I guess it’s tough for the career politicians. Sure, in the absence of term limits, they get to cling to office like a barnacle to a rusty hull. On the other hand, they do have to spend time campaigning, and that can be a drag. Especially if getting reelected is your top priority.
It certainly is for Congressmen Charles Stenholm and Roscoe Bartlett. To save trouble, they would change the Constitution to lengthen terms in the House from two years to four. The Founders wanted the House of Representatives to be a more popular legislative body than the Senate. So they kept the House terms shorter. But Congressman Bartlett says the Founders “would be appalled if they knew we never shut down our campaigns.” Mmm, I guess. They might shake their heads at a lot of things politicians do today. Doesn’t prove we should start handing out scepters and crowns.
Congressman Stenholm, who first gained office in 1978, says that for his first decade in power he thought the Founders were smart to provide for two-year terms. But then he realized all the time he had to spend raising money. The possibility of stepping down doesn’t occur to him. Eric O’Keefe, author of Who Rules America , a book on term limits, says, “Whatever time they spend raising money, no one is asking them to do it. And they don’t need to. Unfortunately, most would ride to reelection without spending any time on it at all.”
What difference would four-year terms really make? It’d give career politicians twice as long to build their bank accounts to crush any challengers.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.