Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Fresh Blood is a Good Thing

Posted by Mike on March 28, 2006

Critics of term limits are uneasy because almost half of Nebraska’s legislature is about to be term-limited. They fear that new legislators will be easily swayed by lobbyists and will require time to learn about the legislative process.

I find the turnover refreshing. Entrenched politicians often lose touch with the real world. I don’t say that to criticize. Losing touch is simply the natural effect of being surrounded with the trappings of power for so long. New politicians are more recently connected to their constituents and are much more likely to be idealistic and unswayed by special interests.

The main reason I support term limits is its positive effect on democracy. Legislative incumbency retention is abnormally high as a result of lopsided institutional advantages such as fundraising advantages, name recognition and free media. These advantages make it very unlikely for challengers to be competitive, even those who more accurately reflect the views of the electorate. That is why most new members of legislature are elected to open seats where there is no incumbent.

I understand the opposition to term limits but I don’t buy it. No one is irreplaceable. I also have a hard time sympathizing with politicians just because they lose their power.

2 Responses to “Fresh Blood is a Good Thing”

  1. Ryan said

    I have somewhat of a problem with term limits. They were omitted on principle from the Constitution because it was assumed that the electorate would be a self-interested, yet an educated informed group of 21+ land-owning white males.

    Since our electorate is not as informed today, the incumbents usually win. Yet, I can see Gauvin’s point about the entrenched nature of politicians and the fresh look new blood gives to a party and the law. But I’m still not a fan, generally.

  2. Salinger said

    I have to disagree, Ryan. Remember, the original intent was that the informed group of 21+ land-owning white males was supposed to elect their state legislators and their senators. The political landscape has changed, in many ways for the better. Property ownership is no longer required, and voting has been extended to the Senate and for all intents and purposes, the Presidency.

    Since the electorate is not what the founders thought it would be, I think it also makes sense to weed out the lifelong Teddy Kennedy’s, Robert KKK Byrd, and others.

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