Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

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.

By: Redactor


  1. Paul Veazey says:

    No question most people favor term limits and I’m willing to be governed by that impulse of the majority. However, the fact remains term limits may always be imposed by simply voting the rascals out, while mandatory term limit laws limit the people’s ability to keep in place politicians the voters actually like. At bottom, term limits laws amount to little more than a pathetic collective cry from the electorate of “Save me from myself.”

  2. Drik says:

    Let’s see if we can get this professor to study the 17th ammendment next.

    re; the weak electorate, consider the difference between theoretical physics and the real world. In theory, there is a probability that all of the molecules of the ball will line up just so and the ball will pass through the wall. In practice, not so much.

    Michels’s Iron law of Oligarchy says that the incumbent will nearly always win, unless prevented.

  3. Jay says:

    To Paul:

    Yes, IN THEORY can not re-elect someone; but, the reality si, incumbents have great advatages; and they answer-basically, to no one, and exist to enrich themselves,. Otherwsie, explain why someone spends tens of millions of dolalrs to get a “job’ that pays under $300,000

    And, go back thee last 15 or so election cycles- what is the re-election rate of the Hosue of (Un)Representitives? In some elctiomns, the rate was 98% or so. There was no opponent, or the opponent was badly overspent.

  4. S Rubicon says:

    “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.”
    He does not understand the
    ‘reason’ for the enthusiasm for term limits.
    The professors lack of understanding leads me to suspect the final report his group will issue, will in fact recommend against term limits. I also suspect the final report was started the day this group was commissioned. Fore-ordained conclusions seems to be the norm for many of these intellectual groups.
    Elections in America, over the past fifty years especially, have been bought & paid for. That money has been used to overwhelm any opposition. If media are also complicit, a challenger has almost no chance.
    Term limits would mute the incredible influences money has on elections. THAT is why we need them. Once in power, incumbents can actually write the rules & their own ticket. That power allows them the ability to knock out challengers & circumvent the will of the people by propagandizing them to death.
    Its amazing. Liberals want pure democracy, or the will of the mob, to be respected when it comes to supporting issues they approve of. But, they want us to ignore the will of the majority when it comes to doing away with issues liberals adore.
    The professor says the people support term limits, & he also points out he is mystified by that support. In short, he believes we should not have term limits despite what the people want, because, the incumbents he believes should stay in office all mirror the professors political positions.
    Term limits might go a long way to bringing our legislatures back to citizen participation rather than be a collection of wealthy & well connected elite whose power & media associations almost guarantees their repeated re-elections.

  5. Pat says:

    If “Americans don’t want to be ruled by an entrenched, unmoving, heedless oligarchy that represents only itself” then why do they keep voting for the same people over and over and over again?
    Actions speak louder than words. Most Americans want term limits for other people’s representatives, not their own.

  6. S. R. Ellis says:


    In my opinion the easiest way to term limits would be a constitutional amendment eliminating all “perks” for elected officials. Do away with retirement and health benefits and prohibit all elected officials from working for working for businesses that accept government contracts or lobby the government for a 5 year period following their term of service. This would include presidents, the very idea that the taxpayer should have to subsidize these men for years after they leave office to the tune of several million dollars a years is asinine. Most are financially able to fend for themselves and they deserve these perks no more than I do.

  7. ed42 says:

    IMO Ballet limits would be better than term limits, that is: A persons name could only appear X (I’d prefer once) consecutive times on the ballot for an office. A very popular politician could still be voted into office via write-in.

  8. ForFreedom says:

    Term limits also wouldn’t be so popular if incumbents haven’t helped insure their reelection via: franking privileges, gerrymandered districts, and campaign contributions from those in bed with the politicians (so the politicians can continue to give them favors at our expense).

    Mr. Jacob points out the major reason term limits are popular – it insures we won’t be ruled by an entrenched oligarchy that only represents itself. Forcing politicians out into the real world will dissuade them from burdening real people. I further support that they may only invest in treasury bonds while in office – that will help prevent inflation and reckless spending.

  9. Ellen says:

    Do not remember who said it, but — “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” No one should be allowed to be a Congressman/woman for 22-30–40 years. The president can serve only two terms for a total of 8 years — why are the power-hungry members of Congress allowed to be in postions of power over and over again?

  10. Linda says:

    UNTILL THE american people wake up from their rip van winkle sleep nothing will change except the suprise they find when they are out in the streets groveling for food, money etc., then the armed conflicts will begin it will happen and so what the apathetic state of Americans is sickening

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