Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Dear Reader: This “BEST of Common Sense” comment originally aired on August 8, 2003, and has been repeated at least once. Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” is in the news again, and I thought I’d jump message and divert your attention away from inane fun-poking to the important issue of “getting used to” what’s good for us. —PJ

“Do you like green eggs and ham? . . . Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may, I say.”

Same goes for politicians and term limits. When state legislators ever-so-reluctantly try term limits, turns out that they actually like green eggs and ham, that is, term limits, better than state legislators who aren’t term-limited.

I read an endless stream of stories about how politicians, about to be term-limited, say the limits aren’t working. News flash: Politicians have always hated term limits. But now a survey commissioned by the National Conference of State Legislatures finds something surprising: there is more support for term limits among legislators in term-limited states than there is among politicians who have no actual experience with term limits.

Think about that. When asked whether term limits “promote healthy change” or “don’t work,” legislators serving under term limits in their state were 50 percent more likely to see term limits in positive terms than their unlimited colleagues.

“Say! I like green eggs and ham! I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!”

Well, I guess we shouldn’t get carried away. Even in term-limited states, legislators oppose the limits by a margin of nearly four to one. Term limits were designed to please voters, not legislators.

Still, good to know that for legislators under term limits, the idea is starting to grow on them.

Ever so slowly.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Drik says:

    Tends to attract a different mind set politician, one who views the position both as a chance to excel and be responsive to voters and also as a stepping stone. A totally different genre than we have now.

  2. Ken M says:

    I doubt politicians are changing their minds. It seems much more likely that with term limits there are now a relatively small number of office holders who recognize that they wouldn’t be there without term limits. They also knew going in that they would eventually be subject to term limits, reducing the tendency to view an office as a sinecure or entitlement upon which term limits infringes.

  3. Jay says:

    I think it was/is Cal., where there are term limits PER CHAMBER, so when a member reaches the end in one chamber, runs for the other.

    No real change–just musical chairs.

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