Term Limits Debate and Poll
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The Framers, lived in a different time. Congress as they envisioned it did not need term limits, because they envisioned it was always going to be a part-time job. James Madison, for instance, simply assumed that Representatives would be "called for the most part from pursuits of a private nature and continued in appointment for a short period of office." That assumption, understandable in its day, allowed the Framers to believe that Congress would just naturally remain a citizen legislature, without any Constitutional requirement that those serving in Congress not spend their entire lives there. The Framers never had reason to question their mistaken assumption, because Congressional service remained a part-time job for the nation's first century. The early Congress met for only a matter of months each year. In fact, the early Congresses met mostly during the winter months, when most citizens could afford time away from their normal jobs in the primarily agrarian economy.
The term limits concept was considered during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, it was rejected by the delegates, who instead provided for short terms of office, two years for the House of Representatives, four years for the Presidency, and six years for the Senate. James Madison, who opposed term limits at the Constitutional Convention, recorded in his notes the words of a fellow delegate, Roger Sherman: "Frequent elections are necessary to preserve the good behavior of rulers. They also tend to give permanency to the Government, by preserving that good behavior, because it ensures their re-election."
James Madison, in The Federalist, No. 53, cited the advantage of long-standing membership in a Congress elected directly by the people and explained the disadvantage of a great number of new members in Congress:
A few of the members, as happens in all such assemblies, will possess superior talents; will, by frequent re-elections, become members of long standing; will be thoroughly masters of the public business, and perhaps not unwilling to avail themselves of those advantages. The greater the proportion of new members and the less the information of the bulk of the members, the more apt they will be to fall into the snares that may be laid for them.
Alexander Hamilton: "Nothing appears more plausible at first sight, nor more ill-founded upon close inspection [than term limits].... One ill effect of the exclusion would be a diminution of the inducements to good behavior. There are few men who would not feel much less zeal in the discharge of a duty when they were conscious that the advantage of the station with which it was connected must be relinquished at a determinate period, than when they were permitted to entertain a hope of obtaining, by meriting, a continuance of them." (The Federalist, #72)
John Adams: "There is no right clearer, and few of more importance, than that the people should be at liberty to choose the ablest and best men, and that men of the greatest merit should exercise the most important employments; yet, upon the present [term limits] supposition, the people voluntarily resign this right, and shackle their own choice.... [T]hey must all return to private life, and be succeeded by another set, who have less wisdom, wealth, virtue, and less of the confidence and affection of the people." (A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America)
Gouverneur Morris: "The ineligibility proposed by the [terms limitation] clause as it stood tended to destroy the great motive to good behavior, the hope of being rewarded by a re-appointment.
Harry Truman recommended that the 22nd Amendment be applied to all federal officials, not just the President, to prevent, in his words, the "fossilization of the key committees." Truman said a limit on congressional service would "help cure senility and seniority--both terrible legislative diseases."
During the first 150 years of this country's history, term limits were unnecessary. Turnover in the U.S. House of Representatives was routinely over 50 percent. Over the last decade we have experienced reelection rates averaging over 90 percent creating a class of career politicians who have insulated themselves from the public will and grown less and less representative of the people.
Elections are for getting rid of politicians who are not performing up to the peoples expectations. Term limits are for eliminating politicians who are performing. If you believe a politician should be removed from office, do it the American way, with facts, ideas and the voting booth.
Incumbent politicians have too big of an advantage, with big money and name recognition. We need some way to get new people elected.