17th Amendment

2014 Senate Races and the Term Limits Issue


We’re barely through with the 2012 elections, but the 2014 Senate races are heating up quite nicely. This is fun, right? You can see a map here of the 2014 and which way each state leans. I’m keeping a close eye on two of those races specifically: Georgia and South Carolina.

Georgia interests me because it’s my home state but also because it’s the reelection campaign of the man whose liberal idiocy prompted my entrance into political activism. Saxby Chambliss is certain to face a primary opponent, and I’m certain to support that opponent. The only question to be answered is who will decide to run against him. I wrote about this race and Chambliss’ potential opponents recently.

South Carolina also has my eye for two reasons. First, I grew up there, and the vast majority of my family lives there. Second, it’s an opportunity for the state to rid themselves of the biggest imbecile in the Senate. Lindsey Graham is also nearly certain to find a primary opponent, and that opponent is also likely to win my favor (especially if that opponent is Tom Davis).

The problem with these races – and really a lot of the races in the coming Senate election – is that the incumbent has had (at least) six years to build up campaign funds and become part of a system designed to keep him elected. Lindsey Graham has a war chest of over $4 million. That’s enough money to scare off a lot of quality candidates that would give him a run for his job.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Term Limits

Since I missed out on the earmarks debate between Jason and Doug this week (I agree with Doug, btw), I figured now would be a good time to “stir the pot” with regard to a subject that seems to be gaining ground among many in the more “conservative” political circles.

The meme among many involved in politics is that because we limit the number of terms for the Presidency, most Governorships, and many municipal officials, we should also limit the terms of those serving in Congress.  The arguments are full of logic and seem to make a LOT of sense, and I think the idea is palatable for most Americans.  The idea that a Senator would only serve two terms or that a Congressman would serve four or six or eight terms, depending on which proposal you read or hear about.  My opposition lies, as do many things I find myself in the minority about, in the details.

Lugar, Mourdock, and Term Limits

 Calvin and Hobbes is the work of the amazing (and unfortunately retired) Bill Watterson

On Tuesday, I mentioned the Republican primary election in Indiana, specifically the Senate race there. Longtime incumbent Richard Lugar was facing the possible end to his tenure in the Senate. The election results Tuesday evening brought a smile to my face as Lugar reached the end of his career as a senator. Since Lugar has been in the Senate for six terms, the topic of term limits was brought up by several friends.

It’s easy to see how the argument for term limits would sound good, especially when you consider how terrible Lugar was and how he managed to be re-elected all those years; but reasons against term limits still outweigh the reasons for them.

We don’t really need term limits in the House because unbeatable incumbents aren’t really a problem in the House. Sure, there are some people who have been in the House for a long time, but there’s less of a chance for a Congressman to get out of touch with his district because he is up for re-election every two years. And if he does get Beltway Syndrome, a campaign to beat him on the district level is much easier to do than a statewide race would be.

The filibuster is a sound constitutional principle

Though this was written before the Health Care Summit between Democrats and Republicans, George Will defense of the filibuster as a sound constitutional principle needed to be posted:

Some liberals argue that the Constitution is unconstitutional. Their reasoning is a non sequitur: The Constitution empowers each chamber to “determine the rules of its proceedings.” It requires five supermajorities (for ratifying treaties, endorsing constitutional amendments, overriding vetoes, expelling members and impeachment convictions). Therefore it does not permit requiring a sixth, to end filibusters.
“Great innovations,” said Jefferson, “should not be forced on slender majorities.” Hence Barack Obama recently embraced a supermajority mechanism: The 18-member commission he created to recommend measures to reduce the deficit requires that any recommendation be endorsed by 14 members.

Filibusters are devices for registering intensity rather than mere numbers — government by adding machine. Besides, has a filibuster ever prevented eventual enactment of anything significant that an American majority has desired, strongly and protractedly?

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