How About Hypocrisy Limits?

In another installment of Rethuglicans not having a new idea in decades, the Raisin brings you the latest warmed-up same-old, same-old.

Washington (CNN) — A handful of Republican senators have proposed a constitutional amendment to limit how long a person may serve in Congress.

Currently, there are no term limits for federal lawmakers, but Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, and several of his colleagues are advocating that service in the Senate be limited to 12 years, while lawmakers would only be allowed to serve six years in the House.

Original DVD cover

Two-thirds of the House and Senate would need to approve the amendment — a stumbling block that short-circuited the idea 14 years ago. The new proposal echoes the Citizen Legislature Act, part of the original Contract with America proposed by Republicans before they won control of Congress in 1994.

That measure, which would have allowed both senators and members of the House to serve just 12 years, won a majority in the Republican-controlled House in 1995, but failed because it did not meet the constitutionally-required two-thirds threshold.


This time around, proponents are not calling on lawmakers who believe in the idea to place a self-imposed term limit on themselves.

“If you are asking people to self-limit, what might happen — and what did happen — is that honorable politicians who made the pledge left office,” while others did not, [Philip] Blumel [president of U.S. Term Limits, a nonpartisan organization that advocates putting time restrictions in place] said. “The answer to the term-limit supporter is not self-limiting. It is the body as a whole.”

DeMint, who is currently serving his first six-year term in the Senate, echoed Blumel’s rationale for dismissing self-imposed term limits.


One of the original co-sponsors of the amendment is Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who is serving her third term in the Senate, but is expected to resign her seat to focus on a gubernatorial bid.

A spokesman for Hutchison said it is easy to square the fact that the Texas Republican is advocating a cap of two terms, even though she is currently in the middle of her third term.

“Throughout her career she has fought for term limits and continues to do so, and that is why she is co-sponsoring this bill,” said Hutchison spokesman Jeff Sadosky. “But until it is passed, it would do a disservice to Texas and the people of Texas to do away with the seniority she has gained, unless all the states and all of the senators hold themselves to the same standard.”

The two other original co-sponsors of the amendment are Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas. Coburn, a first-term senator, is up for re-election to his second term in 2010, while Brownback is retiring next year after pledging to serve only two full terms in the Senate [because he’s running for governor of Kansas]. As congressmen, both voted in favor of the GOP’s Contract with America term limit proposal in 1995. Coburn, a longtime term-limits supporter, retired from the House in 2000 after serving three terms, based on that pledge.

From Charleston City Paper:

DeMint emphatically states that he will not impose a term limit on himself until the law is changed to term limit every member of Congress. But, he leaves plenty of fodder for any candidate seeking to unseat him in 2016 by calling for an end to the “era of permanent politicians.”

“As long as members have the chance to spend their lives in Washington, their interests will always skew toward spending taxpayer dollars to buy off special interests, covering over corruption in the bureaucracy, fundraising, relationship building among lobbyists, and trading favors for pork — in short, amassing their own power,” he says.

Change in Washington has to come from “new leaders” instead of rearranging the deck chairs of a sinking ship, DeMint says, noting that term limits would “instill transparency and accountability” in congressional members.

“The nation can no longer afford these entrenched men and women who enjoy lives of luxury wholly insulated from the consequences of their major policy failure,” he says.

But (and it’s a big but), DeMint suggested he would not limit his own reign in the Senate to the two-term max he considers so vital.

“We must have term limits for all or term limits will never succeed,” he says. “Only when we apply the same rules to all will we be able to enact vital bipartisan reforms.”

It’s an ironic statement considering DeMint’s self-imposed ban on federal earmarks, funding for projects back home that are decided by lawmakers, sometimes without regard of the project’s needs or value. The two arguments are related — DeMint has often decried earmark spending as a wasteful tool wielded by long-time legislators.

This isn’t DeMint’s first attempt to circumvent Washington’s seniority-based leadership models. After defeat last November, DeMint called for sweeping changes within his own party, suggesting a frustration with being so low on the totem pole in relation to his fellow senators.

“Then, let’s end the seniority system that turns too many Republican outsiders into Washington insiders,” he said at the time. “This requires term limiting our conference leader and appropriations committee members, then choosing committee heads on merit, not seniority.”

From The Dallas Morning News:

WASHINGTON – Three-term Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has thrown her support behind a constitutional amendment that would cap Senate service at two terms.

The stance echoes her argument that Texas governors should also face term limits and that Gov. Rick Perry, in particular, has served too long already. But it contradicts her own career.

When she won the Senate seat in a special election in 1993, she pledged not to seek more than two six-year terms. She argued in 2006, however, that it made no sense for Texas to voluntarily give up the seniority and influence she had acquired.


The move drew snickers from the Perry camp.

“The senator has no credibility on the issue of terms limits, considering she broke her own promise to serve only two terms and then ran for a third,” said Perry spokesman Mark Miner.

