No one could hate term limits worst than the politicians right? Well, that’s what I thought, too. But I was wrong.
A survey by the Council of State Governments shows lobbyists oppose term limits even more than do politicians. While 76 percent of politicians were against term limits, among lobbyists a whopping 86 percent were opposed. Of course, 75 percent of regular Americans are in favor.
Why do lobbyists hate term limits? Lobbyists know that their power and influence comes from developing long-term relationships with incumbents, especially with those in leadership. Under term limits, not only do lobbyists lose these long relationships, but also leadership and committee chairmen no longer have the unilateral control they used to wield. Term limits equalize power within the legislature, and thus lobbyists can no longer ramrod legislation through on the basis of their relationship with one powerful member. Instead, they have to make their case on the merits and to all the representatives.
Reader’s Digest reported: “In term-limited legislatures, lobbyists can’t play their game by the old rules . . . . In one state capitol after another where term limits have been enacted, lawmakers express a wariness bordering on hostility toward those who seek to influence their votes.”
One Michigan lobbyists complained, “Gone are the days when you belly up to the bar and ask someone for their vote on a bill.” That’s why it’s such a hoot when opponents of term limits pretend lobbyists will gain power.
With a vampire, you have to drive a stake through its heart. With lobbyists, just mention term limits.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.