Federalism and Congressional Term Limits

Over the decades there have been numerous calls for term limits on members of Congress. Those calls usually rise and fall with Congress’ approval ratings.

The latest call for term limits comes from the Florida legislature, a measure supported by Jim DeMint.

The public’s support and demand for term limits is a sensible response to arrogant, insulated, out of touch, and condescending members of Congress whose primary goal often seems to be reelection rather than public service.

Conservatives are generally of two minds regarding term limits. The side against term limits fears the increased power that would accrue to the unelected 4th branch of government, the bureaucracy, and the loss of truly patriotic and honorable legislators like the aforementioned Jim DeMint. This side doesn’t want to throw the good out with the bad.

The side in favor believes term limits will resuscitate the ‘citizen legislator’ and dramatically reduce the influence of special interests as legislators become less concerned with reelection and the raising of campaign funds.

Both sides have legitimate points but both miss the big picture and the real solution.

By advocating for term limits to reduce the power of federal legislators they are accepting the premise of the supremacy of the federal government over the states. They are rejecting the constitutional structure of our government and the vertical separation of powers. They are rejecting the 9th and 10th amendments.

Restoring federalism will eliminate the need for term limits because most of the powers that are abused by the federal government are rightfully powers that should be exercised by the states. If, via a return to federalism, Congress is once again restricted to only those responsibilities enumerated in the Constitution then the powers that are so routinely abused and that so infuriate We the People will no longer be theirs to abuse. They will be exercised by state and local legislatures whom we are better able to hold accountable.

Furthermore, the concerns about empowering the federal bureaucracy would be eliminated because the responsibilities of those bureaucracies would be devolved back to the states. Why fear an EPA, a Dept. Of Education, et al if their responsibilities are assumed by their state counterparts? Is a Texas EPA likely to elevate a desert lizard over Texas oil development? Would the citizens of Texas put up with it if they did?

Once we have restored federalism and pared back the responsibilities of the Congress to those enumerated in the Constitution is there any longer a need for a full time legislature? A part time Congress would further address the desires of those seeking term limits because we can expect the Congress to only address the critical needs of the nation as they won’t have time for mischief.

In summary, federalism is our strongest weapon against centralized power, the too-powerful Liberal special interest groups that need a strong central government to implement their schemes, and the selfish, arrogant, public ‘servants’ that drive the push for term limits.

If you fear that Obama may be reelected, double your efforts to elect strong, 10th Amendment conservatives to state offices and help create a Red state bulwark against federal power.