We Need Term Limits; or Can the Walking Dead Really Govern?

The US Congress is in desperate need of TERM LIMITS. I’m trying very hard to avoid political subjects in my blog. Right now people who don’t agree with your opinion appear to want to kill you. I’m already over 65 (the Covid dead zone), recently moved to Florida (heat, humidity, alligators, sharks, poisonous snakes, Covid epicenter, rust) and almost died from a gut bleed. I don’t need any additional help shuffling off this mortal coil. But, I just HAVE TO talk about term limits. (I also know a little about the health issues that come with advanced age; you’ll understand why this is important as you read on). Think term limits.

I’m confident from my studies of History 101 in high school that our Founding Fathers did not intend serving in the Senate or House of Representatives to be a lifetime job. And, you’ll note I used the term “serving”. This suggests that these elected people are supposed to be in Washington, DC to serve their constituents. You know, the American people who elected them and pay their salary. Sorry, I’m coming dangerously close to getting preachy. I prefer my blog to focus on the humorous side of life. I’ll try to do better. Think term limits.

Let’s approach this issue by creating an imaginary character, someone greedy and psychotic enough to want to run for Congress, say the Senate. We’ll call this man Herman…Herman Reptilian, a distinguished name for a Congressman. (I’m using a male example, because I’m male. If you’re a female, maybe you could read “Hermalina”, just for authenticity). Think term limits. 

Herman is well qualified for Congress because he is breathing and a pathological liar. No previous government experience, law degree, or educational credentials of any kind required. (Apparently previous experience acting in a movie with a monkey or bartending is useful). Think term limits.

Herman decides to run for the Senate. This requires tons of money for staff, marketing and advertising, pamphlets, social media, travel, etc. There’s also doing ridiculous things to get attention. For example letting a cameraman follow you around while you take a bath, get a haircut, walk your dog, play with your kids, sit on the toilet, have an affair. You get the idea…to show you’re just one of the guys or gals. There’s also buying votes. Think term limits. 

Herman will need access to big money. This includes things like Hollywood, Wall Street, Oprah, the NRA, Tech giants, Social Media giants, pharmaceutical companies, the lottery…anyone with money and a personal agenda that Herman can agree to support if they fund him. He doesn’t have to agree with the agenda, just agree to support it for a large contribution. Then there’s the personal security staff, private plane and limo, depending on how generous the sugar daddy/mommy donor really is. Think term limits.

Herman, or Mr. Reptilian, also needs a platform on which to run; something that he proposes to do for ‘the people’ that will make them want to vote for him. This might include lowering their taxes, giving them free stuff, fixing the environment, breaking the environment, saving the animals, hunting the animals. Then there’s providing more guns, or gettting rid of all guns. It might also include not blowing up the world. He might also fix that pot hole on I-95 that has eaten several SUVs whole in the past year. Think term limits. 

Let’s give Herman an important platform. Herman is really irritated when people blow their horn at him while driving. (He likes to drive slow, and other people don’t). So, Herman’s platform is to outlaw horns in all vehicles, cars, trucks, buses, trains, all of it. This will dramatically reduce public stress, and people will be nicer to each other. They will go out more often and spend money, helping the economy. This will also reduce traffic accidents and road rage. Not to mention the significant reduction in noise pollution. Think term limits.

Now for the buckets of money required. To acquire said funds, Herman needs financial support…a financial backer…a very wealthy sugar daddy or mommy of sorts. To find this level of support, he needs to find a millionaire/billionaire who is also very concerned about the horn blowing crisis. Otherwise, he will be forced to alter his platform to accommodate the wants and desires of a wealthy financial backer, or two, or three. Think term limits.

Enter a billionaire, let’s call him Money J. Bags, whose family money comes from dad, Mr. Bags Senior, who invented donuts. His family has made billions selling donuts of all flavors, chocolate, vanilla, glazed, jelly, menthol, peppermint, banana, barbeque, lemon, squash, apple butter, grapefruit…you name it. Donuts turned out to be very popular, and profitable. The business has gone international over the years, and Mr. Bags Junior feels guilty for his family having accumulated the equivalent of the gross national product of South America; a billionaire. Think term limits. 

More to the point, he is concerned that all those people in the world without food, clothing and shelter, and donuts, might eventually realize the unfairness of this situation, seek him out, chop off his head and take his stuff. So, he has already donated several million to various charities in a very public way. But, he wants to further demonstrate to the masses that he understands the unfairness of life. So, he is looking for a political candidate to back who will also promise the people free stuff; free health care, free housing, free donuts, free bubble gum, free popcorn…you get the idea. Think term limits. 

