Term Limits Debated

From The Colorado Freedom Report; originally from Grand Junction Free Press:

The debate over term limits continues

by Linn and Ari Armstrong

With the recent election, Mesa County will continue to term limit its sheriff. But should term limits for sheriffs be removed in the future? Should term limits for state legislature be repealed, or term limits for Congress be instituted?

Your authors usually agree on political principles, but the matter of term limits pertains more to optional political organization and strategy. We don’t dispute the wisdom of George Washington’s self-imposed limit, nor of term limits for president. We want to risk neither monarchy nor dictatorship. Yet for lower offices, the rationale for term limits is less obvious. Linn will present his case for term limits, while Ari will offer some notes of skepticism. …

Linn: When “politician” becomes a professional class, politicians start to see themselves — and the public tends to see them — as elites. This is an affront to republicanism. When career politicians run things, voters tend to relinquish more power to the politicians and think of government as something by and for the politicians. Moreover, the longer politicians stay in office, the more they are tempted by power, prestige, and special-interest pandering.

Ari: I take seriously the argument about corruptibility. However, there’s nothing inevitable about corruption. It’s possible for a long-time politician to keep his or her moral bearings, as it is possible for a new politician to immediately sell out to special interests and abuse the power of the office. One problem with term limits is that they can serve to replace the first sort of politician with the second. …

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One thought on “Term Limits Debated”

  1. Linn: You’re right on target. Ari: You don’t sound as though your heart is in what you’re saying. To me, you sound like a lawyer arguing for a client he doesn’t believe in.

    No human being is so intellectually or philosophically superior that he should be chosen to manage a society indefinitely. The essence of democracy is that as many citizens as possible should have the opportunity to serve. This cannot happen anymore because we now have a permanent political class. The permanent political class has benefactors who keep them in power with their immense resources so that the benefactors themselves can benefit from the a basically corrupt arrangement. The present best course of action for individuals to pursue in order to obtain some semblance of democratic rule is to pledge to the Six Years and Out movement.

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