Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Case for Term Limits

After sitting through the judiciary committee meetings last week, I realized that many of these senators really need to go. They are no longer representing their states and constituents but their own political views and agendas. So I decided to look into the whole idea of term limits.

I also realize that voting someone else into office is limiting the term of an incumbent, but some states and congressional districts don't even go through the effort of putting someone else up to run against an incumbent. They have had that senator or representative for so long that it's become a "just who we vote for" mentality and more than likely not the best choice for the job. Some people have even been in office so long that they are getting votes by a third and possibly fourth generation of voters!

Just to give you an idea of who these lifetime politicians are here are a few:
MI D-Rep. John Dingell first elected in 1955
WV D-Sen. Robert Byrd first elected in 1958
HI D-Sen. Daniel Inouye first elected in 1962
MI D-Rep. John Conyers first elected in 1964
MA D-Sen. Edward Kennedy first elected in 1964 (seems I had incorrect info. 1st elected 1962!)
AK R-Sen. Ted Stevens first elected in 1968
WI D-Rep. David Obey first elected in 1969

And no, I am not being partisan. These are just the politicians who have been in office the longest according to Project Vote Smart, a non-partisan political fact site. But, it does make me wonder about the areas and states that they represent. Is no one would willing or able to defeat them in an election?

Here are more from the 1970s that should be gone, too:
NY D-Rep. Charlie Rangel 1970
CA D-Rep. Peter Stark 1972
DE D-Sen. Joseph Biden 1972
NM R-Sen. Pete Domenici 1972
AK R-Rep. Don Young 1974
CA D-Rep. Henry Waxman 1974
CA D-Rep. George Miller 1974
IL R-Rep. Henry Hyde 1974
MN D-Rep. James Oberstar 1974
PA D-Rep. John Murtha 1974
VT D-Sen. Patrick Leahy 1974
IN R-Sen. Richard Luger 1976
MD D-Sen. Paul Sarbanes 1976
UT R-Sen. Orrin Hatch 1976
WV D-Rep. Nick Rahall 1976
CA D-Rep. Jerry Lewis 1978
CA R-Rep. Bill Thomas 1978
MI D-Sen. Carl Levin 1978
MN D-Rep. Martin Sabo 1978
MS R-Sen. Thad Cochran 1978
MT D-Sen. Sam Baucus 1978
VA R-Sen. John Warner 1978
WI R-Rep. Tom Petri 1979

There are still many more in the 1980s, but you get the idea. Then there are also those who have moved around the political arena. Those like NY D-Sen. Chuck Schumer. He's moved from the House ('80 to '98) to the Senate ('98 to present) and that's after being in his state assembly ('74 to '80).

Yes, new Congressmen and Senators may have their problems such as not knowing the ropes, but that in itself can be a very good thing. They are new, fresh, and not cynical like those who have spent the last three or four decades in DC. They are also more involved in their constituents and they want to do what's right for their state or district. That would be wonderful, don't you think? It would certainly beat these people who have been there so long it's become all about them and their power and not the people who elected them.

No comments: