It is often said that diapers and politicians should be changed often, and both for the same reason. It appears President Donald Trump agrees. He recently revealed on Twitter that he has met with bipartisan lawmakers to discuss the issue of imposing term limits on all members of Congress. Trump may be coming through on yet another campaign promise. But is it enough to drain the swamp?
I recently had a terrific meeting with a bipartisan group of freshman lawmakers who feel very strongly in favor of Congressional term limits. I gave them my full support and endorsement for their efforts. #DrainTheSwamp
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2018
During the 2016 election, Trump proposed introducing a constitutional amendment on the matter, citing “decades of failure in Washington.” He ostensibly believes that term limits will eliminate “special-interest dealing” and that it could restore the government back to the people.
Presidents are only permitted to serve two terms, so why doesn’t Congress face similar limits?
Can Term Limits Save America?
The Founding Fathers never considered public service to be a career. Noted anti-federalist Melancton Smith warned in 1788 that stagnant lawmakers would inevitably become “inattentive to the public good, callous, selfish, and the fountain of corruption.”
Unfortunately, Smith’s sage words have become a reality. The electorate only needs to look to so many of our leaders to notice what permanent stays in Washington can do. How many times have politicians abandoned their principles for the sake of re-election?
Today, dozens of federal politicians have been in office for at least two decades, while the average congressional tenure is about 10 years. This is ample time to meet with lobbyists, sell out your constituents on behalf of special interests groups, and cave to the Mephistophelean nature of big government in exchange for power.
Most conservatives and libertarians will concur that a policy of term limits is a step in the right direction. However, some might also concede that it may not be the only solution to killing off the dinosaurs of the GOP and Democratic Party.
Just because a representative from South Dakota is sentenced to six years in the Washington asylum, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he will adhere to the concepts of small government. In other words, it isn’t so much about the length of his stay, but what they think the role of government is.
Suffice it to say, it’s unlikely that the right would begrudge someone like former Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) serving a dozen terms. He never voted for a tax hike or an unbalanced budget. He always defended the Constitution, advocated for free market solutions, and adhered to a non-interventionist foreign policy.
On the other hand, former Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) served just three terms, but look at his record: He supported the wasteful 2009 federal stimulus package, voted for the Affordable Care Act, and compared the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan.
Again, it’s the philosophy that is paramount to the amount of time they work in D.C.
The Lives of Politicians
Forget hot dogs and baseball, a new national bipartisan pastime has arisen: continually venting about and demonizing our esteemed representatives. But who elected these officials in the first place? The populace did. Of course, it’s never our congressman or senator, it’s the other district or state that keeps electing the wrong people to the federal government.
The life of a politician from beginning to end is a compelling and tragic (or comedic) tale.
A young, naïve, and enthusiastic Republican or Democrat arrives on the doorsteps of Capitol Hill. He immediately authors bills, tables legislation, and combs through the books, aiming to resuscitate the ideas of the Founding Fathers. Despite wanting to revive the principles of “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” our bright-eyed friend from Biloxi, Mississippi eventually makes compromises and gets accustomed to the privileges afforded to him, abandoning his initial objectives. As time goes by, his only goal is to get re-elected and maintain his stranglehold on power. Before you know it, 40 years have come and gone, and he is still holding onto his seat, defeating the competition in primaries and in the general every election cycle.
You may think this is a cynical look at politics from a Frank Capra film. But this is the reality of the nation’s political scene: backroom deals, elitism, disrespect of the taxpayers, and entitlement. Politicians are the representation of that famous Canadian Member of Parliament David Dingwall’s statement: “I’m entitled to my entitlements.”
How do you eliminate this entitlement attitude? Start with term limits, but then shrink the state.
Do you support term limits? Let us know in the comments section!
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