Listener Horace Solliday writes: “Dear Paul, I am distressed every time you tell us of the good politicians who are fighting for term limits and then restrict their own terms while none of the career politicians have. Is that common sense? Wouldn’t it make more sense to stay there until they get term limits?”
Thanks Horace; it’s a fair question. But here’s the thing. No constitutional amendment for term limits is going to pass in a Congress dominated by career politicians. We’ve learned that the hard way. So we must change the Congress. That means real leadership, by example. Citizen legislators who walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Experience hath shown that if our best representatives don’t term-limit themselves, as the years pass they tend to become co-opted by the system and play politics as usual. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, in his sixth and final year in Congress, still sleeps on a futon in his office and showers at the House gym, unwilling to become a native of Washington, DC. Says Sanford, “Some people tell me, ‘You know, Mark, you are a lame duck before you’ve even started.’ I respond, ‘You’re wrong. I’m a free duck, and there’s a big difference.’ . . . Term limits force you to maintain perspective. It’s an anchor.”
Sanford is right. It’s no coincidence that the best people in Congress have term-limited themselves. The challenge for our free society is to elect more representatives who will be “free ducks.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.