More on when liberals and conservatives change places

Posted in Liberty at 16:00 by RjZ

Reason Foundation Commentary: Euthanize Federal Mission Creep
“The only hope for preventing federal mission creep in such a state of affairs lies not in any firm principles of either party but in the paralyzing conflicts of their partisan agendas.”

I noticed this article and even linked to it in a comment from my posting about liberal justices uncharacteristically protecting states writes while conservatives dissented, expanding bureaucracy. Here’s a surprise, the folks at Reason agree with me. But it was this quote that summarizes much of my current, alas cynical view, of our government.

For example, I used to believe that term limits weren’t necessarily such a good idea. The truth is that it takes a while to understand how our governmental bureaucracy works and politicians won’t be effective if just as they’re starting to get the hang of things, they are kicked out. Furthermore, it disturbs me that even if we have someone in office who is doing a fantastic job and we want him to keep doing it, he must go, due to term limits.

I’ve changed that view. In practice, politicians seem to learn more about how to work the system than how to work in the system. They seem to become more and more beholden to lobbyists and special interests the longer they are in office. Finally, they seem to become more and more interested in how to stay in office than in how to get the right things done. In short, they become more and more interested in politics of power.

Today I feel that even the inaction that might result from aggressive term limits for our elected officials would be just fine. Between not knowing how the system works and the paralyzing forces of partisan politics they wouldn’t get anything done. As much as it pains me to say, that’d be a lot safer for all of us!

George Washington was one of our great presidents for the simple reason that, unprecedented for a leader before him, he went home after two terms. He was asked to stay on but he refused. He wanted to return to his farm not be a career politician. He felt that the nation he helped found was best served not by career politicians but by a constant cycling of new ideas. No leader had ever done this simple act of giving up office and power before him and this act is critical to the history of the United States henceforth.

As long as today’s politicians can’t remember the meaning behind George’s return to Mt. Vernon and serve their own needs more than the nation, I don’t mind term limits or government paralysis one bit!


  1. Mark said,

    February 1, 2006 at 3:14

    A fine example of cynicism kicking naivete in the ass!

  2. A Random Reader said,

    February 2, 2006 at 11:55

    George Washington was also a pothead, as his diaries confirm. His diaries are replete with comments about being annoyed at not being able to get back to Mount Vernon in time to properly cultivate his hemp plants. This was one of the real reasons why he limited his term of service to two terms. So, perhaps in addition to having mandatory term limits, perhaps we should have the requirement that Presidents and Congressfolk inhale. Maybe then the term “revolving door” would take on new meaning…

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