Maybe if Mr. Bags becomes known for backing this socialist agenda, giving everyone free stuff, those less fortunate won’t hunt him down, kill him and take his stuff. This is a really great plan, because if he donates money to a political candidate who wins, the free stuff will be paid for out of taxpayer money and not his many personal bank accounts. So, a win-win. (He is also interested in a candidate who’ll write tax code to seriously minimize the amount of taxes paid by donut entrepreneurs). Think term limits.

Herman and Mr. Bags are introduced by a political consultant, Ms. Giovanna Larceny, who has an extensive political network, and many years of experience getting people elected to office. They talk, and Mr. Bags is not all that interested in removing horns from automobiles and other vehicles. However, thanks to the negotiating ability of Ms. Larceny, they arrive at a compromise. Think term limits.

She points out that if car horns were replaced by built-in bull horns, the driver or passenger could yell things like “Get the hell out of my way”, or “Speed up, Asshole”, or “Slow down, Asshole”, or “Vote for Herman Reptilian for Congress.” Herman and Mr. Bags are sold on this idea. Mr. Bags donates millions to a PAC supporting Herman’s campaign, with an agenda of socialism (giving free stuff to the poor in Mr. Bags’ name to keep them from cutting off Mr. Bag’s head) and replacing car horns with built-in megaphones. Think term limits.

Herman learns a lot about this super PAC thing, and it seems like a really good idea. Mr. Bags can provide him with millions, or even billions for his campaign. He can do it anonymously, or announce it to the world if he wants. Since he wants people to not chop off his head, in Mr. Bags’ case he’ll make a big deal out of it; lots of press coverage and perhaps legislation put forth by Mr. Reptilian with Mr. Bag’s name attached to it. Think term limits. 

Herman asks Ms. Larceny if she knows of any other amoral wealthy people who might be interested in funding his campaign. She tells him of a Mr. Rip Blaster, another multi-millionaire who might be interested in supporting the right politician. However, Rip comes with some baggage. One of his hobbies is hunting rare species of animals to extinction. However, this will have no bearing on the election, since his donations to a super PAC can be completely anonymous. She’ll speak to Mr. Blaster on Herman’s behalf. Think term limits. 

Ms. Larceny also makes Herman happy by pointing out that he can shuffle some of those millions in super PAC donations, as well as individual political donations, into various businesses and charities. These entities should be located in the Cayman Islands or some similarly discrete place and owned by family and friends. The money is supposed to be used for his campaign, but everybody skims a little off the top. And, if he happens to lose his bid for the Senate, he gets to donate whatever money is left to his favorite charity or business (again, family and/or friend oriented). Think term limits. 

This could be quite profitable with the right tax lawyer, accountant and charity. Herman begins to catch on that this running for office thing might be a little like winning the lottery. Hell, he might even lose on purpose if he collects enough money. Why actually get the job, when you can find ways to get rich without working? Think term limits.

Herman runs for office. (I won’t specify political party in this fictitious story, because I don’t want anyone to set me on fire. I’m a registered Independent anyhow). He easily wins the Senate seat. His opponent, a middle aged woman with no sugar daddy, depends on donations from her individual supporters. She runs on a ridiculous platform of providing reasonably priced health care and decreasing drug prices. She also wants to increase job opportunities for all Americans and rebuild/repair the crumbling infrastructure of the United States. Think term limits. 

She never had a chance. Ms. Larceny made sure that Herman ran a campaign based on facts. This included calling his opponent a racist, car-horn-loving, right-wing misogynist (remember, she’s a woman). His campaign also suggested she was involved in satanic rituals, possibly involving chicken blood, or was it baby seal blood…well…you get the idea. It might seem ridiculous, but this is politics, after all. Think term limits.

Herman arrives in Washington with Ms. Larceny, now his political right hand and lover. He genuinely wants to push forward with his campaign promises of writing legislation to replace car horns with built-in megaphones and giving away free stuff. He manages to swing a job as Ambassador to Kenya for his second largest donor, Mr. Rip Blaster, with excellent access to rare species of animals to hunt. Think term limits.

He also manages to wangle a position on the Senate Committee for Rare Species. He sponsors an effort to re-order the list of rare and almost extinct species based on a list provided by…you guessed it…Mr. Blaster. And he’s hell bent on pushing legislation to give away free stuff, to make Mr. Bags happy. He even names his first bill the Money Bags Free Health Care and Other Stuff Bill. He’s learning fast. Think term limits.

He keeps his wife busy, and away from Ms. Larceny, with charity committees, planning balls and other social events for the purpose of fund raising. The line between campaign fund raising and charity fund raising somehow gets blurred in the process. A large chunk of this money is funneled off to pay for a swanky townhouse for Ms. Larceny at a convenient location in Washington, DC, as well as a cute little sports car for her use. Think term limits. 

