Thomas Sowell

Those who oppose term limits express fears of having government run by amateurs, rather than by people with long experience in politics. But this country was created by people who were not career politicians, but who put aside their own private careers to serve in office during a critical time.

When President George Washington was told by one of his advisors that an action he planned to take might prevent him from being reelected, he exploded in anger, telling his advisor that he didn't come here to get reelected.

As for the loss of experience and expertise if there were no career politicians, much -- if not most -- of that is experience and expertise in the arts of evasion, effrontery, deceit and chicanery. None of that serves the interest of the people.

If we want term limits to achieve their goals, we have to make the limit one term, with a long interval prescribed before the same person can hold any government office again. In short, we need to make political careers virtually impossible.

There are many patriotic Americans who would put aside their own private careers to serve in office, if the cost to them and their families were not ruinous, and if they had some realistic hope of advancing the interests of the country and its people without being obstructed by career politicians.

Is any of this likely today? No!

But neither the Reagan revolution nor the New Deal under FDR would have seemed likely three years before it happened. The whole point of presenting new ideas is to start a process that can make their realization possible in later years.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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