.
November 11th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Will Congress ever pass a Constitutional amendment imposing term limits?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's an idea that's long past due and it will probably never happen...

A group of Republican senators is proposing a Constitutional amendment to set congressional term limits - 12 years for the Senate and six years for the House.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)

Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina says real change will never happen in Washington until there's an end to the era of permanent politicians. DeMint says lawmakers have been re-elected about 90 percent of the time over the last 20 years - because the system favors incumbents.

We all know the drill: Some spend decades in Washington, get into bed with the special interest groups that feed their campaign coffers and forget all about the people they're supposed to represent.

And we've heard this before... Republicans who gained control of the House in 1994 promised to pass congressional term limits, but once they were in power, they failed to deliver. The Supreme Court later ruled term limits were unconstitutional - which is why this group of senators is trying to change the Constitution.

In order to pass, two-thirds of the House and Senate would have to approve the amendment - along with three-fourths of the 50 states.

As for the power hungry politicians, they say they don't like to mess with the Constitution; and that Americans should be able to vote for whoever they want.

But I would be willing to bet if this idea was put to a vote of the people it would win going away.

Here’s my question to you: What are the chances Congress would ever pass a Constitutional amendment imposing term limits?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Chris from Philadelphia writes:
No. But they should. Politicians like to say that they are servants of the people. The only people they serve are the ones who donate money. They think they are above the law and only work to get re-elected. We the voters have to take it upon ourselves to get rid of these bums.

Chris from Maryland writes:
Hi Jack, As we say in my family, the chances of passing term limits are slim and none, and Slim just left town. And that is as it should be. Citizens today have the chance to impose term limits on their representatives by voting them out of office, but they don't. Why? Because everybody likes "their" senator or congressman, it's those other goofballs who are screwing up the country. It's not an influence thing, it's a familiarity thing. The devil you know, and all that.

Tim from New York writes:
Do you think it matters whether they ever would or not? In New York, the people imposed term limits, and the mayor simply repealed the law when it suited his interests… I'd be surprised if they didn't try to make the positions hereditary.

John writes:
Chances are nil, and that would be right. If I'm happy with my Congress-critter, why can't I keep him/her? Having been a successful representative should not disqualify you from running again. If we want a better Congress, it hinges on campaign contribution reform, not term limits.

Ronald from Florida writes:
I am a 71-year-old guy who still plays tennis and bowls, but I've got as much chance to play running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as we Americans have to see Congress impose term limits on themselves.

Brian writes:
Of course they will, Jack, right after they vote against giving themselves a pay raise!


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Ed Lexington, KY

    Jack,

    I personally favor term limits but doubt if they would ever pass. People are for them, Pols are not. Guess what, Pols win!

    If we really want to improve government we should disallow all tax deductions for any and all money given by lobbyists and donations to politicians. Less money for them, better politics for us.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  2. Frank, Middletown NY

    Jack,

    These crooks vote themselves raises in the middle of the night, what on earth makes you think they will pass a Constitutional amendment imposing term limits?

    November 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  3. Mike in SA

    You're joking, right?

    Their motto is "Once a ruling elite, always a ruling elite."

    November 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  4. John Salamone

    Hi From Connecticut,

    Do you notice that the Republicans campaigned on this in the 1990s, and then when they gained power, they never did it, and now that they are out of power, they suddenly re-discovered term limits. The hypocracy of the Republican party will never cease to amaze me.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  5. Ian in Appleton, WI

    Silly question Jack! Congress will do nothing unless their livelihood is threatened. A Constitutional ammendent that will affect their very livelihood will never see the light of day until America gets off its collective rump and does something about it. This is just how it is. I do however think it would be a good idea because it would force politicians to actually get something done, unlike what they are infamous for doing now. .

    November 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  6. Peter

    This is a great idea! The thought of lifetime politicians that grow out of touch with the real world is something we should put an end to. Though there are great lifetime politicians we do need fresh ideas. I'm for some kind of term limit.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  7. Ken in Mt

    If they would pass meaningful lobyist reforms they wouldn't need it. the same goes for public funding of campaigns.
    This is just sour -grapeing from the party out of power. Term limits has been a disaster here in microcosm and has greatly degraded the legislative process.
    If this is such a great idea why do the Republicans only bring it up when they are out of power?There is also the issue that the people have the right to not reelect as they see fit.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  8. Eric R

    They should have limits or make them go back to school for refresher courses (LOL), how ever I don’t think they are going to vote for an amendment that will ultimately cost them their jobs.

    Eric R.
    Towson, MD

    November 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  9. Peter

    I don't imagine it'll pass though. The very politicians it would effect will be the ones casting the vote? No. Sadly, it won't happen.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  10. Paul Hogue

    I hope they are one in a billion. Term limits has been a disaster in every state that has imposed them. It has put people out of races that were much better qualified, especially in short term seats like the House. Most people want term limits to get rid of someone that doesn't represent them anyway, and not their own candidate.

    It's time for the voting population to take responsibility for their elections. That's right...it's your fault if your congressman or other official is corrupt. We already have a process for getting someone out of office, created many years ago, and it's called an election.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  11. Greg in Arkansas

    Jack, chances are probably pretty slim, but if Congress can figure out how to get all the benefits they want from being in office such a short time, i.e. health care for life or campaign cash converted to personal use, then maybe it has a chance. Otherwise, why would they look the gift-horse in the mouth?

    November 11, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  12. Katiec Pekin, IL

    No, do not think they will, Jack. There are too many career politicians who want it to remain that way. The concept used to be that the voters determined term limits, but do not know what criteria voters use any more as it most certainly does not relate to quality and representing the people.
    The other side of the coin is after a few years these politicians are eligible for a nice retirement, insurance etc. With a six, twelve year
    turnover, do you realize how many politicians would be getting
    cushy benefits from taxpayer money?? Unless that is addressed and changed, they would certainly make a big dent in our assets.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  13. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    ZERO Jack, the leaches all think that the office they were elected to is theirs until they die. I would hope that someone, somewhere with a lot of money can start a movement to get term limits put on the ballots of the states to limit the term of all congressmen and while we're at it put a twenty year limit on the supreme court.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  14. Ken Parker, Mountain View, CA

    Term limits are a guaranteed way to have government for and by lobbyists. We have term limits here in California. What is has meant for us is perpetual gridlock, government by amateur idealogues, and bills written primarily by unrestrained lobbyists who have become the only "professionals" left in Sacramento.
    We HAVE term limiting capabilities: they are called elections. The voting public needs to get of their (our) collective asses and work for the candidates we think best represent us. And we need real campaign finance reform. Term limits are the brainchild of those who oppose the very idea of government.
    Do you really think this country would be better off without the many, many years of service of Edward Kennedy, Orrin Hatch, John McCain, John Dingle, and a host of others?

    November 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  15. Ray in Nashville

    Slim and none, Jack, and slim just left town.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  16. Mac from Louisiana

    Nope. No one wants to seriously let go of power after having it for so long. No Senator is truly working for the people after being in office after two 6 year terms.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  17. Bill Sturges

    The American voting public is ready to vote on this issue. The problems that this country is experiencing now is directly attributable to Congress and indirectly attributable to whomever the President happens to be at that time. Nothing is done without Congressional approval. Career politicians forget about who they are representing and end up selling their soul to lobbyists and special interest groups the longer they stay in Washington. They represent their own self serving interests after they have been in office for awhile. The old arguement is that we will lose experienced politicians and nothing will get done. I contend that nothing is being done now and look at the problems we are dealing with in this country. Career politicians make their living and get reelcted by adding pork to year end bills that benefit some people in their state and when they go home, they can tout that they got this money for the people of their state. Sometimes, the only time we see politicians is when it time to be releected.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  18. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    The chances are zero, Jack, but that's a good thing. All of our congressional leaders have term limits imposed on them by the voters of their state and district, based on voter perception of their performance in office and how they stack up next to their competitor during election. If they do a good job, and the voters want them to continue, why shouldn't we have the choice to keep them?

