The NY Times says that the New York City Council has changed the city’s term limits law to allow Mayor Michael Bloomberg to seek – and undoubtedly win – a third term.
After a spirited, emotional and at times raucous debate, the New York City Council voted, 29 to 22, on Thursday afternoon to extend term limits, allowing Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to seek re-election next year and undoing the result of two voter referendums that had imposed a limit of two four-year terms.
In other words, the city council decided to reject NYC voters’ demand for changes in leadership. Hopefully they will be punished at ballot box for their unrepresentative, unwise vote today.
Jason wondered recently what people might actually vote for rather than against. Term limits is a subject that virtually everyone should agree is a good thing. I recently wrote a bit that expresses some of my thoughts on the subject. An excerpt:
Another way to get some fresh blood and increased accountability back into Washington would be to implement term limits. Frankly speaking there’s no good reason for people like Joe Biden or Trent Lott to make a life’s work out of sitting in Congress. Serving so close to the center of power corrupts people and we need to be protected from them. Given the incumbent advantage, the simplest way to realize this goal is for their departure to be made mandatory.
The argument that experience is required to fulfill one’s responsibilities in Washington is fallacious. Oh, it’s true enough given the effectively lifetime reigns of Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond, both of whom went senile while sitting in the Senate. Remove these permanent fixtures and a more meritorious mechanism for distributing power will quickly surface.
There’s no justification to the argument that the quality of government would suffer if term limits were implemented. Seriously, Congress has what, a 10% approval rating – how much worse could it get?
America’s two-party system provides an unfortunate advantage to the well-connected when it comes to getting elected and a head start when it comes to staying in office. By the time the voters are involved it’s often too late to make a difference, particularly if the incumbent is of your party’s affiliation. What choice does one have in that situation come November? Zip.
The best way to improve the health of our government is to have new blood pumped into the patient and to do that we may have to bleed some of the bad stuff out. Why not go easy on the leeches and use term limits instead?