Herman soon learns that he can collect as much money as he wants for his own bank account. There is the unused campaign money that he has collected, skimmed the interest and donated to his favorite charity. Then there’s the gifts (read ‘kickbacks’) from US weapons sales to foreign countries. (He’s on the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense). He also has his cut of the super PAC money, much of which he has transferred to his Cayman account. He’s become a millionaire in his first six years. He has decided that he REALLY wants to remain on this gravy train for as long as possible. Think term limits. 

Much of what Senator Reptilian is doing is borderline illegal, or just plain illegal. But, who’s going to call him on it, when everyone in Congress is on the same gravy train. Plus, there’s the fact that as a Senator he is in charge of spending the taxpayer’s money. This includes funding law enforcement agencies and anyone else who might dare to accuse him of wrongdoing. Having control of the purse strings of the massive mountain of currency that is the taxpayers’ money comes with more power than he could have ever imagined. Think term limits.

To keep getting re-elected, he has to collect even more money and run smart campaigns. He must carefully ally himself with groups such as the NRA (he’s actually afraid of guns). Then there’s a super PAC supporting worldwide distribution of donuts, now the national food, at a fair price. (This can’t hurt Mr. Bag’s family business). Think term limits.

There’s also the automobile manufacturers. (As it turns out replacing car horns with built-in electronic bullhorns creates a space for automated advertising. As a person drives down the road, his car might yell out “Drink Budweiser, the breakfast of champions”. This has made them a tidy profit). And, he soon discovers that promising to give away free stuff can buy him lots of votes. He and Ms. Larceny spend lots and lots of time together, working on his campaign in bed, keeping his face in front of the news cameras, and making sure he gets re-elected. Think term limits.

I forgot to mention that his wife, in addition to being a great fund raiser herself, also manages a hedge fund for a large Wall Street firm. Herman has access to massive amounts of inside information from company’s in his district. There’s also the information he receives during discussion in the several Senate Committees he’s managed to get appointed to. It is apparently legal for Herman to pass this information on to his wife. Therefore their personal accounts continue to grow by leaps and bounds through insider trading. Think term limits.

By his third term in the Senate, he has so many experienced and trusted aids that he doesn’t have to do anything anymore. His aids run his campaign every six years. All he does is show up, read a speech written by someone else from a teleprompter and then spend some time with Ms. Larceny in a local hotel. At some point, Ms. Larceny gets replaced by a younger, more vital woman. His wife, on the other hand, is bringing in so much money she is indispensable. Think term limits. 

He is also now Chairman of the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. He obtained this position thanks to Ms. Larceny’s many political contacts and the dirt they provided on the Senators required to appoint him to the post. He’s now paying Ms. Larceny a hefty sum every month to keep her quiet, since he dumped her for a younger woman and she also has a file of dirt on him. Think term limits.

Herman also manages to get himself appointed to the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he finds that he can peddle his influence for a pretty penny, even internationally. He finds companies in his district are very grateful when he helps to get them large federal government contracts. Between that, the Defense committee, his wife’s inside trading, and perhaps illegal use of campaign funds he is really rolling in the dough. By his fifth term in the Senate, he has so much money and so many political contacts he is virtually invincible; no one can compete for his Senate seat. Think term limits.

He no longer has to do anything but meet with his new senior political aid in private. There are also golf trips to Scotland at the expense of companies with defense or intelligence interests. He spends time buying a new home in an exotic place every year and adding to his warehouse full of classical sports cars. And, he now has his own private jet to fly to and from Washington, DC. One of the super PACs that gives him money has a platform of saving the environment. But, this doesn’t apply to Congressmen/Congresswomen with their own private planes. This is specifically written into their charter, and it’s all completely anonymous anyhow. Think term limits.

Herman was elected to the Senate when he was thirty-two. He has now served seven terms, making him 76-years-old as head of the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. At this advanced age, he now has over fifty aids to carry out his work, write his speeches, arrange his travels, run his campaigns, etc. He’s a multi-millionaire, approaching billionaire status. His money has been accrued through the many political, questionable, job-related means mentioned above. He is no longer interested in sex, or capable of participating, so there’s no need for a fourth or fifth generation Ms. Larceny. Think term limits.

Herman is a professional politician, and he’s very good at it. Long forgotten was his campaign of replacing car horns. He hasn’t given a single thought to the American people for forty years. His only concern has been getting re-elected to this gravy train and amassing a fortune. Think term limits.

He’s owned by many different PACs, wealthy donors, and even a couple of foreign countries. (There are laws against a foreign country donating millions to his campaign through an anonymous super PAC. But, his clever staff of lawyers and accountants have found ways around this). It takes another ten staffers to keep up with all the people he owes favors to and all the causes he supports. He really doesn’t much care at this point anyhow. At 76-years-old he has much more serious issues to deal with. For example, his latest colonoscopy, his prostate and getting up to pee ten times a night. Think term limits.

