U.S. Term Limits, the leader in the national movement to limit terms for elected officials, likes what it is hearing from candidates wanting to succeed South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy.
Four Republicans -- Lee Bright, Josh Kimbrell, William Timmons and Daniel Hamilton – have signed the organization’s congressional term limits pledge. They also committed to proposing term limits on Congress.
USTL President Philip Blumel said, "The support for term limits of Bright, Kimbrell, Timmons and Hamilton show that there are individuals who are willing to put self-interest aside to follow the will of the people. America needs a Congress that will be served by citizen legislators, not career politicians."
The U.S. Term Limits Amendment Pledge is provided to every announced candidate for federal office.
It reads, "I pledge that as a member of Congress I will co-sponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits amendment of three (3) House terms and two (2) Senate terms and no longer limit." The U.S. Term Limits Constitutional Amendment has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate by Sen. Ted Cruz and the House of Representatives by Rep Ron DeSantis.
In November 2017, U.S. Term Limits had more than 50 pledge signers in Congress. Gowdy has been a favorite of the movement, having scored an A rating on the USTL Legislator Scorecard.
The USTL believes it has momentum for term limits, citing a nationwide poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates in January 2018.
McLaughlin's analysis states, "Support for term limits is broad and strong across all political, geographic and demographic groups. An overwhelming 82 percent of voters approve of a constitutional amendment that will place term limits on members of Congress."
Blumel noted, "We have seen a dramatic increase in those wanting term limits on Congress. More than 82 percent of Americans have rejected the career politician model and want to replace it with citizen leadership. The way to achieve that goal is through congressional term limits. Lee, Josh, William and Daniel know this and are willing to work to make sure we reach our goal."
The term limits amendment bills would require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, and ratification by 38 states, in order to become part of the U.S. Constitution.
The goal of those espousing term limits is noble. They want a government that functions better and is more in touch. But will a constitutional limit on the amount of time a person can serve in Congress achieve such?
We think not. The Constitution that is the underpinning of the American system of government gives power to the people through the ballot box. Telling constituents they cannot re-elect a member of Congress takes away from the power of the people.
We may be old school, but South Carolinians should look back on the service of longtime U.S. Sens. Strom Thurmond and Ernest Hollings.
Thurmond, a Republican, and Hollings, a Democrat, understood their state better than the right and left wings of their respective parties. Hollings, while always facing election-year attacks for liberalism, was a conservative Democrat and voters approved of him. Thurmond, while always linked in some fashion to a segregationist record from years before, served long enough to see history recognize him more for being a key player in the rebirth of the GOP in the South.
Both lawmakers, most times working together, were instrumental in developing South Carolina through influence in Washington that critics today would call “pork-barrel politics.”
And what of Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott today? Both earn high marks as lawmakers and enjoy significant popularity at home.
It should remain within the right of Graham and Scott to seek a return to office as many times as they wish, and the right of every South Carolinian to vote either or both out office. Voters and their ballots can impose a term limit on any candidate standing for re-election, whether they’ve served one term or 20-plus years.
Denying them that right and sending new faces to Washington in some arbitrary number of years is no guarantee of better government.