The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Term Limits: Up The Bar

Posted on | October 13, 2013 | 69 Comments

by Smitty

Everybody loves to hate every other district’s and state’s incumbent Representatives and Senators. I also find it hard to like my own, but ‘Gentleman’ Jim Moran is just his own special snowflake. Seniority matters, and informs just how much pork a politician can bring home. Thus, mounting a primary challenge to an incumbent is voting against local short-term interests, for all purging corruption is certainly a global, long-term Good Thing.

Whattayagonnado? Term limits are a brutally simple, readily verifiable tool for ensuring turnover. At the same time, you’re telling people they can’t vote for that one exceptional politician who, in contrast to the others, isn’t a pus-laden bag of fail.

One parameter that could be massaged to find some middle ground here is the margin of victory. If re-election to a seat took an additional, cumulateive percentage of the vote, say 3%, then politicians could still win re-election, but have to demonstrate worthiness to do so.

Given VA-8 as an example, Jim Moran took 61.0% in 2010. In 2012, he took 64.6%–so far, so far. The proposal here is that, to continue to clutter the U.S. Congress with his debris-like presence, he should require 67.6% of the vote in 2014.

There are any number of variations on this theme:

  • the bar starts at 50% with initial electoral victory,
  • the accumulation rate/amount,
  • only do it for primaries, &c

The real point of this post is that our current quasi-aristocracy needs revisiting.


69 Responses to “Term Limits: Up The Bar”

  1. Art Deco
    October 13th, 2013 @ 10:15 pm

    Not buying.

    Bicameralism was a consequence of a compromise at the convention, not some Grand Theory.

    As far as I can see, it just causes a modest re-arrangement of personality types and beneficiaries. You will get people who build relationships in the legislature and people who are attuned to legislators as clients. So, what you get are projects that state legislators can publicize to their constituents. Different sorts of patronage, perhaps.

  2. Art Deco
    October 13th, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    Just to point out, under your rule, career military could not run for office.

  3. Art Deco
    October 13th, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

    I think Weimar wend under due to serial economic catastrophes and parliamentary fragmentation.

  4. K-Bob
    October 13th, 2013 @ 11:29 pm


  5. trangbang68
    October 14th, 2013 @ 1:44 am

    Weimer was a decadent paralyzed culture with ruined currency and a popular culture that sneered at traditional values. The Nazis played on the chaos to gain power.

  6. Regular Right Guy
    October 14th, 2013 @ 2:26 am


  7. Adjoran
    October 14th, 2013 @ 5:34 am

    You are confusing ratification by state convention, an option Congress may specify when it proposes Amendments, with a Constitutional Convention which has not been called since the Constitution has been in force.
    Here is the problem: it is not specified how it would work. California and Texas will say states should have the representation they have in the Electoral College, based on their congressional delegation size, while New Hampshire and South Carolina will insist each state gets one vote as in the original Constitutional Conventions (which set their own rules).

  8. Adjoran
    October 14th, 2013 @ 5:36 am

    Try WHAT and HOW? There are no rules specified for a Constitutional Convention, and getting Congress to pass term limits is a total fantasy. What part don’t you understand?

  9. K-Bob
    October 14th, 2013 @ 6:02 am

    No I most definitely am not confusing them. There have been several “conventions” in our history. Only one was the Constitutional Convention.

    We know how they were conducted, and why, and if you read the history of it, it becomes quite clear. Each state’s legislature sends a delegation. It does not need the Governor to sign anything, it just passes a resolution and the process begins. Doesn’t matter how many people make up a delegation.
    Each state gets one vote at the convention, when votes are held.

    If the state’s delegation exceeds its authority, the state legislature can remove and replace them. If the delegation votes against the will of the legislature that sent them, then their vote is voided.

    The convention produces a final document which then goes to the states’ legislatures or conventions for ratification.

    None of this is new or groundbreaking.

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  11. Quartermaster
    October 14th, 2013 @ 6:14 am

    I understand a lot you don’t. You are naught but an establishment troll who would simply say BOHICA. Amy your chains rest lightly upon you….

  12. Quartermaster
    October 14th, 2013 @ 6:23 am

    Lecturing Adjoran is a waste of time. Like all progressives, the facts mean little to him. He’s just out to troll and is as useful as any other troll.

  13. Art Deco
    October 14th, 2013 @ 8:35 am

    Congress calls the convention ‘upon the application of 2/3 of the states’. The question arises as to what discretion Congress maintains. Contemporary understanding as reflected in The Federalist (Hamilton) was that Congress had no discretion over whether a convention would be called. Because the act of calling the convention rests with Congress, some discretion over details is presumably vested therein.

    What has never been resolved is whether applications which specify purposes are additive. The practice has been to ignore applications not identical.

    With regards to the method of voting, recall that at the time the Constitution was ratified, all antecedent continental legislative bodies had been selected by constituent legislatures and their proceedings governed by the principle of one vote per delegation.

  14. NeoWayland
    October 14th, 2013 @ 9:20 am

    Congress can’t specify the rules for a Constitutional Convention.

    After a Constitutional Convention, Congress might not exist anymore. Given it’s current popularity among the American public, it almost certainly would not exist.

  15. McGehee
    October 14th, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    In Westmoreland’s case, it’s happening a lot more slowly than usual — but it’s happening.

  16. Art Deco
    October 14th, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    The hyper-inflation occurred in 1922-23. The currency was then stabilized. It was not until 1930 that the Nazi Party was able to carry more than about 3% of the popular vote in parliamentary elections. The establishment of the Nazi regime required a perfect storm:

    1. A substrate of diminished legitimacy from serial disasters (the loss of the war, the Versailles Treaty, the hyper-flation of 1922-23, and the Depression.

    2. Acute economic distress (the Depression).

    3. Parliamentary fragmentation (derived from cross-cutting cleavages in the electorate and national list P.R.) rendering governments ineffectual.

    4. Parliamentary paralysis (when the Nazis and the Communists between them held a majority of the Reichstag in 1930-33).

    5. Bad decisions by the senile President v. Hindenburg and scheming politicians like Franz v. Papen and Alfred Hugenburg.

  17. Adjoran
    October 14th, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

    All of which is quite correct, but precedent from the antecedent bodies has never been recognized as binding under this Constitution.
    I suppose you could just get those state legislatures to call for a Convention, and hope to work things out. But that’s wishful thinking. And is an end run around the problem. We already HAVE “term limits” in effect: they are called “elections.”

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