In Virginia, one is enough. The governor can serve only one term. Of course, in 37 of 38 states which term-limit their governors, people get to try for two terms. I’m not complaining. Let people come into the office, do their best, and give another guy a chance.
The one-term limit is the topic of a recent op-ed in the Virginia Pilot newspaper. Writer Margaret Edds complains that the one-term limit means governors don’t have to live with the consequences of their actions. I guess this is true in the sense that they don’t run the risk of being defeated for a second term if they do something unpopular. But don’t governors have neighbors? What the one-term limit also means, of course, is that Virginia’s executives don’t have to cater to special interests, who might expect to be catered to in exchange for their PAC money and political support. And if former governors want to pursue office elsewhere after they leave, they can still be chastised or rewarded by the voters.
If the problem is a so-called imbalance of power between the executive branch and the legislature, I have a solution for that. Term-limit the legislature, too. I wouldn’t be too upset if the state of Virginia had a two-term limit, but one term works just fine. Edds herself admits that “Gilmore was elected on a ‘No Car Tax’ pledge, so that was from Day One his priority.” True enough. While the Legislature waffles on the car tax, the one-term governor has remained a straight arrow keeping his promise. Term limits concentrate the mind wonderfully. Good point.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.