    This proposed amendment is just a short, and long, term political move by some in the Republican party in an attempt to regain power in the house and senate. But, more importantly, it is a distraction from the real cause behind the issues they proclaim to want to address: the deplorable campaign finance practices in our country. What we really need is Campaign Finance Reform, to the end result that no private entity in this country be allowed to buy votes and favors from our government representatives. Make them represent us, the people; Not campaign financiers; Not special interest groups.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  19. Gail, Plano,Texas

    Members of Congress are like house guests who start to stink after three days. I applaud the senator from SC for proposing this amendment. It is long overdue. The President can only serve 2 terms. Why should Congress be treated differently? Certainly, there have been Presidents that we would have liked to keep in office but that choice was not ours to make. It is time to get rid of the guests that have worn out their welcome!

    November 11, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  20. Chris in Maryland

    Hi Jack,

    As we say in my family, the chances of passing term limits are slim and none, and Slim just left town. And that is as it should be.

    Citizens today have the chance to impose term limits on their representatives by voting them out of office, but they don't. Why? Because everybody likes "their" Senator or Congressman, it's those other goofballs who are screwing up the country. It's not an influence thing (what, you don't think special interests won't donate to term-limited Congress critters?), it's a familiarity thing. The devil you know, and all that. If Senator Demint believes in term limits, then he is free to not run after his one or two terms are done. But past history has shown that those politicians for term limits are really saying they want term limits on their enemies, not themselves or their friends...

    November 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  21. Chuck

    No chance. These people spend 365 days a year worried about re-election. What would they do with all that spare time? Govern? What are you , nuts?

    November 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  22. John, Concord NH.

    I think I would have to file that one under "W" for wishful thinking, or maybe even "H" for highly unlikely!

    November 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  23. susan

    I think term limits might be the only way to truly change the climate in Washington. I have no doubt that the American public would vote YES on this. But I also have no doubt that Congress will vote NO. What else are these lifetime politicians going to do with their lives?

    November 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  24. romadura

    As someone who hails from a state with term limits on its legislators (Michigan), I have seen what was once an orderly congress devolve into two chambers that are deeply divided along partisan and ideological lines. I personally believe that term limits creates a revolving-door type atmosphere in the Capitol, with inexperienced pols coming in on a regular basis to take over seats from legislators who have had just enough time to get on their feet and build the networks needed to get legislation passed. In short, I believe (and have seen) term limits strip away needed experience from the House and Senate.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  25. Paul Barkowitz

    When the Republicans were in the minority, they constantly tried to get term limits adopted.

    But, as soon as they became the majority party in Congress, Republicans dropped it like a hot potato. Never once did they bring up term limits when they were in control of Congress.

    And now, Republicans once again find themselves as the minority party. And, again, we now hear that they want term limits. How predictable. How hypocritical.

    We don't need term limits. If voters don't like a House member or Senator, they can vote for the opposition. The fact is, we have been served well by many long-term members of Congress. Think of the loss that would have occurred if Ted Kennedy could hot have continued to serve his constituents in Massachusetts as well as the American people.

    Paul Barkowitz – Pittsburgh, PA

    November 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  26. John from Boston

    I think term limits are a great idea because it will draw new candidates into the political process, many of whom will presumably have more contact with the everyday life of most Americans than the current political class. If we can't pass term limits, let's at least impose a mandatory retirement age. I find it absurd that we have a senate half-filled with senators over the age of 70.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  27. bonnie from nj

    Jack, I always thought you were a journalist not a stand up comedian. Pretty good joke, though. If they ever did pass term limits I would sincerely believe they know something we don't, like the world really is going to end in 2012!

    November 11, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  28. robert

    I don't belive it will past at all because term limits don't work

    we the people vote our repesentives our congressmen. we have the power to take them out of power with our vote

    the system does not favor incumbents or anyone it is how the amercian people vote.

    so jack no it won't pass at all. it also shows us that republicans are scared of not winning in 2010

    robert of new york city

    November 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  29. Mookr

    I don't want some conservative jerk from South Carolina telling me who I can and cannot vote for. Seems like every time Republicans are out of power, they go for the terms limits.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  30. Moses Malalah

    This is like saying doctors should be career-limited to ensure that patients are always receiving the benefit of the newest therapies and medical philosophies, rather than being treated by old doctors set in their ways with outdated treatments. It ignores the benefits of having a few people who've been at this for 24-30 years and can share their experience.

    Moses Malalah
    Cary, NC

    November 11, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  31. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    I do agree that there should be term limits, but I don't think that I'll hold my breath untill they are enacted.....

    November 11, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  32. Mark from Louisiana

    We need term limits in the worse way, any legislator that would vote against term limits needs to be voted out.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  33. Becky

    I think it's an excellent idea. I've thought there should be term limits for many years now. I also think congressmen/women should serve four years instead of two-8 years total. They should have to serve their full term and not be allowed to quit early to go take another well paying job somewhere else(lobbiest). The exception would be for serious health problem they or family might have. It will never happen though I'm sure.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  34. Terry

    The chances are better for hell freezing over than for Congress to impose term limits on itself.
    Terry
    Beaufort, SC

    November 11, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  35. Jackie in Dallas

    I'd say the chances are pretty slim with our current Congress! Actually though, I hope so, Jack. This is one Republican bill I can get behind.

    However, I'm not of the opinion that the "two terms (or 3) and you're out" is the right solution, either. It does take time for members of Congress to get expertise and knowledge enough to be really effective. Instead, I'd set it at three terms for Senators, and four for members of the House.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  36. Moses Malalah

    f ain't broke don't fix it. We already have term limits. They are called elections. If fact what we really need is to repeal the 22nd Amendment. Term limits on the President are a bad idea too. No 22nd amendment, President Reagan would have won a third term had he chose to run. President Clinton would have won a third term had he chose to run. In a represetative republic to deny the citizenry the choice of whom they wish to lead and elect to office is shameful

    Moses Malalah
    Raleigh, NC

    November 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  37. Eric

    Don't worry, Jack, the congress WILL indeed pass this Constitutional Amendment for Term Limits... right after We The People replace all incumbents, Rep AND Dem, in the upcoming primaries.

    The notion that "they're all a bunch of crooks, except my guy" is what has enabled this mess for so long. Throw them all out, YOURS INCLUDED. This year, I'm voting AGAINST my congressman in the primary even though I like a majority of everything the man stands for.

    And why? Because he's been there too damned long and the Founding Fathers never intended Washington as a place Poor Dandies and Ne'er Do Wells can set up shop for life.

    While we're at it, how about disabling the climate control systems in the Capitol too? The worst thing to ever happen to America was the day they installed air conditioning in the Capitol.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  38. Daniel Tennessee

    Probably slim to none Jack. But let's not forget the long-term politicians that HAVE contributed much to the American people in helping to pass bills and laws BECAUSE of their expertise in negotiations due to their long experience. If we impose term limits on Congressmen like we do for presidents, we may never get another Ted Kennedy, Senator Byrd, Orrin Hatch or Richard Lugar who crossed party lines and hammered out legislation that ultimately helped rather than hurt their constituents or the American people.

    Let's also not forget Jack that if Congressional term limits were passed and enforced, there may be a shortage of qualified candidates to take over when members nearing the end of their terms are forced to step down. I'm for term limits but's let's lengthen them. How about 3 terms for Senators and six terms for Congressman? That way, if term limits are ever passed, it'll be a good 10 to 15 years of time for the next generation to get educated and take over when they come of age and run for office.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  39. Chris - Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Unfortunately, it will never happen and it is so desperately needed. There is no way they are going to get enough support on this on either side of the aisle because they would be voting themselves out of a career. I think this group of law makers is counting on that because I don't believe they really want it either; it just sounds good and they can go back and tell the people "we tried". Just politics as usual.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  40. Moses Malalah

    Great! After years of controlling the House,Senate and the White House, we now get this BIG idea. If anyone believes this is anything more than a GOP attempt to get something to talk about other than "NO", they are delusional.

    Moses Malalah

    November 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  41. Moses Malalah

    Jack!

    If you really want to find out how this doesn't work, check out California's inability to accomplish anything in their legislature.

    Moses Malala

    November 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  42. Len

    Term limits is the real reason nothing ever gets done in Washington.I have been saying this for years.Thank you Senator Jim De Mint for bringing this to the attention of the people.Hopefully it will get discussed more in the media.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  43. Moses Malalah

    Fifty Million Americans have No Health Insurance and Millions More are going bankrupt because of it, and All The GOP has on their minds is Term Limits?? Why do they always manage to come out of the blue with some silly distraction? They Never manage to surprise me.