By the way, kids, the Contract of America (partially taken from St. Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union Address of 1985), which included term limits as part of its list of reforms was cooked up by:

Newt Gingrich (he’s on the train with Kay B-H, in case you couldn’t make out who that was) (GA)-served January 3, 1979 – January 25, 1999, 20 years

Robert Walker (PA)-served January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1997, 20 years

Dick Armey (TX)-served January 3, 1985 – January 3, 2003, 18 years

Bill Paxon (NY)-served January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1999 (He left after being forced out of his leadership role in the House after an abortive coup against Newt Gingrich.)

Tom Delay (TX)-served January 3, 1985 – June 9, 2006, 21 years (Resigned to pretty up for his mugshots and because polls indicated he would probably lose reelection. Besides, he was born to dance!)

John Boehner (OH)-assumed office January 3, 1991, 18 years and counting

and Jim Nussle (IA)-served January 3, 1991 – January 3, 2007, 16 years (He lost his bid for reelection to Democrat, Chet Culver.)


Filed under Congress, Constitution, humor, John Boehner, movies, Newt Gingrich, parody, politics, Republicans, Ronald Reagan, Sam Brownback, Senate, snark, Tom Coburn, Tom Delay, Wordpress Political Blogs

32 responses to “How About Hypocrisy Limits?

  1. this might be a very stupid question (although, I have been told there isn’t such a thing.), but why can’t this be put out to the people to vote on? Wouldn’t that make more sense?

    • it would require that the constitution be ratified, and that, by law, takes 2/3 of the congress to pass.

      on one hand, i think that term limits would be a good thing. on the other hand, i think it won’t. of course, you can argue that people don’t have to vote on term limits, because they get to vote on whether a senator’s or congresscritter’s term is up each time they vote for or against them.

      instead of term limits, i would rather see tough campaign finance laws put into place so that none of them could accept corporate money.

      • thanks. I figured that would probably have been the answer, but it seems that something so self-serving wouldn’t have been put into law in the first place. But, like you say, the people should be the ultimate decision makers. Only thing though is that the political machine runs over us little guys way too often.

        • along with campaign finance, redistricting rules have to change, too. both parties are guilty of making sure they have the advantage whenever redistricting occurs.

  2. I used to be a big fan of term limits. I could still accept them.

    On the other hand, I do think that the real issue is, as you just said, financing. An entrenched incumbent with seniority has made friends with the fat cats, so s/he gets lots of money.

    Ideally, terms are supposed to be limited by the voting process. I’d prefer that that stay the case. On the other hand, if you’re going to argue that terms should be limited, it’s absurd to excuse yourself. Tom Tancredo did the same thing, by the way. He promised to limit himself to three terms, but then excused himself because he hadn’t beat up enough Mexicans in three terms.

    Speaking of beating up Mexicans, I hear that Lou Dobbs quit CNN. How long before he announces his new show on Fox, do you reckon?

    • we all want term limits for the congresscritters we don’t like, and we want to keep the ones we like. unfortunately, we don’t control seats in districts other than our own.

      i don’t know if faux really wants old lou blobbs. he’s been feuding with geraldo. that might make the company picnic a bit awkward.

  3. Washington Away

    KBH is the biggest hypocrite of them all. She singlehandedly killed this bill by attaching her name to it. Zero credibility coming from this wishy washy pledge breaker. Kay Bailout Hutchison.

    • hello washington away,

      welcome to the raisin! 😀

      i doubt that we are on the same wavelength, judging from the nickname you gave kbh, but i agree with you on her being a hypocrite.

  4. I voted against term limits here in Michigan back in 1992. I thought it was a dumb idea being proposed by Baby Boomer Republicans who got tired of waiting for the people ahead of them to retire. That particular ballot measure included term limits for U.S. Senators and Representatives. That was outright unconstitutional and was struck down in court.

    Since then, term limits have proven to be not just dumb, but disastrous. No member of the state house or senate ever gets enough experience to be effective and especially enough to outwit the lobbyists, who now have the upper hand. While the economy is mostly to blame for Michigan’s plight, the inexperienced legislators don’t help!

    • i think this is just another diversion/look-at-me! tactic from the craphead from south carolina and his little band of merry morons.

      public service has to stop being a stepping stone to lucrative lobbyist jobs. it also can’t be possible only for the wealthiest people. campaign finance is one piece of the puzzle. i’m not sure what the other pieces are to make sure that the people who run for office are doing so to better the lives of their constituents and not just their own.

      • “i’m not sure what the other pieces are”

        One of them is that people have to demand better.

        Stop settling for the lesser of two evils and vote for Cthulhu.

        No wait, that’s not what I meant … demand good candidates, not just the “dumb or dumber” often served up by the two major parties.

        On primary day last year, I was talking to the Kucinich people about that very thing. They talked to a lot of people who said that they’d love to support Kucinich but didn’t think he could win.

        Of course, he could have won if people voted for him. Funny thing about the democratic process …

        Again, there’s a reform needed in the system — the two parties have granted themselves power by law — and also at the voter-level. We each need to be willing to inform ourselves and vote for candidates we really want to win.

        • i agree with everything you said. i would just add that it all starts with education. kids don’t learn how government works, and adults are too busy to learn about the candidates and issues when they vote. this didn’t happen overnight, and it’s not going to be turned around for a long time. that said, it has to begin sometime, so why not now?

