By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON — Throw the bums out.
That’s the general sentiment of a lot of fed-up Americans after the latest Inside the Beltway meltdown — a 16-day partial federal government shutdown that seemed to only prove how little we really need our federal government and how much we loathe our federal lawmakers.
One of my all-time favorite dead tree news clerks was so frustrated this week she issued a challenge on her Facebook page: Why don’t we just stop re-electing these people and start over?
Throw the bums out — all of them.
An Associated Press-GfK survey poll this week told us what we already know: We don’t like Congress. Just 5 percent of the public surveyed approves of the job House members and senators are doing, and those 5 percent also liked Cop Rock.
“Few things in life are more predictable than the chances of an incumbent member of the U.S. House of Representatives winning re-election,” notes the Center for Responsive Politics, a D.C.-based campaign finance tracker. “With wide name recognition, and usually an insurmountable advantage in campaign cash, House incumbents typically have little trouble holding onto their seats.”
Re-election rates have dipped no lower than 85 percent since 1970. House incumbents boasted a 90 percent winning record in 2012.
As much as voters complain about the dysfunction of government, they seem awfully set on returning to office the people who, arguably, are causing the dysfunction.
But maybe, just maybe, Congress can help.
Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., became the latest federal lawmaker to propose a constitutional amendment calling for term limits on congressional members. Representatives would be limited to three terms and senators to two terms under the amendment.
Like others before it, the proposal has very little chance of making it out of the constitutional amendment process alive.
But maybe, just maybe, shutdowns and fiscal cliffs and debt ceilings and ballooning national debt and bankruptcy bound entitlement programs might up the ante on the term limit dream.
So, today we ask you: If we can’t throw the bums out, can we at least limit their stay?
Is now the time for term limits in Washington, D.C.?
Have at it.
Contact M.D. Kittle at watchdog.org