He Sounds Right, But He’s Dead Wrong! (Here’s a better plan)
Rich Loudenback recently wrote an article published by Gem State Patriot News denouncing Term Limits for Congress. While Rich’s article is itself well-intentioned, I believe he is dead wrong.
WHY RICH IS WRONG
The number one reason why Rich’s position, which essentially is an academic position, is completely wrong is that it completely ignores the reality of human nature.
We must remember that we are voting for human beings. Not angels or robots. And constituents who vote are also human beings. Therefore, MATH and other scientific or academic approaches to the consequences of our actions do not work unless you take into consideration the most powerful force behind it all—human nature.
HUMAN NATURE DICTATES THAT CONGRESSMEN BECOME MORE CORRUPT OVER TIME
Academically speaking you can assume that a good man enters Congress as a good man and therefore should not be automatically removed by term limits because we don’t want to eliminate good men from Congress. But this is a false assumption because the reality is that the vast majority of “good men” who enter Congress with good ideas, morals, and backbone lose it all in time because human nature is seduced in Washington D.C., by power, money, and peer pressure. We now have over 230 years of history which demonstrate this to be true.
Additionally, human nature dictates that congressmen become more useless over time, not more experienced, and definitely not more effective. Rich’s assertion that “…it takes time to get to know rules, procedures, people and ensuing strategies of friends and foe. It can take a term or two for the learning curve and peak effectiveness to kick in, just as it does in any other endeavor in the private sector. Term limits steals the expertise of experience,” is easily one of the lamest assertions I’ve ever heard.
First of all, anybody who takes 2-4 years to finally learn how to do their job is a complete moron and needs to be fired. I’m a business owner and a consultant to hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs around the world—what I can tell you is this—anybody who can’t figure out how to do their job in 90 days or so should be FIRED!
Furthermore, this is a specious argument since most arguments in favor of term limits give Representatives 8 years and Senators 12 years to serve. That’s a freaking LONG TIME! Don’t tell me that someone worth their salt can’t figure it out in 8-12 years. Sheesh!
Additionally, this argument is built on the premise that it is actually difficult to be a Congressman. I disagree. Being a Congressman is easy—it amounts to saying NO to 99.9% of what Congress wants to do. The truth is I could write a software algorithm to vote better than almost every Congressman—all automatically.
This bill expands Congressional powers…vote NO.
This bill spends money outside of Constitutional boundaries…vote NO.
This bill expands government…vote NO.
This bill subsidizes something in the private sector…vote NO.
This bill prevents the government from killing innocent life…vote YES.
See how easy this is?
So why do we think it’s difficult to be a Congressman when it’s just a matter of saying NO to everything that is unconstitutional? Because it is difficult to fight human nature! Once men are in Congress, they are seduced by power brokers, political pressures, lobbyists, the feeling of control, the reality of power, the feeling that they know more than their ignorant constituents, etc. They start to believe that they have to compromise their principles to “get things done.” The power of the seduction in Washington is beyond the average man’s comprehension. Why? Because of human nature.
RICH’S “NECESSARY CORRECTION” IS RIDICULOUS
Rich offers a “necessary correction” that is so silly and so rose-colored that he might as well be offering free unicorn rides guided by Sasquatches while being served by leprechauns.
His solution is: “Watching how they vote!” That’s right, if we can just get all of the voters to actually pay attention to how their representatives vote, then we will vote out the bad representatives! It’s so simple, guys! We just need to get everybody to watch how Congressmen vote!
It’s brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that?!?!
I can’t wait for that to happen. Think how exciting that will be when we get all voters (or even a 51% majority for that matter) to pay attention to voting records! It’s going to be great! We can even take rides on flying pigs through Sharknadoes, with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy on our way to Butch Otter’s museum of Conservatism!
Come on, folks! None of these things exist! It’s ridiculous! While I like Rich’s idea, and I would love to live in that world he is imagining, it’s simply not real. On the other hand, whatever it is you’re smoking Rich, please do share.
TRUE PURPOSE FOR GOVERNMENT
The true purpose of government is to create boundaries to protect ourselves from ourselves. Even the Constitution itself was written not to be a set of rules to govern the people as much as it was to set limits or boundaries on government itself.
And that is where we should spend our energies—not on some pipe dream of converting thousands and millions of voters to become educated and involved—but to create legal boundaries to prevent the negative aspects of human nature from eroding our freedoms.
The best thing humans can do for themselves, and we specifically as voting Americans, is to work to create boundaries to prevent ourselves from damaging one another.
While I agree with the assertion that Term Limits alone won’t solve our problems—they are definitely part of a greater solution. And that is because Term Limits serve a proper role—they create boundaries which prevent the baser elements of human nature from taking over in our leaders.
Congress is corrupt and that needs to be fixed. While it is true that the best way to prevent that is to have the majority of voters start voting properly—that is simply not going to happen. So I believe we must create a legal boundary to prevent Congressmen from enacting evil upon us.
I would propose a Constitutional amendment, the Congressional Anti-Corruption Act, which would do the following 4 things:
- Enact term limits for Representatives at 4 terms (8 years) and 2 terms for Senators (12 years).
- Prevent Congressman from serving in any other federally elected office for a minimum of 4 years after their term has expired. This helps to prevent Congressmen from becoming career politicians and forces them back into the private sector.
- Ensure Congressmen are only paid during the time in which they actually serve (no pensions, retirements, or any other government benefits after they leave office). This helps to ensure Congressmen don’t make decisions based on their own financial security.
- Give the President of the United States the power of the line-item veto. This helps to prevent Congressmen from inserting pork projects into bills that have nothing to do with the subject at hand and gives the President the power to eliminate waste in spending bills without throwing out the bill completely. No Congressman would go through the process of personally fighting for his pork project to overcome a Presidential veto. This, by the way is the main way lobbyists get their pet projects pushed through the Congressional process.
Not one of these things are the silver-bullet. Nor do I think that the passage of such an amendment would eliminate Congressional corruption. Remember, we live in a fallen world—we can never eliminate evil—the best we can hope for is to minimize it.
And the point here is to create a legal boundary that would minimize Congressional corruption by putting legal boundaries which impede the tendencies of human nature. Term limits are a great idea. It protects us and our Congressman from human nature. But, they are not enough. We need the Congressional Anti-Corruption Amendment.
P.S. This article is not a slam on Rich Loudenback. I personally do not know him, though I know that I typically enjoy his articles and almost always agree with what he writes. I am simply writing this article to offer a counter-position on this hotly contested topic amongst conservatives. Those subjects which conservatives disagree on should be those which are most fiercely debated.