Term limits still a bad idea

One of my Facebook “friends” recently posted a comment to a post I put out there calling for “term limits” in Texas.

Her response was to Gov. Rick Perry’s pending announcement on whether he’ll seek another term  in office. I should stipulate here that my Facebook “friend” is an ardent Democrat who lives in Donley County, Texas; Perry, of course, is an equally ardent Republican who’s served as governor since December 2000.

I’m guessing my Donley County pal’s insistence on term limits is based more than just a little bit on partisan preference.

I need to say it once more: We already have term limits for Texas governor, or for any other statewide office for that matter. We call ‘em “elections.”

I’ve never voted for Perry for any statewide office he’s ever sought and held. Not for agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor or governor.

But since I live in a state where quite often my ballot gets counteracted by others who think differently from me, I accept the reality that majority-rule matters. And I’m totally on board with that.

The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution established a two-term limit for president of the United States. The amendment was pushed through by a Republican-led Congress that had grown fearful of a potential “imperial presidency,” particularly one that featured a four-times-elected Democrat – Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR died only a few months after being elected in November 1944 to his fourth term and the amendment was ratified a couple of years after that.

Ronald Reagan once lamented publicly that he wished he could have run for a third term. So did Bill Clinton.

And even though I’ve never lived in a time when the 22nd Amendment wasn’t the law, I agree with them. The notion of term limits goes against the potential will of the public.

Do I think Rick Perry should be “governor for life”? Of course not. If I had my way, he’d never would have become governor in the first place. Democrat John Sharp – who lost narrowly to Perry in 1998 – would have ascended to the governor’s office after George W. Bush’s election as president in 2000 … if I had my way.

But we don’t need mandated term limits. If someone is doing a bad enough job in office, the voters will take care of him or her at the next election. Rick Perry has managed – and it’s a bit of a mystery to me – to keep enough Texans happy with the job he’s doing to enable him to keep doing it.

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