    Moses Malalah
    Raleigh, NC

    November 11, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  44. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Jack,

    I'm of the opinion that limiting and loosing human capital on Capitol Hill makes it that the Nation looses its capital knowledge and experiences! Now! Don't be cynical about the capital-Capitol knowledge!! What is needed is profound reforms on lobbyists contributions since even if you have officials in Washington serving a limited time; it does not fix the main problem which is the lobbyists are still there! There are better ways to have corporations participate in the democratic life openly and without pushing their own agenda since their voice ought not to be of more value than any other voices of citizens from all walks of life!

    November 11, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  45. Jim - Michigan

    The better question is when will Americans start putting thought behind their votes. It is us, we elect these criminals over and over. The average voter is focused on a single issue and if their guys focuses on the right side of that issue we will re-elect him everytime and be blinded by corruption, false promises or self-serving practices.

    When will Americans put the interest of our nation above party? Why cant a republican vote for a democrate or a democrat vote for a republican – better yet why cant we vote for a independent? We can all shake or heards, listen to news anchors who think they are movie stars tell us how we should think and feel – all the while disgusted by politicians yet it is we who put them in office and keep them there.

    Stop looking and blaming Washington, look in the mirror.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  46. john Springer

    Chances are nil, and that would be right.

    If I'm happy with my congress-critter, why can't I keep him/her? Having been a successful representative should not disqualify you from running again.

    If we want a better congress, it hinges on campaign contribution reform, not term limits.

    November 11, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  47. Ray Kinserlow

    No and they will keep setting their own salaries and benefits.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    November 11, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  48. Stephan

    No because it won't work.

    Anybody who has studied political history knows that term limits prevents compromise and progress.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  49. Wil

    I would love the idea of term limits on Congress but I think it would never pass. No one would like to let go of power that they have. It is too much money and benifits give up being a Congressperson. I don't see this passing no matter which party is in power.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  50. mary stewart,arlington texas

    oh jack..get a grip hon....what else would they do...there are not many job openings for liars and thieves

    November 11, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  51. Charles J

    Jack,

    As far as I am concerned members of the House of Representatives and Senate should be restricted to term limits that are equal to the total number of years allowed a president. In other words no single elected official in our federal or state governments should be allowed to serve more than 8 years. Period, but this will never happen as our elected officials would loose their gravy trains.
    These guys are becoming rich, filthy rich with kick backs, hidden contributions, bribes ect...why oh why would they give all that up.
    We the American people need to start policing this problem by automatically voting them out of office at the end of 8 years. Maybe then things would get done in the best interest of the many. We are in this mess because we as voters have failed to not only expect but demand from our elected officials that they do what is in the best intrest of this country as a whole. I still hold out on that happening, I no longer consider myself affiliated with any single party.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  52. David from Northern Virginia

    No chance anytime soon, unfortunately. We have some real systematic problems in this country - no term limits, no real limits on lobbying, no real mechanisms to locate and end congressional corruption.

    Our country is going to keep falling behind if we can't get that stuff fixed.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  53. ben stockton, calif

    jack, i do agree that term limits would cure a lot of lifetime politicians idea that they are above us .. considering all the perks they get , they have no desire to step down and will do almost anything to get re-elected . the only problem is that we may get a sarah palin type that has no clue about how government works., or you may get a total wingnut or a far left loony.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  54. Amarissa

    Yes, Jack, I think it's a great idea. Also, join this bill in a package with government funded political campaigns only. It is ridiculous that candidates are allowed to spend millions of dollars to promote their lies! Let them work to earn their jobs, walk states and speak to common people at townhall meetings. Enough of Corporations buying candidates for their own profits!
    Miami, Florida

    November 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  55. Chris in Philadelphia

    No. But they should. Politicians like to say that they are servants of the people. The only people they serve are the ones who donate money. They think they are above the law and only work to get re-elected. We the voters have to take it upon ourselves to get rid of these bums.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  56. David

    Never.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  57. Tyler Albertario, Oceanside, NY

    No, it won't, Jack, and to be honest, I don't want it to. The only reason term limits are a pet project of the teabaggers is that statistics have shown that Republicans tend to do better in Senate and House elections where an incumbent Democrat is retiring. The teabagging crowd wants to make term limits become part of a faux populist message when, in reality, if legislators cannot be secure in their jobs as a result of this amendment, even LESS would get done in Congress, which is exactly what Jim DeMint's and the Michelle Bachmann's of this world want.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  58. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    Most Congressional representatives think of themselves as career politicians. In other words Congress forever!! They stay in Congress long after they can even walk; Kennedy, Byrd!

    Why would we think they might want to limit themselves?? They have after all figured out how to give themselves pensions after only a couple of years!!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  59. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    I'm not too optimistic but it certainly needs to be done. They all get too comfortable in there and don't want to stop feeding at the public trough. The situation the country is in today, this most certainly needs to be done. It is what the people want – so give it to them.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  60. mary stewart,arlington texas

    not as long as the nuts are running the asylum

    November 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  61. Nancy, Tennessee

    Passing a Constitutional amendment by the very people who it would affect adversely sounds like a daunting task. It will be hard to get these lawmakers to create law that would change their life long employment to actually serving in Congress and moving on. I say it won't happen. We the people can limit terms by voting them out of office.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  62. Ken in NC

    Jack, if you have a job where you get to vote yourself a pay raise, lobbyist throw money at you like politicians sling mud, big companies throw money at you 25 hours a day you get 6 to 10 weeks a year vacation and don‘t have to do anything when you are at work except when you are on the floor of the House or Senate in front of the cameras. Would you limit that employment?

    November 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  63. Lee in TN

    Congress might pass term limits if the American people could ever succeed at 2 things:
    1) Taking away their excessive lifetime benefits.
    2) Make it illegal for lobbyists to donate money to their campaign "slush" funds.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  64. Steven M.

    Oh, Jack. You must be new.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  65. Scarce

    12 years for the Senate? 6 years for the House?

    DeMint purposely made the limits too short to be taken seriously, as was undoubtedly his intent.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  66. Rory Murray

    Jack,
    Of course they will. The day after they refuse to take their automatic pay raises!! Sarcasm aside, they ALL need to be voted out. Especially Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. I USED to be a Democrat!
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino,CA

    November 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  67. Karl from SF, CA

    Jack, I’ll bet $2.00 on that snow ball in hel, first. Unless we all march on the Capital with pitchforks and demand it, it ain’t gonna happen. The leaches would have to go home and get a real job. I would even settle for public financing only and put everyone running on an even plain. It would get rid of most lobbyists, cut way back on campaign ads and make those clowns actually work for us and not just re-election funding. How novel, a country of the people, by the people and for the people being run by the people and for the people. It could even make our forefathers quit rolling over in their graves. Don’t wake me up, this is too good.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  68. Justin from NC

    If Congress ever imposes term limits, who will be left to take money from out kids?

    Seriously, this idea makes too much sense – Congress would never go for it.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  69. Phillip

    I believe that if we imposed one after FDR, arguably one of the best presidents we ever had, then it is not outrageous to think it will happen to legislatures.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  70. Eric - Houston

    I certainly hope there is little chance. If their constituents don't want career politicians they won't vote them back into office. All term limits do is allow people from other jurisdictions to limit who the legitimate voters want to elect. I am not ready to through in the towel and give up my right to pick who I choose to represent me, just because others don't pick who I like to represent them. The constitution is hard to change because few changes are actually improvements.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  71. BethW

    Never goin' to happen, unless there's a referendum... but who's going to propose it?

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  72. Silas - Bostton

    There's no way they'll go for term limits because the longer you're in the more power you get and the more special interest money you "earn". And members of Congress ain't gonna bite the special interest hand that feeds them! If there was ever a poster child for term limits it's Michelle Bachman - imagine HER as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee..

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  73. Brian

    Of course Congress won't pass this amendment. A lot of them would be voting for their jobs! I'll think they'll stick with another big paycheck instead of looking for a new job. But the thing is, nothing can get done in Congress unless its be Senators or Representatives with seniority. In the end, this is a classic conundrum.

