compromise (39 percent). Among Democrats, the results are just the opposite: a majority (60 percent) wants their leaders to compromise, while 33 percent want them to fight.

Favorable Ratings

Some 47 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, up from 40 percent in April. That’s a bit higher than the 42 percent favorable the Democratic Party receives, unchanged from earlier this year.

Likewise, 43 percent have a negative opinion of the Republican Party, and 49 percent have an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party.

The Tea Party Movement has a 39 percent favorable and 35 percent unfavorable rating. Another 26 percent say they are unable to rate it.

Voters have even stronger feelings about some members of Congress. By a more than two-to-one margin, for example, they have a negative opinion of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: 56 percent unfavorable and 24 percent favorable.

President Obama fares better. Slightly more voters have a favorable (50 percent) than an unfavorable view (46 percent) of him. While that’s little changed from earlier this summer (52-44 percent, June 29-30), that’s a significant 26-point drop from his high of 76 percent favorable in January 2009.

Still, Obama compares well to his predecessor: 46 percent of voters have a favorable opinion today of former President George W. Bush, and 50 percent unfavorable.

First Lady Michelle Obama is even more popular than her husband. She has a 60 percent favorable rating, and while that’s 10 points higher than the president’s, it’s down from a high of 73 percent favorable in April 2009. Her unfavorable rating is currently 26 percent, up from a low of 15 percent in January 2009.

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