Politicians often do everything they can to get out from under term limits â€” in Knox County, Tennessee, to the extreme. The politicians there simply ignored the limits, and went on with business as usual.
Then came a lawsuit. It went to the State Supreme Court, where the justices ruled, in effect, that of course the term limits law passed by the voters applies.
So, in January, the County Council held a meeting to replace its illegal members. That is when they showed their true colors.
Dan Barry, writing in the New York Times, charmingly describes the event: â€œBefore an audience of hundreds, the commission staged a political version of a bedroom farce, with its members calling repeated recesses, retreating to a back room, shouting at one another and even swearing in one appointee during a break.â€
The upshot? The old council filled 12 new spots, with likely suspects, including
- the son of one outgoing commissioner
- the wife of another
- the father of a sitting commissioner
- the sheriffâ€™s top aide.
As Barry put it, â€œa catfish could have been appointed if properly connected.â€
But this spectacle spurred a huge number of people who usually stay away from politics to get involved. A lot of new faces ran in the February primary, and persist for the coming August general election.
Yup: Term limits to the rescue.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.