It’s going to be a long, tough battle to term-limit the Congress. Why is that? Well, not because term limits are controversial. My goodness, more than 70 percent of Americans, in every possible group, consistently favor limiting the number of terms a congressman can serve. Very few of us oppose term limits. But within that tiny minority lies the most intensely interested segment of the population. They’re fanatical about term limits . . . fanatically negative. They are called politicians.
They think we thunk up the idea just to be nasty and thwart their well-intentioned attempts to rule over us. That’s about half-right. Nah, term limits supporters aren’t angry at particular politicians or out to get them. Sure, there are a couple of really bad apples, but that’s not the problem. The problem is much more systematic and serious. Even the best legislators become, shall we say, significantly less good over time. Career politicians lose touch with the folks back home and buy into a corrupt system of special interests and special privilege. Plus, incumbents have so many reelection advantages that fewer and fewer regular citizens run for Congress. It’s a vicious cycle.
Term limits won’t come easily. The politicians will fight us every step of the way. But we can’t be denied our right to self-government forever. History shows that good ideas can triumph even over great odds. As the famous World War II song goes: “They’ll be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover tomorrow, just you wait and see.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.