“With the approval rating of the U.S. Congress at historic lows, it is time to put the pressure on,” Blumel said. “Congress does not reflect the will of the people because the people are to a great degree excluded from the process.”
Blumel points out that even with historic disatisfaction with the Congress, reelection rates of incumbents remain over 95%. One reason is that, in 2004, a candidate challenging an incumbent House member was outspent by $700,000. The average Senate challenger was outspent by $4 million. With such odds, many incumbents don’t attract serious opposition and the voters are left without a voice.
Term limits advocates point out that term limits ensure more competitive elections, offer greater access to office by ordinary citizens, bring real-world experience to the legislature, spread power more equally throughout the country, sever the relationships between special interests and entrenched incumbents and bring the Congress closer to the people.
The term limits movement can point to a term-limited president, 15 term-limited state legislatures, 37 states with term-limited governors and/or other constitutional offices and an uncountable number of term limited municipal governments, including eight of the 10 largest cities in America. But there has been no progress at the Congressional level.
The reason for this stems from the early 1990s, when state after state approved term limits on their Congressional delegations via citizen referenda. But the politicians counterattacked in the courts and the Supreme Court in 1995 decided that citizens cannot impose term limits by individual referenda at the federal level. It had to be done by Constitutional amendment, a very difficult task.
With the recent indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska and a growing number of other examples of entrenched political skullduggery, U.S. Term Limits decided to revisit the Congressional effort.
“But the citizens cannot win this one unless enough of us raise our voices on this issue until we simply cannot be ignored and Congress is forced to tackle the issue,” Blumel said, urging everyone to 1) sign the petition, and 2) to send a link to everyone in their email address books.
“Thomas Jefferson said it best: ‘To prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom from continuing too long in office, it is earnestly recommended that we set an obligation on the holder of that office to go out after a certain period.’ That’s what we’re going to do.”