Friday, July 2, 2010

Term Limit the Term Limit Talk

As reliably as talk of a balanced budget amendment arises every election cycle, so too does talk of term limits, especially for federal offices and most especially in the anti-establishment atmosphere of this cycle.

To those who insist on continuing to clamor for term limits, I’d like to ask a simple question: “If Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank were prohibited from running for reelection, do you really think that the next Representatives from those districts would be characteristically different than the corrupt, wicked people they would be replacing?” The defective crop of careerist politicians currently embedded in Congress like a tick is merely the symptom of the underlying corruption and venality of the electorate. Tell me again how many of those voters would vote any differently if presented with a new candidate whose slogan would be summed up as: “I’ll give you other people’s money.”

The term limit mantra is symptomatic of the ultimate Progressive fallacy that government is a technological device which, given enough “scientific” application of brilliant thinking, can be perfected to run like a fine Swiss watch. To take the term limit approach to its ridiculous full extension, why not also prohibit individuals from holding more that a certain number of elective offices and then, as long as we’re pretending that this pseudo science works, also refine that prohibition to a certain number at each level of government, etc.

This November’s election is an excellent chance to see if the electorate has awoken to their dismal civic performance over the last couple of generations. If there is a clear movement away from lifetime tenure for political careerists, replacing them with people who have actually done productive work in their life before election, maybe we can give the term limit talk its own term limit and retire the discussion on that subject for a few election cycles (or decades, preferably).