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Which would be better for America? Term Limits on the Hill, or one 6 year Term for the President?


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Personally, I think both would be excellent. If the President can only run once, then maybe they can do what they run on instead of immediately start running for reelection. But if that were the case, I'd want the President and the Senate to flip on how long their term is going to be. 6 years seems like long enough to get past anything you need to tackle from the last admin, and at least get some of your programs in place.

For the House and Senate, I think both should have 4 year terms with limits of 2 terms each. That way if you are really good at what you do, then you'll have to switch to the other house and most likely face a primary against somebody in your own party...giving the people a better choice. If they are really good, they should be able to get 16 years of "public service" in D.C. before stepping aside for somebody new.

Anywho.....this could be fun.

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No, I like the fact that the president gets a public referendum after 4 years. I think it is plenty of time to do what you want to do. At least it should be if the legislative branch actually worked as it should. I think the problem with the election cycle currently is with the 24 news cycle and the media wanting to name winners before anyone has even cast a vote.

To me it is Congress that is broken and there is a need to have fresh blood, not just from those from the other side of the aisle, but those on the same side. Things need to be shaken up every once in a while to keep people on their toes.

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Here is the thing with term limits- lobbysists end up winning.

I am for term limits, but more along the lines of an 18 year "lifetime max" between being a senator-congressman and president. After you have served there for a generation, its time to leave.

On top of that, I feel that any ex Congressman/Senator should be barred from being a lobbyist, in any capacity, for a period of 10 years. By that time, his "old connections" will hopefully have fileterd out

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Hey now. We agree on something.

I think the Hill since we're talking about hundreds of elected officials here, many who have perverted being a public servant into becoming a career politician with too many personal gains to be had.

We agree on more then you think Wheat. We just seem to discuss the things that we don't agree on more times then not. lol...

Congress drives everything. The President already has a term limit. This President is a perfect example of how Congress makes policy and not the President IMO. When he had a majority, he got all sorts of stuff passed. When he did not, he seemingly can't get anything passed.

It will never happen and that is a damn shame because it's probably what this country needs most. Term limits on Congressional Seats.

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Here is the thing with term limits- lobbysists end up winning.

If Jack Abramoff showed us one thing, it's lobbyists own our present form of government, and would hate it if anything changed. BTW it's the staffers they buy, not the congressman, and there would be no point in buy 200 new staffs every 2 years.
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Just make lobbyists illegal and then maybe the people we elect can think for themselves and not from their wallet.

In that vain my favorite "if I could change one thing" idea is a two fold answer dealing with campaigning. 1) Make a hard cap for campaign spending in a given race 2) outlaw any and all campaign contributions other than those from private individuals from their private money in their private accounts. Not a dollar from one single corporations, union, non-profit, ect. Take the corporate/wall street dollars out of the elections. I think we're on a similar wavelength, pj, as far as where the problem lies and the results needed.

As for the thread topic, I chose term limits for Congress. I think it would be much more impactful and hopefully take away the travesty that is career politics.

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If Jack Abramoff showed us one thing, it's lobbyists own our present form of government, and would hate it if anything changed. BTW it's the staffers they buy, not the congressman, and there would be no point in buy 200 new staffs every 2 years.
You think that new staffs are hired with every new congressman? Maybe a new congressman has a few close advisers that are willing to move to Washington with him, but any new staff has to include a substantial number of people with Washington experience who can help a new congressman find his way around. Where do those experienced staffers come from? More often than not, they are coming from other Congressional offices, who already have a relationship with lobbyists, or sometimes, they come directly from lobbying firms.

New Congressmen, who don't know how the system works, are more likely to rely heavily on lobbyists. You may have been elected to bring more education funding to your district, but your constituents are not likely to give you a strong opinion on sugar cane tariffs. If you just got to Washington and have to vote on that issue, a lobbyist will be very quick to provide you an answer.

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Over the last 15years there have been a ton of turnover in the Congress.

Having staff around that know the in's outs isn't a bad thing, even if they know the old ways, they are not in charge and can be shifted over or fired.

Some of the Congress are in for life, no shift and no fired. Those have to go and get a job and enjoy our fruits of their labor.

No Pension after 5yrs either.

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Of course there would be challenges with a major change like this. HOWEVER.....In my pretend world where somehow we can get congress to pass a law that limits their terms, that they also could pass something about limiting lobbyist access with extremely harsh laws that would play the elected official and lobbyist in jail for breaking them.

How people are just ok seeing a guy like Joe Barton apologize to BP for being expected to pay for their accident is insane.

Reid, Nancy, Boehner, McConnell, etc should all be done in Washington forever. They've been there WAY too long.

