This $1.7 trillion-dollar circus demands a new debate over term limits

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Term limits were always a peripheral debate. If you’d ask most Americans, it wouldn’t be shocking if this proposal got supermajority support, but all politics is local. The same old folks keep getting re-elected no matter how bad the anti-incumbent bias becomes.

That’s the paradox: voters might not like other people’s representatives, but they want theirs.

I was indifferent to the whole affair, but I might be more open to it, though it only took multiple trillion-dollar omnibuses to get my head straight here. The latest $1.7 trillion omnibus is an atrocious bill, filled with the Democrats’ last-minute items they know wouldn’t see the light of day under a Republican House majority next Congress—and Senate Republicans went along with it.

The 2022 midterms saw the GOP fall dreadfully short of their electoral goals, which were projected to be tsunami strength. So, what does the Senate GOP do? First, they tried to push through a grand bargain on immigration, littered with extra funding for Border Patrol and an expedited deportation process for migrants who failed to meet asylum requirements—but contained a provision to put millions of illegal aliens on the citizenship track. Nothing in the legislation would have made this palatable to true conservatives, given the amnesty giveaway. The lack of border wall funding, E-verify, and reforms to chain migration should have killed this legislation, but Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared AWOL. He finally killed the bill when he told its authors—Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ)—that this wouldn’t be included at the end of the year omnibus bill.

Then, on the omnibus itself, McConnell has the gall to say that this bill, fraught with liberal initiatives, was a good piece of legislation that showed Republicans could get their agenda aims accomplished under a Democratic Congress. Also, he added that billions more in aid to Ukraine is a top priority for Republican voters. Two patently false things were uttered by one of the faces of the GOP and our leader in the US Senate. To make things worse, McConnell does know that billions were allocated to the Internal Revenue Service to harass Americans, right?

So, in the aftermath of a disastrous midterm cycle, the GOP tried to pass amnesty and supported a mega-bill that funded most, if not all, liberal action items, but it was a good thing for the GOP because it gave more military aid to Ukraine to fight what is arguably a proxy war with Russia. If this is what the Republican upper crust thinks is a win on the Hill, then they all must go, and maybe term limits can accelerate that event. It’s not shocking that most Republicans who presided over this messy election cycle were rewarded with another term in their leadership positions. Ronna McDaniel is facing a challenge to her RNC post, but most in Congress will keep their jobs.

The term limit debate was one I was never interested in, mainly because it kept plenty of seats in Republican hands, and it’s the people’s choice. Yet, the downside is that in some of the reddest states in the country, elections where there is little to no risk of a Democrat winning, the candidate crop is terrible. Alabama is a prime example, and it’s a bipartisan issue. Whenever any party dominates so thoroughly, bad things happen. For all the talk about being anti-establishment, Bama and other states south of the Mason-Dixon line are McConnell-like in whom they send to Washington.

And speaking of McConnell, Mollie Hemingway’s excellent piece at The Federalist plainly explains why Mitch must go for the GOP to win again. She credits him for the things he did well in the Senate but also highlights where he’s tripped up, the latest being this omnibus, while zeroing in on the unshakeable fact, which is that Mitch is deeply unpopular. We all know seniority is king on the Hill, and once you’re a leader, you’re guaranteed to be there forever unless you pull a Liz Cheney and work exceptionally hard to get yourself fired.

I don’t know where I land on the term limit debate, but it should be resurrected. And if such a statute makes it easier to inject new blood when it is needed to win again, then so be it. The GOP can’t waste any time, given that 2024 is a must-win election.

Trending on HotAir Videos