    Brian,
    Atlanta, Georgia

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  74. Erik Clark

    Term limits are in mind the easiest and best answer for all the partisan power hording in congress. Men and women serving decades in the greatest nest of power on the planet are, by nature, going to be turned by it. I have a hard time believing that a room predominately controlled by post 50 white males, making over 200k a year represents that true depth and breadth of the American population. I don't even know a person that fits this discription.
    After years of living working and breathing in the political pool of Washington, these once well meaning men and women become instruments of their party affiliations, their contributing interest groups and friends of friends in Congress and business. They lose site of the people they represent and the interests of those people.
    I applaud Rep Glaw of Louisianna for getting out of the shadow of the partisan nay saying of his party and actually voting in the best interests of the people he represents. He is a freshman Congress member and more than anything else proves the Term Limits are needed to get new blood into the power structure of Congress.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  75. Anna, Miami

    Politicians are like diapers, they both need to be changed frequently and for the same reason.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  76. Matt

    I would say no, but can we really blame them? What percentage of them would count themselves out of the next election with any type of term limit? Conflict of interest? I'd say so.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  77. Justin from Concord NC

    If Congress ever imposes term limits, who will be left to take money from out kids?

    Seriously, this idea makes too much sense – Congress would never go for it.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  78. Paul

    Of course not. But it is a nice sound bite for politicians to gain favor with American voters to favor term limits.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  79. Jane Favor

    I have been advocating this for YEARS! Chances? Zip, Nada, not a snowball's chance in hell! The incumbents will NEVER EVER set limits on their own power. It will take a referendum by the people, FOR the people to make it happen.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  80. Joseph Kraatz, Oceanside, CA

    Term limits are the problem here in California. The unions ended up financing all the campaigns and their cronies ended up in office. Same in San Diego. The state and its cities on now on the verge of insolvency. Term limits is not the answer. Money limits to campaigns is the answer.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  81. Gervin, virginia beach

    this will never happen because it is not convenient and not in their interests too

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  82. Clint from Tulsa

    You hit the nail on the head, Jack. Everyone knows it should happen, but it won't happen till hell freezes over.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  83. Bernadette Loesch

    Jack, The next Ice Age will come quicker than Term Limits for our wealthy entrenched Congressional Representatives. No one, and I mean no one has it better in their jobs. Aides, influence, money, money and more money.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  84. Justin from Concord NC

    If Congress ever imposes term limits, who will be left to take money from our kids?

    Seriously, this idea makes too much sense – Congress would never go for it.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  85. Dann

    What are the chances Jack?

    Slim and none... and Slim is out of town.

    D.

    Vancouver, Canada

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  86. Stephen Fox

    The chances are slim, Jack.

    But, better than term limits would be making it illegal for corporations to lobby or donate to politicians, elected officials or those running for office. And, to make it illegal for an individual to do it *on behalf of a corporation*.

    If that wouldn't stop it, it would really slow down the corruption. If corporations could not lobby and try to influence a bill or a vote, that leaves individuals with more power, and leaves politicians with less choice than to listen to their constituency.

    –Stephen Fox
    Panama City, Florida

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  87. Ronald Vierling

    I am a 71 year old white guy who still plays tennis and bowls, but I've got as much chance to play running back for the Tampa Bay Buccanners as we Americans have to see Congress impose term limits on themselves.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  88. Rory Murray

    Jack,
    SNOWBALL+HELL=Congressionally Imposed Term Limits
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino,CA

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  89. Col. Brian Commons

    Of course they will Jack, right after they vote against giving themselves a pay raise!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  90. Gary

    Term limits will happen as quickly as removing the corporate boards and wall street, if left to those in power! Left to the popular vote it could happen tommorow.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  91. Christopher Smith

    This will never happen in the future because this messes with the political power structure in D.C. What does every person with power want? More power. There is nothing wrong with hoping for change, but in the real world, change sometimes never happens.
    Kalamazoo, MI

    November 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  92. Ronda (from Canastota, NY)

    How about "a snowball's chance in hell," Jack? Is that the right answer? (Here's a hint: YES)

    November 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  93. Jim Morrison

    Term limits is a terrible idea, but it is not surprising that Senator DeMint would be a proponent. Senators and Representatives need to be in Washington long enough to find the restroom before they understand what the hell is going on. Term limits only increases the power of lobbyists and unelected staffers. The problem isn't the length of time they spend in office, but what they do–or fail to do–while there.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  94. Brandon Winford - Durham, North Carolina

    Whoever heard of Congress passing anything that was in the best interest of Americans? They will do what is in the best interest of the small groups of lobbyists, etc. that they really serve. Not likely to happen.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  95. lisse

    One word jack, "Never!"

    November 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  96. Paul - Roch., NY

    The same group that votes themselves a raise we are now asking if they'll vote to limit their terms? This makes sense and is something I've been advocating for a long time. Notice where I said, "makes sense." Congress and sense – an oxyimoron.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  97. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Barry Goldwater once said: "Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed."

    There is not a political party nor a politician that does not seek absolute power, and though neither will ever obtain that absolute power, they will never stop trying. Therefore, Congress will never pass a term limit amendment as their lives have come down to power and greed as the higher power.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  98. Dave, Indianapolis, IN

    Jack, term limits are a no-brainer. We have term limits for Presidents, mayors – even city councilmen! Imposing limits on the terms of public servants will enable us to fight corruption and put an end to the era of career politicians. A newcomer with a genuine desire to make a difference doesn't stand a chance against a seasoned political veteran who has the establishment behind him. Term limits should have been legislated long ago.

    Dave
    Indianapolis, IN

    November 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  99. Adam Givens

    Great Idea! But what about the lobbyist who, take advantage of the term limits, will be there long after a politician is term limited?

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  100. Thelma Sims Dukes

    That will be the day we ice-skate in hades.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  101. Casey from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

    Jack,

    It will never happen because Senators from small states, regardless of which political party they are will fight it to defeat it because it will give much more power to the bigger states.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  102. Jose Mauricio Valles

    Will Congress ever pass an amendment for term limits, no. The idea may sound great on the surface, however, term limits on Congress would reduce its efficiency as a legislative body. Mexico has a form of term limit on its legislature and it has proven to reduce the output of the Congress.

    Granted, changing Members of Congress ever 12 years or so might produce fresh thinking, however, who is to say it will change for the better.

    The American Congress should remain as is.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  103. Catty

    Chances are minimal...but since when is congress doing things for the good of the country and not just the good of their wallets?

    Whether you're a democrat, republican, or anywhere in between, nothing could be better than setting term limits for congress!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  104. Jon

    Jack, this would never pass. Look at who is proposing it: the GOP. They only want to discuss term limits when the Democrats are in power, but conveniently forget it when they are in power. Plus, what you and I are thinking of as term limits is not the same thing to them.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  105. Dan in Seattle

    An EXCELLANT idea Jack! Unfortunately, as long as there are elected people like Joe Lieberman, to name only one, nothing will change. We, the American pleople are as much at fault regarding this as those clinging to power. We re-elect them over and over. Of course, they lie to us nearly everytime they open their mouth, but it's US, that allow those lies to continue. If "the people" would spent as much time working for term limits as they do complaining about our elected officals, term limits would become reality.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  106. Dodie

    To impose congressional term limits for Congress will Never happen! Why? It’s an oxymoron, as those in power do not want to give it up! I would like to see a 6 year limit, but that is just a dream.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  107. Kyle

    I don't think the Congress will pass term limits and I'm not really in favor of them in the first place. While members may get involved with special interest by staying in Washington for long periods of time, they also become experts on issues. A constant turnover of members gives them a chance to start to learn the how to legislate effectively and efficiently and then they are forced out. This would probably lead to even more gridlock that you currently see in Congress because no one would know what they are doing. If Ted Kennedy was limited to 12 years in the Senate, I am confident we would never have had any of the programs, like S-CHIP, that protect the less fortunate, vulnerable Americans.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  108. Harry

    Jack, They are NEVER going to pass something like that for one simple reason...greed. They're making too much money and have too much power to ever say enough is enough.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  109. Leroy Johnson

    I think that it would be wonderfull putting term limits on the congress and senate seats in Washngton. Aftrer all these are the law makers who never wants to make a change for the country , their only worried abought keeping the big dollars in their pockets and makeing sure their kids and grand children stay rich!!!!!!!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  110. Tyler Albertario, Oceanside, NY

    No, it won't, Jack, and to be honest, I don't want it to. The only reason term limits are a pet project of the teabaggers is that statistics have shown that Republicans tend to do better in Senate and House elections where an incumbent Democrat is retiring. The teabagging crowd wants to make term limits become part of a faux populist message when, in reality, if legislators cannot be secure in their jobs as a result of this amendment, even LESS would get done in Congress, which is exactly what the Jim DeMint's and the Michelle Bachmann's of this world want.

