Term Limits is a frequent topic of discussion today among Americans seeing it as a way to stop corruption in Washington. But would term limits solve the problem? Or could they create a worse mess than we already have?
Perhaps we should look no further than California for our answer — does anyone really think term limits in Sacramento has helped our state?
Term limits certainly sound like the easy way to stop corruption. And without question the Founders envisioned a Citizen Congress, with statesmen serving a short time and then returning home to their former employment.
But there are obvious drawbacks to Term Limits we must consider, such as:
(1) it would force constitutionalists from office, based only on the number of terms they had served, not their unfaithfulness to the Constitution;
(2) it would convert all congressmen serving their last term under term limits into “lame duck” officeholders; and
(3) it would divert attention away from what is really needed — an informed electorate.
Is that what we want?
Back in the 1990s, term limits was being used to bring about an even more serious threat, a Constitutional Convention, through which the Constitution itself could be destroyed. How? Because there is no way to limit what a Constitutional Convention can do.
We all know what happened in 1787. The Articles of Incorporation were totally changed in a Constitutional Convention. Admittedly, they were changed in a good way, but forged under the leadership of statesmen like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Do we have people of similar character today?
There’s no telling what current politicians would do to our Constitution under a Constitutional Convention. It could turn out to be 2000 pages long, to “include everything” for “our own good,” they would tell us. I shudder at the thought!