It’s like a matryoshka, the Russian wooden doll hiding another doll hiding another until you finally reach a black hole in the “inside.” That’s what the politicians’ referendum, Issue 3 — to more than double Arkansas’s legislative term limits — turned out to be: nearly endless nested scams.
Among other layers of the Issue 3 con game that not enough Arkansans stripped off before voting day, the measure narrowly passed last November pretended to be “setting” term limits as if anew. So maximum tenure in a particular legislative seat has now been stretched from eight to 16 years in Arkansas’s senate, six to 16 in its house.
In short, the worst has happened.
Wait. The worst?
Not exactly. It’s dolls within dolls: each one smaller, but each more of a “doozy” than the previous.
Now Arkansas incumbents and special interests want the amendment to be understood as something more than massively expanded tenure. They also want to re-start the term-limits clock. If they get their way, the 16 years a lawmaker may serve would start with the passage of Issue 3 just months ago, rather than the 1992 amendment.
State Senator Jon Woods (who helped craft the measure) asked Arkansas’s attorney general to “clarify” the matter.
Did this notion just occur to Woods, or was it part of his original scam, er, strategy?
The Northwest Arkansas Times called Woods’s rationalization for super-sizing already elongated term limits “hogwash.”
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel agrees. His just issued opinion lacks the word “hogwash,” but denies previous-serving politicians 16 additional matryoshkas — er, years.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.