President Barack Obama on Monday took his final Oath of Office. The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prevents him (and everyone else) from serving more than two terms in the White House.
There is a growing feeling that term limits not only are a good idea for the president of the United States, but for U.S. senators and U.S. representatives, as well. Gallup reported last week the results of a poll that says three-fourths of Americans would vote for term limits for all members of Congress if the question were put before them. A little more than 20 percent of those surveyed said they would oppose term limits.
Given the frustrating amount of inertia we’ve seen in Washington during the last four years, it’s not hard to concur with those who favor term limits. That’s probably why the idea has bipartisan support among those who were surveyed.
Perhaps elected officials would be more interested in forging brave, lasting solutions for some of the problems that plague America if they weren’t so busy on just about every weekend running for re-election.
Term limits would guarantee an infusion of new ideas in Congress on a regular basis.
As the system works now, an incumbent senator or representative has many advantages over a challenger.
He or she almost can be guaranteed free media coverage whenever there’s a congressional town hall meeting or other event in the district. Members of Congress have free mailing privileges and can communicate with their constituents through newsletters or other literature. It’s important to have that kind of contact, but it also offers a chance to generate name recognition among voters.
Incumbency works. In 2012, voters returned 90 percent of candidates who sought re-election to the U.S. House and 91 percent of those seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate.
Term limits wouldn’t resolve every political stalemate, but limits would ensure new ideas on a regular basis.