Put Limits to “term limits”

Put limit to ‘term limits’

By Ray Hanania

Friday Feb. 7, 2014 Southwest News-Herald Newspaper
US Constitution

US Constitution (Photo credit: kjd)

There’s a movement to put another referendum on the ballot to impose term limits, but not for all politicians, just for those who are in the Legislature. 

That’s the problem with “term limits.” It’s a political ploy intended to exploit the dissatisfaction many voters and nonvoters have with our electoral process.

“Term limits” is most often used by some in public office who claim they are “do-gooders” when in fact they sometimes do little good at all.

What’s wrong with “term limits?” Well for one, imposing a “term limit” on a specific government office should raise a red flag right off the bat. I mean, if “term limits” are so great, why don’t we impose them on everyone in public office?

But more importantly, the issue of “term limits” is exploited not as a solution to poor government leadership or voter apathy, but rather to enflame the frustrations voters and members of the public all share about our government system.

It’s not a solution to the problem. It’s merely a strategy to distract voters.

I’ve been on both sides of the public fence as a journalist for more than 30 years and as a political consultant. Believe e when I tell you both sides have a use for the issue of “term limits” that has nothing to do with improving our government system.

The media loves “term limits” because it’s another screaming headline that plays into the readers emotions. When readers are not driven by emotions, they are not buying newspapers. So the media plays to your angers to profit.

Many politicians love “term limits,” too, but usually not the politicians whose terms are being limited. It’s always someone else whose term is targeted by “term limits.”

The bottom line again comes down to this. “Term limits” are an artificial and undemocratic means of managing an election, especially for the losers and outsiders who can’t win office the normal way, by gathering a majority of people to support them in office.

Yes, the losers (also called “do-gooders) can’t beat the incumbents so they want a shortcut to bring about change, that’s not real change at all. The only change they want is to be the “player” and have the power for themselves. Oftentimes, a “do-gooder” is worse than a controversial politician.

These do-gooders want to take away from you, the voter, the right to decide what you want.

The most important and sure fire way to remove someone from office is to get a majority of voters to vote against someone in office. Do-gooders have no real public following so they can’t win.

But you, the voter, have the power to change government. Imposing “term limits” takes that power away from you and gives it to a do-gooder who in most cases lacks the skills to be a good government official.

If you don’t like what your elected official is doing, the solution isn’t to hate them or call them names. It’s to be a smart voter. Contact the elected official and explain to them why you feel one issue is more important than another issue.

But keep in mind, do-gooder or veteran politician. No one can make everyone happy. They all will compromise on an issue. If you agree with a politician 60 percent of the time, that is in fact the perfect balance.

It will never be 100 percent. Tell the do-gooders to take a hike.

Ray Hanania is a former Chicago City Hall reporter. Reach him at http://www.TheMediaOasis.com or by email at rayhanania@comcast.net. — City & Suburban News-Herald

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