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Dj, I think his point was, and I agree, how can the gov't be any more owned and run by lobbysits than it already is? How would more new blood possibly change it for the worse?
I would contend that the average *new* congressional staff is more owned and run by lobbyists than the average "career politician" staff. A longer-serving congressman has more time to find people that he can trust, and has more time to build loyalty to himself and his district, rather than to cobble together a staff that may be more loyal to outside interests or the party at large.

Here is an editorial addressing this issue, and how it has contributed to the budget problems in California:

California already has term limits. And they're a disaster.

Virtually everyone I interviewed for that piece named term limits as a contributor to California's fiscal crisis. Imagine, for instance, that you elect a well-liked local physician's assistant to the state Assembly. Doesn't matter the party. Our hypothetical legislator might know a lot about medical care. But she probably knows nothing about the budget. This stuff takes awhile to learn, after all. And remember, she's not studying budget politics full time: She's raising money and dealing with constituent service and reading up on other bills and traveling back-and-forth from her district.

So how long till our doctor-legislator really gets the budget, understands the legislative process, and matures into the sort of seasoned assemblywoman we'd want responding to a devastating fiscal crisis? Eight years? Twelve years? More?

Too bad. Six years and she's out. Banned from the chamber for life, actually. And the problem isn't just that six years isn't enough time to understand the issues and the process. It's also not long enough to build strong relationships across the aisle, particularly given that a lot of other members will have to leave two or four years after she gets there.

This hypothetical isn't much of a hypothetical, sadly: It's the background for Karen Bass, the speaker of the Assembly, who was elected in 2004. Nor is she unique. The acting president of the Senate secured his seat in 2006 (although he did serve in the Assembly before that).

The product of this verges on the comical. As a California budget-watcher pointed out to me, when you get Arnold Schwarzenegger in a room with the leadership of the Senate and Assembly, Schwarzenegger has the most budget and legislative experience in the room. A guy who was starring in Terminator films as recently as 2003 is now the most seasoned elected official during one of the worst crises California has ever had. Term limits are one of those ideas that sound good in theory but are madness in practice. You wouldn't want to go to a hospital filled with medical residents or stock a sports team with an ever-changing cast of rookies. Legislating is hard. We need to give people time to learn how to do it.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/01/the_folly_of_term_limits.html

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Term Limits in Congress would be better IMO.

Agreed. I think four years usually gives the nation a proper amount of time to give the President a proper review on his/her performance. These career politicians on the Hill, though, are getting out of line. Give Senators one 6 year term and Representatives 3 two year terms max.

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I would contend that the average *new* congressional staff is more owned and run by lobbyists than the average "career politician" staff. A longer-serving congressman has more time to find people that he can trust, and has more time to build loyalty to himself and his district, rather than to cobble together a staff that may be more loyal to outside interests or the party at large.

Here is an editorial addressing this issue, and how it has contributed to the budget problems in California:

California already has term limits. And they're a disaster.

Virtually everyone I interviewed for that piece named term limits as a contributor to California's fiscal crisis. Imagine, for instance, that you elect a well-liked local physician's assistant to the state Assembly. Doesn't matter the party. Our hypothetical legislator might know a lot about medical care. But she probably knows nothing about the budget. This stuff takes awhile to learn, after all. And remember, she's not studying budget politics full time: She's raising money and dealing with constituent service and reading up on other bills and traveling back-and-forth from her district.

So how long till our doctor-legislator really gets the budget, understands the legislative process, and matures into the sort of seasoned assemblywoman we'd want responding to a devastating fiscal crisis? Eight years? Twelve years? More?

Too bad. Six years and she's out. Banned from the chamber for life, actually. And the problem isn't just that six years isn't enough time to understand the issues and the process. It's also not long enough to build strong relationships across the aisle, particularly given that a lot of other members will have to leave two or four years after she gets there.

This hypothetical isn't much of a hypothetical, sadly: It's the background for Karen Bass, the speaker of the Assembly, who was elected in 2004. Nor is she unique. The acting president of the Senate secured his seat in 2006 (although he did serve in the Assembly before that).

The product of this verges on the comical. As a California budget-watcher pointed out to me, when you get Arnold Schwarzenegger in a room with the leadership of the Senate and Assembly, Schwarzenegger has the most budget and legislative experience in the room. A guy who was starring in Terminator films as recently as 2003 is now the most seasoned elected official during one of the worst crises California has ever had. Term limits are one of those ideas that sound good in theory but are madness in practice. You wouldn't want to go to a hospital filled with medical residents or stock a sports team with an ever-changing cast of rookies. Legislating is hard. We need to give people time to learn how to do it.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/01/the_folly_of_term_limits.html

First, it should not take anyone of proficient intelligence more than a few years to "get it" people learn to do all sorts of difficult things, adapt to new environments, form relations of trust, etc... all in less time. (though I doubt the average intelligence of congress, is much higher than the population as a whole so that may be asking for too much)

Second, the term limites could be set up to weed out the few congressman who get to the 20 year mark and then become institutions of their own. It might makes sense to allow someone to serve for up to 10 years, but these congressman, like Nancy Pelosi really have no business yielding as much power as they do.

