Friday, April 16, 2004

Term limits

For the record I am for term limits, especially at the state level. 12 years.

Subj: COMMON SENSE - Oooh, Complexity
Date: 4/14/2004 8:21:50 PM Eastern Standard Time


"Oooh, Complexity"

I just got back from Wyoming, where politicians are
working overtime to overturn term limits. I came away
with a sense of déjà vu. Though the faces change, the
arguments don't.

Take the most common objection: Why limit the rights
of voters to vote for whomever they want? The Wyoming
rep who filed the lawsuit against term limits argued
that. He said it is "unconstitutional" to take away
voters' rights "to decide who serves them and how

And yet it was the voters themselves who
overwhelmingly voted to put in term limits, by 77
percent! The voters understand the difference between
choosing one candidate over another and applying a
general rule about how long candidates -- good or bad
-- should serve. It's not personal for them. It's a
recognition of the complexity of choice.

But "complexity" is a fighting word for Wyoming's
Secretary of State Joe Meyer, who asserts the world
is more complex than in decades past. Only with
extended terms, he thinks, can legislators gain the
knowledge they need. "You're getting rid of someone
with twelve years of experience and replacing them
with someone who can't find the bathroom."

The world has always been complex. Even serving fifty
consecutive life terms in office won't give you the
knowledge to do some things. That's why we limit
governments as well as terms.

And if the legislative process seems complex, that's
because old timers in power want it that way. Limit
the terms, and watch politics get a bit simpler.

As for bathrooms, draw a map.

This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.

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