Sunday, May 15, 2005

Term Limits for Pundits

Paul Jacobs, who is a "senior fellow" at US Term Limits, has a column at Townhall humerously suggesting that the Catholic Church adopt term limits for the papacy in order to draw attention back to his animating issue:

Term limits, after all, make sense for many reasons. (In fact, they make common sense, which is one reason I call my free e-letter Common Sense.) With a career in politics less an option, the republican ideal of citizen involvement could flourish again. And with less time in office, legislators and executives would have less time to consolidate power and accumulate the bad habits of corruption and logrolling and a dozen other features of today's precarious democracy.

. . .

Whether they make sense for the pope, well, that's another matter entirely. And none of my business.

But for public servants in these United States of America? That's every American's business.

This reads more like direct mail advertising copy than a column. I suppose after a while it gets hard to keep flogging such a dead horse of an issue that for a brief time was Really Important. One of the poster boys for term limits, Oklahoma physician, Tom Coburn, who served in the House from 1994 til 2000, when, true to his word, he went back to Oklahoma. Apparantly, the baby doctor tired of delivering new Okies in Muskogee -- he came back to Washington last year as a new U.S. Senator.

Jacobs' column reveals another group that needs to be term limited -- the pundit/foundation hack/Congressional staff/etc. permenant shadow government that has lost touch with America. This is not an original idea, Michael Kinsley suggested it about ten years ago.

Paul Jacob reminds me a bit of Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform. Norquist, who has spent most of his adult life as a Washington lobbyist, told the New York Times Magazine that Republicans don't put down roots in Washington the way that Democrats do.

These people need to spend some time in the Real America. They need to stand in line at Krogers and have Sunday dinner at Shoneys. It would do them a world of good to call up old high school friends and offer them term life insurance. They could adopt as their literary hero, John Huey Ketcham of Bill Kauffman's Every Man A King. In that novel, the hero is a rising young pundit whose career is destroyed after he used a racial slur during his Big Break on Face the Nation. Ketchum takes a fall and winds up home in Batavia, New York; finding happiness and love amonst the white trash of a Batavia housing project. Jacobs and friends should give it some thought.

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