    Tyler Albertario
    Oceanside, NY

    November 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  111. Pat Henkels

    As you said not in out lifetime. However, if the apathetic American public would unite and vote against all of the incumbents in the 2010 elections do you think that Congress would get the message? Persistence is the name of the game . I think a time for a new amenment is here!!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  112. Paul Felten

    The chances that Congress will impose this on themselves is near zero. Our Congressman Souder (Indiana) promised when he first ran in 1994 that he would not run for re-election after two terms (four years). Of course, he's still in office.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  113. Francisco

    Are you kidding me? Republicans are all words but no action. I can't wait to see the response including the Supreme Court if it ever makes it. I bet the justices will have something to say about it. In comparison, let's ask our new NJ Governor Christie to see if he wants to change our state constitution so he can sit his fat butt for another eight years.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  114. Annie, Atlanta

    Not a chance. These people have no intentions of leaving their cushy jobs in the make believe world of Washington DC, where their every wish comes true, thanks to their corporate masters.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  115. Bright N.

    Jack, you rightly challenged this idea that Congress won't but the people will. I agree with you on that. Thanks

    November 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  116. Dodie

    To impose congressional term limits for Congress will Never happen! Why? It’s an oxymoron, as those in power do not want to give it up! I would like to see a 6 year limit, but that is just a dream.

    Dodie
    Irvine, CA

    November 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  117. Jim

    Sure, right after they adopt social security as their pension plan and single option for their health care

    November 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  118. Ketch

    Jack, there are two chances that congress will advocate a term limits bill - slim and none! ...and Slim just left town. I will not live long enough to see that happen. I have a great-grandchild - unborn - who will not live long enough to see that happen.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  119. Ken

    We have term limits they're called elections. So many times we hear of the negatives of Congressmen and Senators staying too long. I understand those arguements. However, if you don't like the job they're doing, it's your job as an American to vote them out! Term limts would prevent the politicians who are doing thier job from staying office.

    Ken
    Goodyear, AZ

    November 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  120. Pam Fla

    Hi Jack, My views are even more extreme. One Term. That's it. No more re-election committee forming as the election results are coming in.

    Pam
    Fl

    November 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  121. jashmore

    I think that would solve so many problems in our government if there were term limits on congress, including senate and house. If our president can only serve 2 terms or 8 years, why should those "bozos" on the hill be allowed to "rest and roost" up there?

    I am in favor of limits and I think it should be no longer than 8 years and that if they last that long, they are barred from running again.

    Just think of the new ideas and new thinking that would happen!!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  122. sean

    No chance of that ever happening. and besides if they want to really do something regarding that they should make the term limits the same for both. this is just a republican ploy to reduce the limits on the House because there alot more democrats in the House than there are republicans.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  123. vern-anaheim,ca

    jack,it will never happen in my lifetime or my kids,or their kids because most polititions are too entrinched in their jobs with all the perks they get.i don't believe the founding fathers intended for people to stay in office for a lifetime,they favored a change occasionaly .once these polititions get in office it is nearly impossible to get them out.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  124. Marge

    Congress PASS limits on their own jobs–NEVER!! If the people are allowed to vote–YES!! Consequently, it won't happen in our lifetime and they will continue to vote in THEIR best interest and NOT for the people that elected them to get there. Everything is so corrupt, it's astounding. Plus, I'm waiting to hear that they haven't voted a raise for themelves this year, as us seniors won't be getting one with Social Security. Want to make a bet on that happening?

    Marge
    Bend, OR

    November 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  125. Queenee

    Yes, there should be term limits. We have limits for every other poliical office. If not, we'll keep getting what we're getting; the same old stuff warmed over!

    Queenee
    New Orleans, LA

    November 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  126. mark pribble Anna Illinois

    NEVER, its the love the money and power. As far as a group of Republicans proposing term limits, its window dressing. They all no it will never pass they just want the credit for bringing it up to make the GOP look good, so they can say they tried to change.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  127. Darlene

    Darlene from Tennessee

    Most of the politicians in Washington are playing a game with the lives of the American people. They are on power trips that will never end, just look, they do not care if you have healthcare or not only if they or their family members are insured and on top of that, we the American people pay for their insurance. Go figure, Crooks, all of them.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  128. Doug

    It will never happen.
    These guys may be crooked, but they aren't stupid.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  129. John

    I do not think it is a good idea to set term limits on Congress, you do not want a constant influx of new people that have to be taught the ropes, our country is already in bad shape the last thing we need is a bunch of Sarah Palins running congress

    November 11, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  130. Adam Phx

    even if it passed it wouldn't change a thing – if anything it would make them more eager to make friends in industry, knowing they will soon need a job...

    we need elections financed by the voters to get their attention – but you won't air this comment as you work for a giant multinational corporation that benefits from the status quo...

    November 11, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  131. Jim Watson

    Yes, absolutely Congress should have term limits. No, I don't think I will see it in my lifetime. "The people should be able to vote for whomever they want"? BS. Citizens vote for incumbents, because the devil known is better than the devil unknown. But I'm sure the good Members of Congress are completely unaware of this.

    More radical thoughts: no laws may be passed excluding their enforcement on Members of Congress. No Congressional retirement plan. They are citizen-servers, right? Why would they want such an unpatriotic thing?

    Remove the perks, remove the automatic reelection, and maybe, just maybe, we might return to a Congress envisioned by the original signers of the Constitution.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  132. William

    Dear Jack:

    Asking our elected officials to self-impose term limits is like asking someone to cut their own throat; they won't do it. If you want the throat cut, you have to do it yourself, which is why Article V of the constitution sets out another approach to amendment. The states themselves can propose amendments through their legislatures and then ratify those amendments, bypassing the Congress completely. Term limits would be a great way to start breaking the power of money in the House and Senate.

    However, there are other ways to limit the probability of an incumbent winning every time. Why not just make incumbents win by an increasing margin each time they are re-elected (meaning the second time around, for example, they would have to get 52% of the vote to win, then 53%, 54%, etc.)? Of course, we don't do interesting things like that, but if we did, I think it could work.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  133. Greg

    Term limits are a simplistic solution to a complex problem and they have been a DISASTER here in Michigan. Our legislators are a bunch of hyper-partisan no-nothings who can't get along and can't get anything constructive accomplished. They don't know each other, don't like each other, they don't know how to legislate and have no interest in solving problems – they are just there to represent the special interests that gave them the money to get elected, collect their lifetime health and pension benefits and get out.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  134. Bruce Tallini

    Term limits for Congress would be wonderful. Career politicians are one of this Country's greatest problems. The Democrats have all the power now; Wouldn't it be great if they used this power to insure that we have a government that is by, for and of the people?

