North Texas Daily

The deal with congressional term limits

The deal with congressional term limits

April 07
02:35 2016

Preston Mitchell | Staff Writer

@Presto_Mitch

These days, term limits are a lot like weed legalization. As much as people want them to happen, distrustful politicians still manage to have it their way, all the while winning re-election. This is certainly the case for Congress since 2010, when approval ratings consistently averaged a rough 15 percent toward House and Senate members. Under these unbelievable low approval ratings for congressmen, according to Gallup Poll, the fact that neither Democrats nor Republicans fully control the House or Senate has enticed wariness from the American people.

Contrary to popular belief, Obama isn’t to blame here. Rather, fingers should be pointed at Congress for historically blocking his policies and, more importantly, for the lack of regulation on U.S. term limits.

For some elusive reason, term limits have only applied to U.S. presidents thus far in American history. Elections for new House members run bi-annually while senators get six years in office after each election — not to mention both of whom are free to run as many times as they’d like, while each Supreme Court justice has a lifetime appointment.

While this allows political tenures to be seasoned, it also blisters the issue of losing touch with the public. Re-elections and lifetime incumbencies make little sense because America’s political landscape is always changing.

For instance, the late 1960s and 1970s were all about a counterculture that rejected their parents’ values for protests and freedom. The ‘80s briefly reintroduced that old patriotism while the crack epidemic, which spanned well into the ‘90s, plagued lower classes nationwide. Consider the changes that have occurred in the U.S. in all that time, then attempt to hold your lunch down knowing that some representatives have held their seat, uninterrupted, that entire time.

The overlying point is many aging politicians can’t keep up with the times, yet they hold their position in government, ultimately hindering the pace by which progress occurs.

Throughout Obama’s administration, many of his policies have been blocked by Congress, who find its respective bodies unable to work cooperatively like they were designed to do. It’s created quite the gridlock in Washington — one where our leaders argue about the problems of budget deficits, minimum wage, and how “salient” such topics are rather than work together constructively.

If term limits could be amended, we wouldn’t have to wait for someone’s death to replace that seat with a philosophically moderate person like Merrick Garland, as obstructionists would soon find themselves ineligible for re-election. The same principle allowed us to pass a law restricting a president to two terms applies here — too much power, for too long, can corrupt even the straightest of arrows. With legal restrictions, we could interchange rotten apples for those oranges in a seamless fashion.

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