Friday, July 17, 2015
ON TERM LIMITS: AN OPINION
I agree with Gary Olman (see Bob Rivera's blog) that term limits is not "built into" normal voting. I don't know the history of term limits, but I do recall its becoming an Amendment to the US Constitution during Harry Truman's presidency, in response to FDR's having been elected to a fourth term as US president. Until FDR no president had served more than two terms.
Despite the fact FDR was a great president during World War II, there must have been sufficient agreement in Congress (three quarters of the Congress must ratify a Constitutional Amendment, I believe) that FDR's longevity in office was not a good thing. Whether this played into the decision, I don't know, but FDR did try to "pack" the Supreme Court, you may recall.
It is true, as Gary says, the incumbent often has the advantage of name recognition, but he (or she) also has the disadvantage of having made enemies, the more the longer one has been in office.
Note though, that term limits in this country would seem to be the exception and not the rule. Neither US senators nor US congressmen are subject to term limits, and Supreme Court justices serve for life. I think there should be good, solid reasons for having term limits in any particular situation, not just "We need to get rid of the old fogies" or "We need new blood." One reason the Founding Fathers decided on a six-year term for US senators was because THEY VALUED EXPERIENCE IN OFFICE. In his classic Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville, states this.
In our CV situation it is a small group sometimes called the "malcontents" who want term limits applied to the UCO officers. I believe their reasons are self-serving. A number of them have been voted DOWN by their peers. Term limits would increase their chances of being voted into office. Good volunteers have not been that easy to find here. Term limits may be applicable in some situations; I don't believe it is a good idea here. Let these people be elected to office the same way everyone else in CV has been, often starting with the Executive Board.