Herman is now a key cog in his political party’s platform and success. As the head of the all-important Senate Appropriations Sub-committee on Defense and a member of four others, he wields incredible power. Or he would, if his prostate would let him. But, at 76 he has to adjourn the committee meetings every fifteen minutes so he can go to the bathroom. Think term limits.

In actual fact, his staff runs pretty much everything. They transport him to his meetings, and help prop him up during the meetings. They provide all the content of his speeches, agendas, etc. This includes a great deal of input from all those PACs, companies, billionaire donors, etc. who now own what’s left of Senator Reptilian. He will be sitting in the Chairman’s chair, perhaps several weeks after he has passed away. And, with all the input from his staff it’s possible no one will notice. Think term limits.

This is the part where the term limits come in. I’ll bet you thought I’d never get there. Anyhow, in our current Congress there are many elderly professional politicians chairing important committees or holding powerful positions. Think term limits.

For example, there’s Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House. She’s third in line for the presidency in the event the president and vice president might meet some terrible fate…plane crash…death by pandemic…you get the idea. She is 80 years old, in her 17th term in Congress and worth $120 million. Think term limits.

There’s the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Nadler, a mere youngster at 73, in his 15thterm. And let’s not forget Senator McConnell, Senate Majority Leader. He’s 78-years-old and worth a paltry $20 million, another career politician in his sixth 6-year term. And the ever popular Senator Feinstein, 87, worth $58.5 million, Representative Waters, 81, worth a paltry $3 million, Senator Grassley, 86, $3.8 million, and on and on. Of the top ten oldest folks in Congress, all ten are over 80 and five of them are 86. Oh Dear God, please think term limits. 

These are the leaders of our federal government, all career politicians. I’m 69, and am already starting to have memory problems. When I exercise things tend to seize up and fall off. At this age these Congressmen and Congresswomen must resemble the walking dead. Worse, they are probably beholden to God knows how many super PACS, wealthy donors, companies, etc., all with their own personal interests. They have become millionaires during their lifetime political careers. None of them have any reason at all to care about the American citizens who voted them into office and pay their salaries. At this age it’s a wonder they even know where they are. Think term limits.

So, to summarize, today’s Congress is filled with septuagenarian and octogenarian leaders who are professional politicians, maintaining their political positions for life. The current system, without term limits, creates a situation in which a politician needs lots of money to get elected. Once they get elected, and discover the extent to which they can expand their own wealth and power, there is no incentive to focus on anything other than getting re-elected to the gravy train over and over. The longer Senator Reptilian is in office, the more wealthy donors probably gain access to him and purchase his influence through large donations. The more wealthy donors, the more beholden he is to anyone but his own constituents, the American people who he is supposed to represent. Think term limits.

This might explain why Washington, DC is currently in chaos. Our beautiful country is being burnt to the ground while our Senators and Representatives fight over which national holidays to add or omit from the calendar and which statues to knock over. They better be careful. At 86 one of them is bound to be caught moving so slowly that someone will mistake him/her for a national statue/monument, and you know what we do to those. Think term limits. 

Term limits might serve to improve this situation. For example, if Senator Reptilian were limited to one or two six-year-terms, he wouldn’t need to concern himself with guaranteeing his re-election over and over. It would also limit the time that all those wealthy donors and super PACs have to get their claws into him. And, without the need for massive funds for multiple re-election campaigns he wouldn’t need all that additional money anyway. This could potentially free him up to focus on the best interests of the American people who elected him in the first place. After six or twelve years he could return to his previous occupation, and actually contribute something to society. Think term limits.

How do we implement term limits in Congress? Some states tried to force term limits on their Congressmen and Congresswomen in recent years, but the Supreme Court over-ruled that attempt. In simple terms, Congress is the only entity that can currently vote to implement term limits on itself. In 1995, Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) in the 104thCongress introduced Senate Joint Resolution 21, which, if approved by two-thirds of the Members of both the Senate and the House of Representative and ratified by three-fourths of the States would limit Senators to two terms and Members of the House of Representatives to six terms. This went nowhere. Think term limits.

In 2019 Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) and Representative Francis Rooney (R-Fl) introduced an amendment to the US Constitution that would impose term limits on members of Congress. This has also gone nowhere. Think term limits.  

All I can do is contact my local Representatives and Senators, let them know that I want them to implement term limits, and vote against them if they refuse. It ain’t much, but it’s something:)

If you liked this article, you might also like my comedy murder mystery PLEASURIA: TAKE AS DIRECTED, available on Amazon at http://bit.ly/pleasuria for only $0.99. The sequel, MURDER BY ROAD TRIP, is coming this summer.