For My Amusement only… tipped us off to an excellent column, Part-time Legislature without term limits tops Christmas wish list by Peter Luke from Booth Newspapers. Luke argues that Michigan’s lawmakers are working part-time for full-time pay … and leaving behind a pile of unfinished business larger even than a $2 billion dollar budget hole as they head home for Christmas.
Term limits essentially have replaced politicians who know a lot with politicians who know a little. By the time they know a little more, they are legally required to abandon their offices, even though most would be handily re-elected if it were left up to the voters and not an arbitrary limit.
The 1992 constitutional change hasn’t resulted in less money in politics, but more. Lawmakers have become interchangeable parts assembled for the pursuit and maintenance of partisan advantage, not individual representatives of districts with their own agendas and ideas. The independent representatives that term limits promised are rare because those limits deny the time required to develop independence.
He continues to outline a system whereby legislators would be required to complete business by July 1 or be called back for a special session. It seems to make quite a lot of sense, especially the “interchangeable parts” part. “Term limits” sounds like it will keep our democracy more democratic but in fact it puts in more in the control of political parties.
Sign me up for the petition drive too.