I’ve got a bunch of stuff going on next week, so I doubt I’ll be blogging much. So I want to leave you with a few posts to think about.
Every 4 to 8 years our country goes bananas in a Presidential blitz that can only be called “The World Cup of the United States”. There’s conventions, debates, buttons, bumper stickers, and British hooligans getting into fistfights with Germans. It’s all good.
But there are 535 additionally as equal races that occur at these times, too. The races for the Senate and the House are nearly as important. The term for a U.S. Senator is 6 years and for a member of the House it’s 12 years. Here’s a list of the top 20 longest serving senators: (from wikipedia)
Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) 48 years (9 terms)
Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) 44 years, 2 months (8 terms)
Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) 44 years (8 temrs)
Theodore F. Stevens (R-AK) 38 years (7 terms)
Pete Domenici (R-NM) 34 Years (6 terms)
Joe Biden (D-DE) 34 Years (6 terms)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 32 years (6 terms)
Richard Lugar (R-IN) 30 years (5 terms)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT) 30 years (5 terms)
Max Baucus (D-MT) 29 Years (5 terms)
Thad Cochran (R-MS) 29 years (5 terms)
John Warner (R-VA) 28 years (5 terms)
Carl Levin (D-MI) 28 years (5 terms)
Chris Dodd (D-CT) 26 years (5 terms)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA) 26 years (5 terms)
Arlen Specter (R-PA) 26 years (5 terms)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) 24 years (5 terms)
John Kerry (D-MA) 22 years (4 terms)
Tom Harkin (D-IA) 22 years (4 terms)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 22 years (4 terms)
Matter of fact, nearly half of the Senate has served over 2 terms, and many of the rest are already in their second term.
Here’s a list of the US. House of Representatives. It’s not in list of seniority, and I’d hate to wish that upon anyone. Pelosi’s been serving for almost 20 years. Murtha? 34 years! Boehner? 18 years.
The problem is that once you have unlimited terms, there’s no urgency. People initially get into politics because they’re fired up about something. They go to the city council and rail about an issue. Next thing they know, they’re running for office. Then they want to take their ideas to Washington, where the idea promptly dies and instead they worry about getting re-elected.
In order to keep the government from stalling as a group of old folks who have lost touch with the American people (and with an approval rating of 23%, I think we’ve hit that magic number) the Congress needs to be reinvigorated every so often, and that’s with new blood.
I recommend term limits for all elected officials. The Presidency should be 12 years (3 terms). A senator should serve a maximum of 12 years (2 terms). A Representative should serve 12 terms as well (6 terms). Nobody can be in the same seat for more than 12 years. That will prevent what we have now– people like Ted Kennedy essentially ruling the Senate. That’s not right.
We have an opportunity in the next decade to totally remake the composition of our government and enact into our Constitution safeguards that will prevent this stagnation from ever happening again.
It’s good for America, whether you’re Democrat or Republican.