A puzzled professor at Rice University, who also sits on a commission investigating whether term limits should be scuttled, offers evidence that people like term limits. Moreover, it seems people are especially prone to like them during times when the career politicians have gone out of their way to destroy the economy and all things wonderful and beautiful.
The popularity of term limits is old news. Term limit measures pass every time voters get a chance to vote for them. Many people who blog and write letters to the editor and attend Tea Party rallies regularly demand term limits — even as pols and pundits regularly announce, in tones of increasing desperation, that the term limits movement has expired already, and anyway we-already-have-term-limits-they’re-called-elections.
Bob Stein’s research pertains to Houston. His 1998 survey of registered voters showed 22 percent of respondents supporting city term limits “very strongly.” By 2009, 41 percent supported term limits “very strongly.” The number who opposed term limits “very strongly” rose from only 7 percent to 12.
The Houston Chronicle also reports that in a 2002 article, the professor observed that Americans support term limits “for elected officials at all levels of government.” But he professed not to understand the reason for this enthusiasm.
Somehow it doesn’t occur to the professor that Americans don’t want to be ruled by an entrenched, unmoving, heedless oligarchy that represents only itself.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.