    November 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  135. Charlie Weidig

    Let's hope we don't live long enough to see it. Term limits are unconstitutional. It stems from the desire of Americans who are too lazy to go out "vote the bums out." The American people want term limits to do the job for them so they don't have to go out and vote. And if we happen to elect someone who has the intelligence and experience, who really does the job well, and knows how to get the job done, sure...he can't run again. Makes no sense to me. The founding fathers knew what they were doing. Leave the Constitution alone.
    Katie
    Huntington, NY

    November 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  136. Gavin

    I believe such a change could only occur if called to the attention of Mr. Obama. With his backing the chances are definitely better, and as this is presented by the right, the currently empowered left can finally claim some legitimate bipartisanship by doing that which hasnt been done in my life time: changing the constitution. (My apologies for the run-on sentence)

    Gavin
    Roanoke Rapids, NC
    19

    November 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  137. Marc in Dallas

    Jack, Well none. I'm afraid the damage has been done! What we need to get this done is the 4th branch of government namely you the media. I think your right the people of this country would jump on that in a second, but I'm afraid the people that are supposed to represent us care more about maintaining power rather than serving the people that elect them. Give lots of media attention to those fine Senators willing to support this idea and maybe the people will eventually demand it!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  138. Nico

    While I love your segment in the Situation Room and I do believe CNN to be one of the least biased media outlets, however I've noticed a trend growing with the Cafferty File. Quit imposing your hints on the viewer before the Cafferty File becomes the Glenn Beck File, it has been a solid segment for as long as I can remember stop trying to pull emotion driven responses your viewers. Let the viewer come up with his own, fact based response.
    Carbondale, IL

    November 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  139. eltee

    Jack - Term limits are not the panacea that at first blush they would seem to be. One need only look at California’s attempt to reduce the influence of lobbyists in Sacramento with the implementation of term limits. The effort had just the opposite effect. Once accountability is removed then some form of havoc ensues. Furthermore the possibility of greatness is immensely diminished. - eltee from the lower right hand corner of ND

    November 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  140. Carl

    Not going to happen. As you yourself said, the vast majority of Congress is re-elected time and again. Would you vote in favor of giving up your job? Regardless of whether it is a good idea or not, I doubt most members of Congress would choose to have their tenure forcefully limited. Furthermore, most voters don't seem to have a problem with whoever it is they voted for; it's the other 530 or so they don't like so much.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  141. Matt

    I don't think Congress will ever pass term limits and don't think they should. Term limits stifle the democratic process by denying people the right to reelect a good politician. When implemented on small scales, such as on mayors, the result has been an unchallenged eighty years because people simply wait for the term to expire instead of challenging the incumbency. It also decreases a politician's accountability if they know they can't be reelected no matter how horribly they do. And the power of interest groups, which revolve around forming relationships with powerful politicians, would decline, which is not something that should happen.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  142. George

    There are but a few elected officials in Washington upon whom I'd wish term limits and they all have R's after their names. Pick any number of them why don't ya. Everybody else may stay. Memphis, TN

    November 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  143. Dan, Chantilly VA

    Around the same time we get campaign finance reform, a ban on excessive hyperbole, and a viable third party. So around the third Tuesday after never.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  144. Rena D Seidl

    No, not any more thanthey will vote to take away their "Golden Fleece" retirement. It truly is time that we the middle class put our heads together and put some restrictions on this group of crocks and down right arrogant piss ants, who have no common sense.know nothing of how we live, but think they have the right to make all these stupid, exorbitant rules for us and expect us to blindly fallow them.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  145. Chris Greig

    We have term limits in Michigan – they stink. We have real problems facing this state and our politicians have no depth in solving them. They need time to forge relationships across the aisle.

    Term limits actually foster partisanship. They sound like a good idea, but they do not work. We are in a stalemate with funding education in this state, but all the politicians can do is tow the party line because they haven't been or won't be around long enough to learn to work together. Think about all the legislation Ted Kennedy sponsored with Republican collegues. Term limits will eliminate the outstanding servants of the people that have found their true calling.

    Learn from Michigan's mistake. You have to vote 'em out if you don't like them!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  146. John Quarles

    If we're going to change the Constitution, then we should make the Senate a 2 year term too and then both the House AND the Senate would have a 6 year term limit. If these rascals in the Senate had to run every two years then maybe they would listen to their constituents. They would be gone in six years no matter HOW much money they take from lobbyists.

    If WE REALLY WANT to clean up the mess, we should take money OUT of politics and not allow business to pay for the favoritism they get from the crooks. AFTER ALL, WHO represents US.....the COMMON FOLKS ! ! !

    November 11, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  147. Alfred Hestle

    Jack we have term limits already at the voting booth. ( VOTE THE
    BUMS OUT.)

    November 11, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  148. Pat Cannon

    Not only not in my lifetime but not in the lifetime of my great great great grandchildren

    November 11, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  149. Lenie Rennie

    Term limits?........and give up on all that public healthcare?.........Yeah, right!!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  150. james douglas

    Jack,
    I am sure there will eventually be term limits in the US Congress, but not until hell freezes over.

    Jim Douglas
    Harrisburg, PA

    November 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  151. Louis A. Carliner

    In states that have it, like Florida, term limits for the legislative bodies have proven to be a cure much worse than the disease itself! What happens is that with committees led by inexperienced leaders, the staff and special interests, not subject to term limits end up shaping the results! Also, the one party in power will simply arranges swaps, like that of a county commissioner and a state representative, when they reached their respective limits! At the end of a term, there is the spectacle of a representative cutting deals for cushy jobs with the same special interests that trash the citizen's best interest!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  152. Edward Jody Jody

    Slim & none & slim's left town! I've spoke with friends of both parties & the one thing we do agree on is term limits! What ever happened to the "citizen representative"? The country could save millions from pensions & health care from eliminating life long politicians!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  153. Robert Wilson

    Jack,

    The odds are zero and I hope it never passes. What, Jack, does that special interest money buy? Lots of ads on TV and radio, campaign staff to make phone calls, lawn signs, etc. Well, here's an idea: why don't people use their power of reason to evaluate the arguments being made the way they evaluate candidates on American Idol and ignore all the money being thrown at campaigns? I've seen entrenched, well-funded politicians in my district use their money to throw ads my way, and you know what I do? I make up my own mind and if I disagree with them I vote for the less well-funded candidate! Don't tell me that politicians become entrenched by special interest money, they become entrenched by lazy voters that respond to what that money buys. We don't need a constitutional amendment to make up for our stupidity, laziness, and misguided priorities, we need a better electorate.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  154. Carol Auburndale, Fl

    Jack, It is time for the American people to demand term limits. These clowns haven't got a clue what the middle class and poor in this country are going through. I would like to get petition drives going in all 50 states to put the term limitations on the ballots and let the people vote. These clowns would be out of there!!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  155. John

    Why don't the people of each state vote on setting term limits for politicians and the elected politicians use THAT vote for THIER vote? After all, the government and constitution is BY the people and FOR the people. Start voting on the hill for what the PEOPLE want YOU to vote for, or you're out!!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  156. Vic Garcia

    Jack,
    If there is such an outpouring of feeling against Congress, why not use the other way to modify the Constitution. Two thirds of the state legislatures call for a convention and then have 3/4 the states ratify their proposal. Would that be any easier? Never has been done in our history!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  157. Matt

    NO. Putting all cynicism about that being an act of limiting their own power, the reasons for term limits on an executive are not really present with respect to a legislator/representative. Moreover, seniority, experience, connections from having been there so long, etc., all actually benefit the district being represented. If you're in a district with a 30 year career representative, you love it. If you're next door and have a freshman representative, you probably hate it. This woul dnever get past the entire process of a full blown Constitutional Amendment.

    The REAL answer is killing the lobbying industry outright and passing reforms to election funding laws to prevent the abuses that still exist. THAT, however, will be even harder to accomplish than getting them to forgo enacting their next pay raise. This term limit crap though? Smokescreen political move. They love pretending to address the issue with nonsense legislation that won't get anywhere. It lets all of them posture and position themselves and strut around like political peacocks while nobody really has to be afraid of the consequences if the bill passes or fails.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  158. David

    Term limits will prove useless and counterproductive. Elections are term limits. Take money out of the process and make candidates stand on their own is one road to improvement and then address gerrymandering. These are the first changes necessary to change politics in this country. Term limits just make full time staffers and lobbyists more powerful and the elected official more corrupt.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  159. Bill

    No they will not pass term limits. They should however. Eight years for the President, six years for Sentors and four year for representatives. Their retirement should be the same as Veterans with the same amount of service.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  160. Matt

    NO. Putting aside all cynicism about that being an act of limiting their own power, the reasons for term limits on an executive are not really present with respect to a legislator/representative. Moreover, seniority, experience, connections from having been there so long, etc., all actually benefit the district being represented. If you're in a district with a 30 year career representative, you love it. If you're next door and have a freshman representative, you probably hate it. This woul dnever get past the entire process of a full blown Constitutional Amendment.

