It came and then it faded away – mostly because a court decision absurdly ruled that the States cannot limit their federal office holders terms. But the American people do seem to want it – according to Gallup, 75% of Americans want term limits on members of Congress. This is broadly supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents and all age groups are in favor. Gallup didn’t break it down by ethnicity, but I doubt the measurements would come out much different if they had.
Term limits are, in my view, a vital aspect of ensuring that government is responsive to the will of the people. To arguments that we need experienced legislators I answer: like the ones we have now? To arguments that staff will take control if legislators are rapidly overturned I answer: why in heck do we even have large staffs for each legislator? They are supposed to be writing the laws (and these days we know they don’t even read them before they vote on them…seems like the staffs are already in control in our non-term limited legislature). Three terms for House members, two terms for Senators, that is my ideal. If I thought I could get it in there, I’d also forbid sitting office holders from seeking a different office until at least two years after they left office. We’re not supposed to have a professional, political class but, instead, have citizen legislators who serve for a time and then go back home to live under the laws they wrote (no elected official should have a pension, nor should they have their health care provided by government…they are there to serve, darn it!).
There is a mood to change things for real in America – and whomever taps in to it first and best will win everything.