July 19th, 2010
09:50 AM ET
4 years ago

Term limits like 'political junk food,' expert says

Term limits are like ‘political junk food,’ according to one expert.
Term limits are like ‘political junk food,’ according to one expert.

(CNN) – Anti-establishment candidates are capitalizing on widespread anti-incumbent fervor and proposing term limits as a way to bring the power back to the people.

As political hopefuls try to persuade voters to send them to Congress, they're also promising they won't be there long.

Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul said that if elected, he can't see himself serving more than two terms. In Rhode Island, Democratic congressional hopeful Bill Lynch has proposed a 12-year cap in the House and Senate. And in Maryland, Republican Andy Harris has assured voters that, should he go to the U.S. House, he'll be out of there by 2023.

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Filed under: Congress • Term limits
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Dale

    So the concept here is, "Vote for me, because I certainly don't want to commit to helping people. I just want to establish my name and make some money."

    Being in it only for the money does sound like Paul. Seems like the first time he's been truthful the entire campaign.

    July 19, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. Larry

    I couldn't agree with term limits more!!!!!!!!

    And 8 years, not 12. Just like the president.

    Incumbents and the corruption that they wallow in--OUT!

    July 19, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. Transcender

    They don't tell the truth! For the last 25 years, as best I remember, several candidates have said the same thing. And then they stay. What needs to change immediately is the fact that they all get a full pension...

    July 19, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Got my 401K statements over the weekend and as all of us in the country except the dope smoking, nonworking, Oprah watching libertard know, Obamanomics suck and the stimulus plan only benefitted union executives. Dump Obama.

    July 19, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Orlando Patriot

    YES!! Term limits!! Until these "career" politicians realize that their service should be considered an "honor" and not a lifetime job then maybe they will think about what is best for their COUNTRY and not what is best for THEM!!

    Let's throw them ALL out and start over. These politicians must go and I, for one, will not vote for ANYONE that is an incumbent. THROW THE BUMS OUT!!!

    July 19, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. Transcender

    They don't tell the truth! For the last 25 years, as best I remember, several candidates have said the same thing. And then they stay. What needs to change immediately is the fact that they all get a full pension... EVEN AFTER JUST SERVING ONE TERM!

    Mitch McConnell said something similar ... oh so long ago... and he's still there. It's time to Ditch Mitch in Kentucky!

    July 19, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Does anyone else out there remember "Contract with America" and the pledges that the signatorys would limit their congressional terms? Any of them who have not been voted out of office or resigned due to scandal decided that the seniority they get from not stepping down helps them get the power they feel they deserve. Once any of these folk get elected, they will forget about any promises to step aside after a couple of terms. What I would like to see is for Congress to eliminate their pensions.

    July 19, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Darth Vadik, CA

    This was always a good idea, term limits for all congress, and even a term limit for the Supreme Court.

    July 19, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Lisa

    Yeah, we have heard that before. Look at Susan Collins (Maine). She stated when running for her fist term that she would only serve two tems. Then came the time to put up or shut up and she says to the voters that if we re-elect her she can get appointed to committees that will give her power to bring pork to the state and, of course, who could resist that and she got re-elected.

    I do agree with term limits. Two in Congress, two in the Senate, and two for President. After that, get out and let someone else do the job.

    July 19, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Joe

    So, as soon as they get to understand the complicated system and know how it works and are good at what they do, they should quit? Would you hold your Dr., your Dentist, your Lawyer, your police and teachers to the same standard? What an incredibly stupid idea, but then–consider the source.

    July 19, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Angus McDugan

    I wonder who in congress will introduce the bill for term limits? Maybe Nancy will take it upon herself to drive this legislation.

    Ha ha ha! LOL to you kids :-)

    July 19, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  12. Craig

    Ah, I am constrained to point out that our Founding Fathers wrote in the Constitution Term Limits – they are called elections. If "elected" officials keep returning for more terms, it is because the Majority of citizens want them to return – democracy in action!

    Now if only we had majority rule in the Senate, instead of the tyranny of the Minority, then we would truly have a representative democracy.

    July 19, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  13. Dano

    While term limits sound good on paper, all they do is encourage lawmakers to sell themselves to the highest bidder more quickly so they make their fortunes during their limited time in office. What that means is more pandering to big money donors and special interests and less attention paid to what their constituents want. Think about it: If you're in your last term why would you even care what voters think because you don't have to face them again next election. This leaves you free to make your fortune and secure your next job as a lobbyist as soon as your term ends!

    July 19, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  14. Thomas

    We already have term limitations for Congress. Elections every 2 years and 6 years. It is the people who choose to re-elect.

    Term limitations are a way of telling the citizens, no matter who you may want, you can not vote for this person. Is this really the solution we want? Should freedom be based on a loss of freedom of choice in our elected representatives?

    July 19, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. jules sand-perkins

    Term limits represent idealism for idiots.
    People already have the power: all they have to do is vote–hopefully after thinking a little, not just after checking out skin color.
    Term limits DECIDE an election, REMOVING power from the people.

    July 19, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. GI Joe

    THEY LIE !!!! The Congress and Senate will never vote themselves out of their "career", and as long as idiots keep voting for them, they'll keep working for Corporations and Wall Street.

    Don't buy their horse pucky !!

    July 19, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. Jasz

    Term limits would be one of the best things that could happen to the U.S.

    July 19, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Ron in california

    We should make Term limits law. The longer a congressman or Senator serves the less they represent their constituents and the more they represent their own self interests.

    July 19, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. WARNING, AMERICA WAKE UP

    They ought to be given two terms just like the President. Serve 4 years then if re-elected one more term. Also their health insurance should be just what the people of the U.S. receives. Fair is fair. No vacations except yearly and government holidays that all government and the people are eligible for. Retirement should be considered for serving your country but a reduced benefit for serving your country based on the same benefits that a military serviceman's retirement is based. Good enough to make a person want to serve but not keep him in luxury for the rest of his life just like a military person who spent 20 years serving their country. They do not get to retire with enough benefits to live out their life without taking employment somewhere else.

    July 19, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. Capt. Snarky

    we have them for the President, why not for Congress?

    Many states have them also.....

    July 19, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. Fed Up

    We already have term limits. We just have to wake up and use them. One term. That's it. Ignore anyone on the ballot that is an incumbent. Vote 'em in. Vote 'em out.

    July 19, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. Former Republican - Now Independent

    We already have term limits ... they are called ELECTIONS!

    July 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. Lilarose in Bandon, OR

    I would like to see our presidents having six-year terms–just one of them–rather than two potential four-year terms.

    Reason is that four years isn't much time for a president to get on a roll to accomplish anything, and part of the second two years is always campaign time for a second term. Second terms are usually less productive than first terms.

    One six-year term for a president would give her/him six years to WORK, no need to campaign at all for a second term as there would not be one.

    July 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    Term limits are avaiable everytime you vote.

    This fall vote "No to incumbents"

    Fire All incumbents!

    They let the American people lose their jobs, their life's savings and their retirement. And then made the American people pay to bailout the ones who were responsible for the crime.
    All while supporting the special interests, lobbyists, Big business and the wealthy.
    You know what Congress, welcome to the ranks of the unemployed.

    July 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. La Piovra

    Term limits are not a bad idea, provided federal office holders are put on a pension at the end of it and forbidden to take positions in the non-academic private sector ever again afterwards. Listening to these candidates promise that they'll voluntarily limit their own terms and never morph from their politician instars into lobbyist imagos, though, is like listening to a maggot promise it won't eat garbage and it'll never, ever turn into a fly.

    July 19, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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