    The REAL answer is killing the lobbying industry outright and passing reforms to election funding laws to prevent the abuses that still exist. THAT, however, will be even harder to accomplish than getting them to forgo enacting their next pay raise. This term limit crap though? Smokescreen political move. They love pretending to address the issue with nonsense legislation that won't get anywhere. It lets all of them posture and position themselves and strut around like political peacocks while nobody really has to be afraid of the consequences if the bill passes or fails.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  161. Citizen

    "ZERO"

    November 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  162. pat

    the chances are about as good as them passing a health care bill that helps the taxpayers of this country. in other words NEVER!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  163. Jim in Springfield, IL

    Never happen....One of our local congress members pledged not to serve more than 6 terms. Then he changed his mind and was re-elected to a 7th term. I guess we get the representatives we deserve.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  164. Charlie Weidig

    And P.S. Jack. All those complaints about Congress voting itself a raise...that's how our system works. Why blame them for what is prescribed. All of those who complained would vote themselves a raise in a New York minute if it was in their work contract.
    Puh–leeeese!
    Katie (not Charlie) Weidig
    Huntington, NY

    November 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  165. julia a exley

    Dear Jack,

    I wrote my senator about 5 years asking the same question to no avail.. I suggested one 6 yr.term for all members of congress, ten years for the Supreme Court and a mandatory retirement age of 65. When the constitution was written I don.t believe the writers ever thought men would live to be 90 or 100 yrs. old. We don.t need any more Strom Thurmonds.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  166. Al Viera

    Ending term limits will never happen. You might as well hope for universal health care, a fair flat tax and universal education for all. The end of our obession with attacking underpowered third world countries,who then turn around and give us a good fight, might have a better chance. Who are we kidding......not me.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  167. Sly, from Michigan

    Yes, On my "Second Life".

    November 11, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  168. howard

    finally something worthwhile to pass. who cares if a republican proposed it at this time. attacks should be on the chief's policies and lying character. let's see if the moderator deletes this post.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  169. Roger Przytulski Rockford IL

    Just ask Sen Joe Lieberman why he wants to stop health care reform with a public option, could it be specialo interest money to himself that he really wants to protect. Or better yet, ask my wife what she thinks since she cannot obtain descent health care insurance. I myself, like my government health care from the VA, even if I have it because of agent orange exposure while in Viet Nam – isn't it great Pres George W protected the chemical companies from that mistake in our history?

    November 11, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  170. Jan Collins

    It takes about 24 hrs. in Washington for a politician to become corrupted. If this group of clowns are really serious, they should propose totally publicly funded elections. It's not the number of years served that is the problem; it's the number of dollars being shoveled into campaign war chests that corrupts the whole system and gives us this muck we are mired in.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  171. mike c

    Congress can't even agree on feeding it's poor or funding a war. How can they agree on term limits for itself. They should change the the name from Congress to the American three ring circus. I haven' t seen so many clowns and juggling around in my life.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  172. George in CA

    Constitutional term limits for legislators House and Senate.

    Let's get real. First, we all know of politicians who we want out of office, but we cannot do anything about it because they are elected by a different state or district from our own.

    One way to force out such a person is to create term limits. That way, even his/her supporters in his/her district cannot keep what they consider a good, honest politician in office to do the job they want done.

    The fact that the incumbent has an advantage is a result of laziness of the electorate as much as the virtue or lack of it in the politician. Furthermore, the fact that the legislator does face re-election is a more powerful incentive to be true to the wishes of the voter than the knowledge that he or she cannot be re-elected, no matter how good or bad he/she is.

    It is naive to think that ones morality will changed by gaining more power over time. If that is true, then it is all the more important for the free press and the other watchful groups to expose the efforts of those who would corrupt and those who become corrupted.

    George

    November 11, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  173. Barb from , Mich

    About as good of chance as a snowball staying frozen in hell! Although, if Rick would do his Follow the Money" segment every day of the week and follow it up by putting a list on the front page of the CNN homepage, I'll bet there would be alot of interested viewers. It would be the first thing I'd read
    every morning and I bet I wouldn't be in the minority either Cockroaches can only stand bright light for short periods of time.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  174. Kyle

    I agree that change will never come to Washington until we can remove the cronyism that has been allowed to fester. However, I'm not going to hold my breath on Congress imposing term limits on themselves.

    Kyle, Clarksville, TN

    November 11, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  175. Barbara

    How about this, Jack? Let's abolish the congress. They seem to vote only according to how it will sway their constituents, not what ultimately would benefit the country. Why can't the people vote on these important issues ?

    November 11, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  176. James In Atlanta

    About as much a chance as we are having abolishing the Electoral College..

    Term limits would be a good idea since most when they get to Washington put out the for sale sign and the campaign contributions start filling their coffers and they vote not inline with the people they represent and/or in lockstep with party lines.

    I know this for a fact because I live in Georgia and the senators of my state have not voted in line with the public opinion concerning health care and the public option. Both to this point have voted in lockstep along party lines.

    I to not know how good our chances are of replacing them but I will work hard to put them out of office because they no longer represent the people they serve.

    James In Atlanta

    November 11, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  177. Jeff

    Great idea, but Congress will only do it if there is a serious threat of their all being voted out of office if they don't, which doesn't seem likely.

    And term limits are only part of the fix – we also need to have mandatory public financing of campaigns with a ban on all other campaign financing and advertising.

    Otherwise the politicians will stay in the pockets of the high bidders, and the rest of us will all lose – again and again.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  178. Linda

    I am strongly against term limits. Our constitution guarantees us the right to vote for whomever we want to and as many times as we want to. It is our guaranteed right and I agree with it 100%. If someone in office is doing a good job, It is my right to be able to vote for that person over and over again if that's my wish. Nobody has the right to tell me I can't, especially some mealy-mouth disingenuous Republican who could care less about my consitutional rights.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  179. lynde mcdonald

    chances of this are none to zero, unless americans start regestering and voting. If enough people do the politicians will have to listen.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  180. Allen Austin.Mn

    Not a chance! That would dhange the face of Washington polotics
    and give everyone a chance to run. Besides we don't have enough
    sleazy types to keep it polotics as usual and doing so would upset the apple cart.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  181. Jane Favor

    After FDR's reign the opposing political party pushed through limits for the Presidency so we didn't end up with life time rule by a President. I think 12/6 years respectively is way too long. They should be limited to two terms per lifetime. New blood, new thinking is necessary for growth and evolution of the system. A career politician is about the same as a career criminal. They arrive idealistic and then learn the only way to get anything done is to crawl in bed with the prostitues masquerading as our elected officials. They should add to the proposed bill that outlaws campaign contributions and limits their campaign funds to be equally distributed from the $1 contributions we all can make when we file our Federal Income Tax annually. We need to vote EVERYONE who is currently in office out and start anew. Clean sweep. Pull the bandaid off quickly and get about the process of healing our country.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  182. Larry

    The chances of that ever happening are zero. Most Americans don't speak out for what they think is right. We have the power to limit their terms but we don't. We just keep voting in the same selfish, shameless and unscrupulous people. It's all about the money Jack. You know, this senator got us a new bridge, that Representative brought us a new Airport for 1 flight a day. Until everyone decides that they have finally had enough of their self enrichment and realize that they really don't work for us, nothing will change. We have become a me, me , me society. As long as I get mine, I really don't care if you get yours.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  183. John Paul Jones

    Our country, our home:
    O founded on notion of democracy (government of, for, by the people
    O enacted as a constitutional republic

    November 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  184. Reid Cornwell

    All they have to do is repeal the 17th ammendment. That is where we went wrong.

    Reid

    November 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  185. Randy

    Term limits are a horrible idea. If Americans don't like the job their member of congress is doing, then vote them out. If I like my member of congress, why should I not be allowed to vote for her 15 times if I so choose? Term limits are anti-democratic and should never be instituted.

    Perhaps I'm tired of listening to the same voices in talk television...should there be a limit on how long folks like Jack Cafferty are allowed to spout their opinions on the public airwaves?

