The Case for Term Limits

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“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”   Lord Acton

We are witnessing the disintegration of our Republic at all levels with legislatures that are composed primarily of a political class of career politicians whose primary interest is getting reelected, not necessarily doing what is best for our country. This was not always the case.

For most of the first 200 years of our country legislatures were comprised of “Citizen” legislators who often spent only a few years in Congress before returning to civilian life. During this period reelection rates were about 50% for incumbents. Since then reelection rates have soared to over 90% and in 2004 was 99%.

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These figures mean that it usually takes death or criminal conviction (scandal alone is insufficient to unseat most incumbents) to breath new life into a long-held seat.  Reelection rates in the high 90% range means that for all intents and purposes career politicians have achieved a degree of immortality. And immortality breeds a lack of accountability. Simply put, a member of Congress who can’t be defeated is not accountable to his/her constituency. This is the primary reason why Congressional Term Limits are needed.

Other good reasons for Term Limits are:

  1. They would reduce the power of staff, bureaucracies and special interest lobbies;
  2. They would break ties to special interests;
  3. They would downgrade power of seniority and favor meritocracy;
  4. They would increase competition and bring new voices and visions to the political conversation;
  5. They would return us to a “Citizen” Congress that our Founding Fathers intended.

Reasonable Term Limits would be:
House of Representatives – three or four two-year terms;
Senate – two six-year terms.

If elected I pledge to pursue a Constitutional Amendment for the above term limits, and I challenge incumbent Leonard Lance to do the same.

Bruce Baker
Republican candidate
NJ 7th Congressional District


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