          • A journey of a thousand miles and all that …

            Now’s better than later, right?

            You’re right about education. One thing that I really hate about the loudest voices on the Right right now is how much they actually put down higher education. Limbaugh says that he quit college when he realized he was smarter than all of his professors, for example.

            • those had to be some really, really stupid professors!

              what’s sad about the teabaggers is that they get their education from rushbo and faux news, and that “education” is really just brainwashing. they just repeat the slogans over and over, but they have no real understanding of what the words they use mean, and they haven’t a clue about what history has taught us.

              • I was talking to one guy about how “all the Founders were devout Christians.” I asked him about the Thomas Jefferson Bible, and he accused me outright of lying.

                • don’t confront them with facts, wickle. it makes their heads explode.

                  according to wiki:

                  Lambert (2003) has examined the religious affiliations and beliefs of the Founders. Some of the 1787 delegates had no affiliation. The others were Protestants except for three Roman Catholics: C. Carroll, D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons. Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (Episcopalian, after the Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists, the total number being 49. Some of the more prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical or vocal about their opposition to organized religion, such as Thomas Jefferson[12][13] (who created the “Jefferson Bible”), and Benjamin Franklin[14]. However, other notable founders, such as Patrick Henry, were strong proponents of traditional religion. Several of the Founding Fathers considered themselves to be deists or held beliefs very similar to that of deists.

                  • Thomas Paine, Glenn Beck’s new hero, was an outright atheist, too.

                    Even among the Christians, there’s John Adams, who at one point asked George Washington to use less religious language because he didn’t want people to be turned off from God just because they disagreed with Washington’s politics.

                    Kind of an interesting thought, there, isn’t it? As a Christian, I wonder how many people get turned off by my brethren who make jackasses of themselves in politics.

                    • maybe because i’m not religious, it’s difficult for me to understand why religion has to be brought into every single aspect of life. i have no objection to people practicing their religion and holding true to their religious beliefs, but why do they have to push them on everyone else?

                  • “The others were Protestants except for three Roman Catholics: C. Carroll, D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons.”

                    The Carrolls are my relatives and Charles Carroll was my ancestor.

  5. How about stopping the automatic raises???
    Put Congress on a pay freeze till they make sense.

    • that’s not going to do any good. most of the members of congress are independently wealthy, and it wouldn’t bother them a bit if they didn’t get raises. take a look at what some of them are worth. you can enter their names on the right if they aren’t listed and look at them individually.

      • Well if they don’t need the extra cash, we sure do, I understand America has a health care problem/issue & funding is part of the argument.

        • instead of their raises, take away all their perks. no free food, no medical insurance, no doctor on call, no free travel for them (unless it can be proven it’s for the purpose of national security) or their spouses (ever!).

  6. Nonnie, it’s a lot of fear.

    That, and not knowing what religion is supposed to be in a person’s life. It’s one thing to reach out and offer my way of life. It’s another to try to force it.

    I’d like to think that people who know me want to know I live the way I do … and I’ll tell them. If they like it, great. If not, that’s their business. On the other hand, is there anything about Pat Robertson’s life that makes you want whatever he has?

    Heck, I wish there was a cure for whatever he has!

    • i’ve always been a big proponent of respecting other people and trying to do a good deed when the opportunity comes up. i don’t feel like i need a guidebook for that, and the afterlife can take care of itself.

      i find nothing wrong with people discussing religion when everyone involved is discussing it willingly. however, i can’t stand people who scream at me that i’m going to hell (along with my family) if i don’t believe the same things that they do.

  7. i have mixed feelings on term limits – i see the merits and i see the downsides. i agree it should be about campaign finance reform

    and how about:

    making it EASIER to vote by having it on a saturday or sunday (or both) and using consistent machinery across all the states (with a paper trail)

    how about REQUIRING people to vote like they do in some countries and forcing them to participate in the political process. many dont becuase they feel disenfranchised (and we all understand why).

    how about holding elected official accountable and making it more easy to throw them out early if they are not doing their job or are convicted of crimes or visit hookers in diapers

    • dcAp,
      voting should be easier. election day should be election week, and it should be all be on paper. electronic voting is just too easy to manipulate. there should be ballots available by mail, in libraries, in post offices, and in city, county, state, and federal offices, just like tax forms.

      i don’t believe in forcing people to vote. if there were better laws in place, and if politicians were held more accountable and were easier to remove when they screw up, i bet a lot more people would start voting voluntarily.

  8. Term limits?
    They oughtta have turd limits.
    That would get rid of everyone you mentioned.

  9. I’m for term limits, but if we really wanna get rid of these particular turds relatively quickly we need to just vote them out of office. Will it happen? No, but it’s certainly one way to limit their terms.

    • we wouldn’t need term limits if decent people ran for office and people voted for them. honestly, is inhofe the best oklahoma can do? i wouldn’t mind rethugs if they were smart people who could understand the issues and offer reasonable arguments instead of the selfish moronic obstructionists that make up the right side of the aisle now.