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.