    You want to clean up politics, then get money out of the system.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  186. Manny

    Jack, if your talking about how to get a corrupted Congress selling out to special interests for the sake of campaign contributions, otherwise known as bribes, then term limits really isn't the answer. The real answer lies in publicly financed campaigns that prevent anything but taxpayer money being used by politicians to run their campaigns with stiff penalties for cheaters. Separating politicians from their love of money, the source of their evil, would finally bring forth politicians with the cojones to do the difficult work of restoring an American middle class currently in it's death throes at the hands of Wall Street rip-off artists,health insurance monopolies, the oil cartel, and all the other outrages that express the contempt Congress has for the American people.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  187. Jeff In Minnesota

    Let's see. I can only run for so many terms and then have to go away. Hmmm. Are you nuts?!?! Kill the goose that laid the golden egg? I don't think so. These people are arrogant, not stupid. Even though this is what is needed, it will never happen in the political environment of today. I would recommend two terms as a senator and four as a representative at the very most. We need more people and voices involved, not the same tired ones with the same tired ideas.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  188. Elizabeth Bell-Haynes

    Hello Jack,

    Term Limits sound gratifying, but they have destroyed the state
    government in California, We no longer have people who know what they are doing in state government.
    The Republicans should learn from history. If they had not pushed
    for term limits on the Presidency, Ronald Reagan would have won a
    third term.
    Senate Republicans, why not come up with some good ideas, and positively communicate them . Perhaps I would listen and vote for you! But that's not going to happen, and that's why this one time Republican is going to continue to vote for Democrats and President Barack Obama!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  189. prem, Ma

    Th eonly way we could get good people to run for theCongress and Senate is by getiing rid of all the npresaenht representatives. They are all well settles in their seats and they could use all the influence and the money to get reelected themselves. If there is term limit, we get good people with very good ideas every 12 years or so. But they are not doing to do that, because, they will be out ofa job and they would know what to do! We need people willing to do the right thing for "Our Country" and not for themselves. Thanks.
    Prem

    November 11, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  190. Susan Miller

    Zero Percent. Zip.

    What inducement could possible cause legislators to limit their own power? Would you step down from your job if it gave you too much power?

    Legislators are supposed to act for the betterment of the country and its citizens. Can you remember a time when the government worked for the citizens? I'm 60 and I can't remember a single instance. Can you?

    November 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  191. Meg from Troy

    Jack–
    All of the problems that Congres has getting important bills passed goes right back to the lack of term limits. Too many politicians feel so safe in their incumbency and don't know or care what their constituents need, want, or think. Maybe Obama should have taken terms limits on as his top issue–it might have made passing health care reform a lot easier.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  192. Bill Wills

    Greatest thing DeMint ever came up with. Just think we would be red of almost all the selfserving swine in both the house and the senate. just think the KKK senator from WV and all the others, both democrays and republicans>

    November 11, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  193. Bill, Illinois

    We already have term limits that we The People can imposs via the polling booth.
    If our goal is to fix peceived corruption in our government then we have to address the legalized bribery coming from lobbyists.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  194. Michael Sloser

    What a wonderful idea. Let's have no one in Congress with enough experience to do anything. That leaves us with...hmmm, let's see...OK, now I see it: lobbyists! They'll be the only ones who know what's going on.

    As for term limits, we already have them. It's called "elections" If 90% get re-elected, that's our fault. If I like my Senator and Representative, why should there be a law saying they can't continue to serve.

    Even the Presidential term limit amendment is absurd. It was only done after FDR was elected four times. We could have done worse!

    November 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  195. Guy from Hawaii

    I don't think they will and I don't think they should. What do we do when we get a good one who we'd like to keep?...there have been a few. This should strictly be decided by the voters. If voters paid attention to what there congressional reps or senators are doing, how they're voting, etc. then vote em' in or vote em' out. Simple! American public...pay attention.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  196. KATHY

    Congress will vote for a Constitutional Amendment to limit Congressional terms immediately after gay marriage is made a sacrament.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  197. Marc

    Term limits would not be good in the case of someone like Ron Paul getting in office and being quite good and quite popular. If term limits were in place, those who actually did something good for the populace while there would have to go away after a set number of years. So, while you'd get rid of those who might be horrible in office (even if they got re-elected by the people for another term or so) you'd also get rid of those who were not horrible in office.

    Better to put controls on what is actually wrong, or where the wrong actually occurs. Prevent the corrupt influences from manifesting. That's usually MONEY (as in bribes).

    November 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  198. DAVID SYKES

    No, let's face it this is the best job most of the bums will ever have.
    Americans like to laugh about the corruption in the middle east. Well we can match them story for story. Daily you read about a corrupt elected offical. It's the tip of the iceberg.
    We need to rid ourselves of the career politicans and until we do the climate in Washington will never change.
    3/4 of the states must pass a constitutional amendemnt. It's been done but special interest and the politicans will fight term limits tooth and nail. Members of Congress have too much at stake. Health insurance, housing, free travel benefits, a retirement pension seperate from Social Security etc.
    If they get caught cheating and go to jail they still get their pensions, remember "Duke" Cunningham and others?The list of these people is endless.
    Dave, Florida

    November 11, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  199. Real Young Republ-"I Can"

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,
    NO. I am young (14 yrs) but intelligent enough to understand of special interest groups or political propaganda hot air. Not to compare to a unique time in Post WWI Germany, but in my history class I remember someone wanted to extend the political office time limit, I believe he (Hitler) succeeded. I do not want to grow up with little Hitler’s’ running around the American Capital to take care of “special interest groups.” I want the American Legislative Body to sercumsize their own personal interest, and do the right thing, stop lying and commit to the virtues of our fore fathers and lead by example. Hint to the Republicans, listen to the public needs, or alternatively, OFF with their Heads-I am sure I have their attention, now.
    On a positive note, I see you (Jack Cafferty) as an iconic newscaster as well as Mr. Wolf.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  200. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The only way to have term limits is to have one party and that's not going to happen. I think the group of Republicans suggesting term limits want to seize power forever controlled by the Republican Party.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  201. Katja, Bradenton, Florida

    Jack you are always asking the funniest questions!! Of course Congress wouldn't NEVER pass an amendment on term limits. They have the best jobs in the country. They only have to show up sometimes, they get the best benefits and perks, and they get paid to do next to nothing. And they get wined and dined by the lobbyists who put money in their pockets. Why in the world would they actually do the right thing and limit themselves from getting the gravy train for life. Besides, many of them have been in office longer then my 40 something years, what would they do with themselves??
    Silly Jack.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  202. Ed from the Four Corners

    Congress passing term limits on themselves..... chances of that are slim to none. They like their power and perks too much. Interesting how someone can get elected to office for a few years and come out being a millionaire.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  203. rollin gray

    It will never happen. We in attempted to make it happen thru a public vote. Unfortunately our congressional rep's sued the voters thus preventing it from happening. When this country was founded our leaders were statesmen. As such they were willing to do what ever was necessary regardless of their own personal sacrifice's. Now we have career politicians, whose only true loyalty is to their power base / political party and their own personal legacy.
    As such they are only concerned staying in office by getting re-elected.
    Which is why this will never happen. It cannot happen without the support of those in which the limits will be placed upon. They will treat this the same way they have treated things such as their pay raises, medical plan, etc etc. Our Congress persons & Senators will do what ever they can so as to ensure they stay in power for as long as they can. As you stated sir, a national referendum/public vote would more than likely pass with a 99.9%+, Which is exactly the reason it will never ever happen no matter what party is in charge!!
    Those with 10-12 or more years in office will never give up that power. Not without a fight anyway!!!!!!

    Rollin Gray
    US Navy Disabled VET

    November 11, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  204. Lamar

    I am a confirmed believer in term limits. Today's, Supreme Court says, the term limits is unconstitutional. Today's, Supreme Court must over rule the term limits on the individual for the president. How can anyone say two different rulings on the same principle? The senate and congress has the power of overing riding president's veto, thus almost equal or more power of the president. Here is another reality check all attorneys be barred from joining a political party and give up their voting rights. If, these attorneys joins the political field then they lifetime ban entering the jurisdictional field thus both theses field can remain bias.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  205. Jim

    Congress is not for this country, for themselves and to hell with us dummies, we proved that by reelecting these traitors,

    November 11, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  206. Connie in Florida...........

    Two choices, Jack...........slim and none!! In order to make this kind of monumental change, you'd have to begin by having intellect and reponsibility in Congress......read: "WHAT??"

    November 11, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  207. Myra Becnel

    Jack,

    This is a difficult question because, although ones first reaction is to Limit their term,you then think, wait, if you do this, then what incentive do they have to vote in favor of the people they represent?

    Therefore, there is no one to blame for a life long career politician then the dumb people who continue to vote them back in. So, LIMIT their TERM by VOTING THEM OUT!

    Myra in Hawai

    November 11, 2009 at 6:49 pm |