Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

“We have term limits; they’re called elections.” That’s the beloved mantra of term limits’ opponents.

For all their professed love of elections, though, these politicians don’t care much for the elections in which voters have enacted term limits. They regularly try any and every trick in the book to overturn such votes — anything to stay longer in office.

Take New York City. Voters passed term limits in one election; years later they smashed a term-limit weakening measure put on the ballot by the city council. But then Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city council found a legal loophole, allowing themselves an extra term.

And they refused to permit the people any vote on their power grab.

But just weeks ago there was an election. Seventeen council members who had voted to weaken their own term limits faced primary opponents. Three were defeated. Two more are in races too close to call — with re-counts now underway. Another six won in very, very close contests.

The New York Times called the results “the greatest repudiation of incumbents in a generation.”

According to David Birdsell, dean of Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs, “Public frustration with what seems to be self-serving government officials is at a fever pitch right now.”

Call it “the revenge of the mantra”: Take away term limits, and voters will take away future terms the old-fashioned way . . . with elections.

This is . . . wonderful! This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Paul Veazey says:

    In other words, the ballot worked as a term limiting mechanism. I’m perfectly willing to accept mandatory term limits enacted by the majority of my fellow voters, but will maintain they are a bad idea and amount mainly to a collective anit-democratic cry of “Please protect me from myself.” I would rather by far having the freedom both to kick the bum out and to keep the good public servant in office.

  2. The only infallible, unstoppable, guaranteed way to get a truly new Congress is :

    The American voter must IMPOSE term limits by NEVER REELECTING ANYONE IN CONGRESS, AND DO IT EVERY ELECTION! In other words, don’t let anyone serve more than one term. That’s the only way to teach them that the voter is boss! The “one term limit” can be eased AFTER citizens get control of Congress.

    Congress will never allow us to constitutionally term limit them by an amendment. Our only choice is to NEVER REELECT them. All of them!

    The number of ‘good guys’ left in Congress is negligible, so if we threw ALL 535 members out, we wouldn’t do as much damage as the good we would gain by by turning Congress into a bunch of honest, innocent freshmen.

    Some of the reasons in favor of this approach:

    • It gives us a one-term, term limited Congress without using amendments
    • It would be supported by 70% of the country who want term limits for Congress
    • It is completely non-partisan
    • If repeated, it ends career politicians dominating Congress
    • It opens the way to a “citizen Congress”
    • It ends the seniority system that keeps freshmen powerless
    • It doesn’t cost you any money…but you MUST vote, just NOT for any incumbent
    • It is the only guaranteed, infallible, unstoppable way to throw them ALL out”
    • It takes effect immediately the day after Election Day
    • If it doesn’t work, do it again and again! It will work eventually, I promise.


    Nelson Lee Walker of

  3. Chris Walker says:

    I’m with Paul Veazey – this election was proof we dont need term limit laws. The sleezebags can be thrown out at the ballot. And were this time. Keep it up.

  4. Paul Jacob says:

    Whoa, Nelly! We still need term limits. Yes, when politicians spit in our collective faces, they are — at least some of them — thrown out on their ears. Sure, this is good. But term limitation is about more than getting a few bums out of the way. It’s about having regular rotation so that no one becomes entrenched in office and more people have opportunities to serve. Term limits create a different climate that is sorely needed all the time — not just when things get so bad that we’re appalled by the arrogant behavior. And remember, due to the powers of incumbency, most of the offending pols still ekked out wins in NYC.

  5. Pat says:

    Mayor Bloomberg and company can’t “allow themselves an extra term”. Only the voters can do that. Voters who truly believe in limiting officeholders’ tenure will vote for someone else. Americans who want term limits can prove it by voting out incumbents. Your vote is the final say. Use it.

    • David says:

      Very pat, Pat. You basically ignored Paul’s argument. The electoral advantages of incumbency and the corrupting effects of long-term incumbency are not wiped out by the fact that a voter, when faced with two practical alternatives at the ballot box, can choose one or the other.

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