10.31.2009 0

DeMints Citizen Leadership on Term Limits

  • On: 11/12/2009 09:42:17
  • In: Term Limits
  • By William Wilson

    If the year of the “Tea Party” and the summer of the “Town Hall” are to bring lasting change to the American political system, then the elected representatives of both parties need to heed the fundamental message that was sent.

    That message? “Enough is enough.”

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of Washington politicians are refusing to listen – which is nothing new, sadly. This is just one of many reasons why U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (one of the few elected leaders who is listening to the voice of the people) couldn’t have picked a better time to seize upon the necessity and importance of term limits for the U.S. Congress.

    Fifteen years ago, Republicans were swept into power pledging to bring fundamental change to Washington – including term limits. Of course, along with most of the promises contained in the “Contract with America,” term limits were abandoned very soon after the election.

    Does that sound familiar? It should.

    This year, we’re seeing a whole new batch of un-kept political promises from President Barack Obama – like a “middle class tax cut” that has been drowned beneath a rising tide of bureaucratic red ink. For all his inspiring talk of “changing Washington,” Obama has shown absolutely no interest whatsoever when it comes to taking on Washington’s entrenched network of special interests and career politicians.

    And more than anything else, this entrenched network is the problem.

    In fact, if the American political experience has taught us anything over the past two decades, it’s that we don’t need any more politicians promising us change – we need to change the politicians. And change them regularly, as Senator DeMint has proposed.

    After all, each year the ruling class in America gets a little bit further out of touch with the people they claim to represent. For example, look no further than the visceral reaction of many elected officials to the recent public outpouring of support for limited government principles. Not only do we have another epidemic of tone deafness in our nation’s capital, but many of the lobbyist-led, special interest-fed “leaders” in Congress have adopted a strategy of denigrating their constituents – branding them as “brown shirts” or using other pejorative terms to paint them (and their limited government beliefs) as un-American.

    More importantly, the wishes of the “not-so-Silent Majority” are nowhere to be found as several decidedly un-American bills sail through the halls of the U.S. Congress. For example, after the August recess, lawmakers briefly killed a so-called “public option” to President Barack Obama’s health care bill – only to bring this anti-free market provision back to life once the bill had cleared a critical Senate Committee vote.

    Also, many politicians – including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham – are now cozying up to supporters of a “Cap and Trade” tax hike that even Obama’s own Treasury Department admits will result in a huge annual increase in the average American family’s energy bill. On top of all this, soaring deficits and a skyrocketing national debt are saddling current and future generations of Americans with a tab they’ll never be able to repay.

    Our right to protest these grievances is also coming under attack, as the Federal Communication Commission is now home to several Obama appointees who have publicly advocated in favor of the suppression of free speech on talk radio and the Internet.

    Clearly, we’ve got to take these generic notions of “change” a step further if we are to set this nation’s steps back on a path to prosperity and personal freedom.

    In consistently standing up for free markets and individual liberty – and against bailouts, socialized medicine and censorship – Jim DeMint has earned a reputation as one of the few principled, fiscally-responsible lawmakers in Washington. But Senator DeMint knows that these principled stands will only take good government so far – there also must be a mechanism in place that prevents politicians from becoming part of Washington’s self-serving ruling class.

    By proposing that House members limit themselves to three terms (6 years) and Senators to two terms (12 years), DeMint is creating this mechanism – and taking the fight directly to an age-old system of political spoils that continues to resist both parties’ promises of “change.”

    Term limits exist already for the President, most governors and fifteen state legislatures. It’s time we bring them to the U.S. Congress, and in so doing strike a blow for “change that taxpayers can believe in.”

    William Wilson is president of Americans for Limited Government.

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