Third, what we have now is not working, I don't really see how that's debateable at this point, the only question that remains is what reforms we need

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Excellent read. And I used to be a BIG term limits guy.

My 18 year lifetime service idea I believe gives a good blend. 18 years is plenty of time to understand the issues, process and establish relationships. But it also prevents you from having a fiefdom with your comittee. New ideas do need to cylce thru the legialtive body

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First, it should not take anyone of proficient intelligence more than a few years to "get it" people learn to do all sorts of difficult things, adapt to new environments, form relations of trust, etc... all in less time. (though I doubt the average intelligence of congress, is much higher than the population as a whole so that may be asking for too much)
But after people learn to do things, is the best thing to do to kick people out of their job?

Why is being in Congress so different from other jobs that experience is inherently a bad thing?

Second, the term limites could be set up to weed out the few congressman who get to the 20 year mark and then become institutions of their own. It might makes sense to allow someone to serve for up to 10 years, but these congressman, like Nancy Pelosi really have no business yielding as much power as they do.
Would term limits really solve that problem? The same amount of power would still be given to a Speaker of the House or a minority leader, but that person would just have less experience. In any case, Pelosi's power doesn't come solely from seniority. I don't think she's even among the 20 longest-serving members of congress. She is powerful because she has been elected to positions of power by her peers.
Third, what we have now is not working, I don't really see how that's debateable at this point, the only question that remains is what reforms we need
I think term limits is a very blunt instrument that has not proven to be effective in any of the states where it has been tried. We need more transparency about lobbying and campaign donations (the Supreme Court has not been helpful on this front), and we need voters who will actually punish our elected representatives for failing to get things done. We all register our deep disapproval with Congress but continue to reelect the same Congressmen. If we want Congressmen who can get things done, we need to vote for those people while voting against the ideologues who refuse to compromise.

Structurally, I think we need to take redistricting out of political legislatures and into bipartisan commissions, and I am open to the idea of making smaller districts and a larger Congress so Congressmen can be closer to their constituents. Term limits seems to be such a knee-jerk reaction that is unlikely to solve our current problems. In my opinion, our legislators are guilty of being too short-sighted, and I would prefer to have representatives who are thinking more long-term.

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But after people learn to do things, is the best thing to do to kick people out of their job?

learning curve might be steep but at some point people improve their skills more slowly, and stop giving a **** and become bored. However, these people still cultivate their connections and still place their hangers on in positions of power. Power will continue to accumulate in these individuals even as their skills plateau. Also, being a skilled politician is not necessarily a good thing.

Why is being in Congress so different from other jobs that experience is inherently a bad thing?

see above

Would term limits really solve that problem? The same amount of power would still be given to a Speaker of the House or a minority leader, but that person would just have less experience. In any case, Pelosi's power doesn't come solely from seniority. I don't think she's even among the 20 longest-serving members of congress. She is powerful because she has been elected to positions of power by her peers.

I think term limits is a very blunt instrument that has not proven to be effective in any of the states where it has been tried. We need more transparency about lobbying and campaign donations (the Supreme Court has not been helpful on this front), and we need voters who will actually punish our elected representatives for failing to get things done. We all register our deep disapproval with Congress but continue to reelect the same Congressmen. If we want Congressmen who can get things done, we need to vote for those people while voting against the ideologues who refuse to compromise.

Structurally, I think we need to take redistricting out of political legislatures and into bipartisan commissions, and I am open to the idea of making smaller districts and a larger Congress so Congressmen can be closer to their constituents. Term limits seems to be such a knee-jerk reaction that is unlikely to solve our current problems. In my opinion, our legislators are guilty of being too short-sighted, and I would prefer to have representatives who are thinking more long-term.

Pelosi has been in office since 1987 (she was appointed, not even elected), so about 24 years. At this point she'll probably get elected until she retires. You are probably right that it won't solve any problems but at the very least it will force new elections in myopic areas. I don't think an 18-20 year term limit would have any negative effects, but it would force some new blood (and new competative elections). At the very least we need to have a bit more turn over so we have new ideas and new personalities. I'm just not convinced that the policy making aspects of the legislature require years of experience, and a bunch of op-eds probably won't change my mind.

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