"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Term Limits for Missouri Initiative Files Paperwork

December 1st, 2008 by MarkTwain · No Comments

Have you ever in your life witnessed a beat reporter having such a hard on for a former public official? Here’s Baghdad Messenger’s sarcastic take on the formation of former Blunt Chief of Staff Ed Martin’s new organization, “Term Limits for Missouri.” For someone who hates bloggers so much, Messenger is starting to resemble the snarky and anonymous bloggers he railed against while at the News Leader.

 From the Term Limits for Missouri press release:

 Today, a new Missouri organization promoting term limits has filed paperwork with the Missouri Secretary of State that would place term limits on all statewide offices in Missouri state government.  Under the Term Limits for Missouri initiative, all statewide offices would be limited to serving a total of eight years or two terms.

Currently, only the Governor and Treasurer are limited to a total of eight years: two terms of four years.  All state legislators are likewise limited to eight years: four terms of two years for the House, two terms of four years for Senate.  Auditor, Attorney General, Lt. Governor, and  other statewide officials may serve without limit.  The most recent example of statewide elected office extending for far longer than eight years is Attorney General Jay Nixon who served for 16 years as attorney general.

“Missourians have been clear: they want their elected officials to serve a limited time in office.” said Term Limits for Missouri President Ed Martin.  “Missourians recognize that too much time in office leads to complacency and, too often, to corruption.  Term limits guarantee that new citizens will serve in every elected position of state government at least every eight years.  It’s better for democracy to have citizen elected officials not bureaucrats who stay in office for decades.”

Term Limits for Missouri calls upon the legislature to put this issue on the ballot. If they will not, Term Limits for Missouri will spend the time gathering signatures to put the issue on the ballot in 2010.

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  • 1 Graf Shepherd // Dec 2, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Elections are the best term limits. Martin’s plan, while initially intriguing, actually cuts back on voters’ freedom of choice. He implies that voters are too dumb to vote out a rascal.

    http://www.grafshepherd.com

  • 2 Jim Byrne // Dec 2, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Graf,

    I wish you were right. I wish that voters were NOT too dumb to vote out a rascal.

    What if they aren’t a “rascal”. What if they are just ineffective? Once you’re in office, all you need to do to stay there is “nothing”. -Yes. Nothing! -It’s not about doing a great job. It’s all about not getting caught doing something bad. -Or should I say; not doing something that would ruffle a few feathers.

    Exposing the undesired attributes of a candidate is now known as “running a negative campaign”. Even if you do go negative, it takes a whole lot of money to get out the message. Exposing the character flaws is almost as bad as having them yourself.

    Today, Party designation is more likely to influence the voter than any other attribute a candidate may have. Party money may have something to do with that. The “mainstream media” probably has more influence.

    We also have the “grass is greener” factor. -the Party in power is responsible for everything wrong, and if you elect a candidate from another Party, that will fix the problems.

    It is human nature to take the path of least resistance. The incumbent is most likely to win.

    Worst of all: The voters are ignorant. Most of them have no idea who they are voting for. –i.e. Go to your local grocery store. Ask people who they voted for as their state House Rep. –Most won’t be able to tell you. –And we just had an election. Two months down the road, even less will be able to answer.

    Think about this: If we made all voters take a test, to find out if they had a minimum amount of knowledge about the person or proposition they are voting on; how many voters would pass that test?

    General elections require us to vote on too many things at one time for the majority to ever be adequately informed. The political machines control the vote. The likes of Pendergast didn’t just disappear. They consolidated into a faceless entity. (It was the best way to survive) –Recommended reading; Unpopular Government in the United States by Albert Kales (the man behind merit selection of judges –though his merit plan has been severely bastardized in Missouri)

    I all for term limits. Since we enacted them for many state offices; How many “really good and effective” people have been removed from the picture? How many just changed hats? (i.e. went from Senator to House Rep., or vice versa, then to SOS, then AG, or Governor)

  • 3 Paul Ground // Dec 2, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I wish I could resist, but I can’t. So let’s talk a minute about term limits.

    Term limits are enormously popular. So, apparently, is Jay Nixon. That’s a great analogy because term limits and Nixon are comparably great ideas.

    Term limits are like voters saying to themselves, “Stop me before I vote again!” A French writer — Voltaire, perhaps? — said, “The law, in its infinite wisdom, equally forbids the rich and the poor to steal bread.” Term limits are like that. They set a perfectly random end to the political careers of good public servants and bad ones with perfect equality.

    Term limits interfere with the institutional memory of the offices and institutions to which they apply. One example of this is the fact that our new governor will come into office just in time to deal with brand new Republican legislative leadership because the former Speaker and the former pro tem were term limited out.

    Term limits also interfere with the development of good candidates among younger office holders. A state rep or senator can only serve eight years. At the end of that time, he or she is forced to either quit politics or seek higher office. This sort of “up or out” mentality limits the time available to groom candidates for higher office.

    Term limits also tend to force the application of the Peter Principle, the theory that bureaucracy tends to promote people to one level above their highest level of competence. Because someone is a great state representative does not necessarily mean they’ll make a great State Treasurer. Yet the message of term limits is, “No matter how good you are at your present job, you can’t keep it.”

    It can be argued that there are structural problems in government that need to be addressed. Too often, the rules favor the reelection of incumbents regardless of competence. But term limits solve the problem by creating more new problems. Term limits are like using a nuclear warhead to swat a fly, or like using a chain saw to do an appendectomy: more appropriate and effective tools are available. Instead of taking the easy way out, why not attempt real reform that solves the problems without creating new ones?

  • 4 simpson316’s blog » Missouri News Roundup 12-04-2008 :: // Dec 4, 2008 at 8:56 am

    […] limits to all state wide offices.  The group is called Term Limits for Missouri.  The issued a press release. Today, a new Missouri organization promoting term limits has filed paperwork with the Missouri […]

  • 5 Missouri News Roundup 12-04-2008 « Brian Simpson // Dec 4, 2008 at 9:05 am

    […] limits to all state wide offices.  The group is called Term Limits for Missouri.  The issued a press release. Today, a new Missouri organization promoting term limits has filed paperwork with the Missouri […]

  • 6 Recommeded Diaries » Missouri News Roundup 12-04-2008 :: // Dec 4, 2008 at 10:09 am

    […] limits to all state wide offices.  The group is called Term Limits for Missouri.  The issued a press release. Today, a new Missouri organization promoting term limits has filed paperwork with the Missouri […]

  • 7 ChooseTheHero.com » Blog Archive » Missouri News Roundup 12-04-2008 // Dec 4, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    […] limits to all state wide offices.  The group is called Term Limits for Missouri.  The issued a press release. Today, a new Missouri organization promoting term limits has filed paperwork with the Missouri […]

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