Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Term Limits - correction to the previous blog

In my previous blog I stated that independent voters like term limits and implied that voters who identify with one or the other of the two large political parties don't. That's not accurate. The people who don't like term limits are just the people who are subject to them - elected officials. Partisan voters are just as apt to like term limits as non-partisan voters.

Term limits were adopted in California about 1992 (readers, please correct me if I am wrong). At the time, the Speaker of the California Assembly was Willie Brown, who subsequently became mayor of San Francisco. Willie Brown is a man of African descent. He is a skillful orator. He wears expensive clothes. He deliberately attracts attention to himself. In 1992 the public in California had not completely abandoned the idea of the African as a person who should stay in the shadows. He should be quiet and modest. He should not try to be the center of attention. It bothered many Californians that the Speaker of the Assembly, one of the most powerful politicians in the State, was African.

Lo and behold, along came Term Limits. Many Californians voted for term limits as a means of getting rid of this embarassing African. It seemed to be the only way. Certainly the residents of the district he represented were going to reelect him to the Assembly for as long as he wanted to be a member of it. As long as he was a member and his party, the Democratic, was in the majority there was no other way to get rid of him.

Term limits is a way of getting rid of someone else's favorite representative whom you detest. You are willing to get rid of your own favorite representative in the process. There's no other justification for term limits that makes any sense to me. I think that wanting so eagerly to get rid of another legislator that you're willing to get rid of your own is a damned poor way to make public policy.

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