Philip Blumel: Term Limits Day goes virtual.
Philip Blumel: Hi, I’m Philip Blumel. Welcome to No Uncertain Terms, the official podcast of the Term Limits Movement, for the week of March 1st 2021.
Stacey Selleck: Your sanctuary from partisan politics.
Philip Blumel: Saturday, February 27th, was Term Limits Day, the third iteration of this new citizen holiday. No, it wasn’t canceled due to the pandemic, but like so much of our lives right now, a lot of it moved online. In this week’s episode, we also get the latest on the Term Limits Convention bills moving through our state legislatures. Joining us is US Term Limits executive director, Nick Tomboulides. Hey, Nick.
Nick Tomboulides: Hey, Phil. Happy Term Limits Day.
Philip Blumel: It was. How was your weekend?
Nick Tomboulides: My weekend was fantastic. I spent all day in the blistering heat delivering Term Limits Day signs, waving Term Limits Day signs at an intersection. People are so on fire for this issue. It really was incredible.
Philip Blumel: So true. I’d be putting them up and people would stop while I was putting them up and give me a thumbs up and honking their horns or whatever else, everywhere I go. It was astounding.
Nick Tomboulides: I was walking up to a house that had requested a sign, and there was a guy across the street who was digging a hole. And he must have been like 100 feet away, and he spotted my Term Limit Congress sign out of the corner of his eye. And he just screams out, “Hell yeah, man. Term limits for Congress, that’s what we need!” It was amazing. And there were situations where I would go to a house to deliver a sign, and I would accidentally knock on the door to the wrong house. So it’s like if I had 123 Main Street on my list, I’d knock on 125 Main Street. And I’d say, “Hey, did you guys order a term limit sign?” And they’re like, “No, but I’ll take one. I love term limits.” [chuckle] And then on the spot, they would take the sign and they would put it in their yard, and it was just like that everywhere. I’ve never seen such a positive reaction to anything in my life. It’s amazing.
Philip Blumel: It was a fun weekend. I did the same thing. We had a sign waving over I-95, which of course, is the major interstate, in the east coast of Florida, and we had a big banner that we threw over the side and we have lots of people that were waving signs, some homemade ones that said, Happy Term Limits Day, February 27th. Fun time for all.
Nick Tomboulides: And people are honking away at these signs when they see it at the intersection, and it doesn’t matter what… You get a car with a Bernie sticker on it, they’re honking. They love term limits.
Philip Blumel: Sure. Yeah.
Nick Tomboulides: You get a car with a Trump sticker on it, they’re honking. They love term limits. Only thumbs up. I didn’t see a single middle finger. In fact, I only saw a middle finger one time, ever, when I was holding a term limit sign, and that’s when my state legislator drove by.
Nick Tomboulides: That was not this year. That was like two years ago.
Philip Blumel: Yup, yup. Well, I did some other things here. There is a local university here, Palm Beach Atlantic University, private college in West Palm Beach, Florida, on the Intracoastal Waterway, and there’s a political science chair there, Dr. James Todd, pulls together his political science classes in an auditorium, much of it is virtual this time, and allows me to share the argument for term limits. And there’s a bunch of really bright kids asking great questions, and so that’s… This is the third year in a row, it’s called The Term Limits Day Annual Lecture. That was great. I spoke at several civic clubs, political clubs, talking about Term Limits Day and handing out signs. So they brought them home and put them on their yards, and I don’t know. All around, I just had a blast with it again this year.
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, and you know the format, the character of Term Limits Day has changed a little bit. There’s certainly due to the pandemic, there’s a lot more digital activity, there’s a lot more tweeting and writing and sharing on social media than there is in-person gathering, but the spirit of Term Limits Day is just… It’s stronger than ever.
Philip Blumel: There was some really productive activity online, too, and I know some organizations like FreedomWorks, they sent out a post to their troops across the country, and that’s a pretty serious grassroots organization, wishing everybody a Happy Term Limits Day. I know a business author, Bob Burg tweeted about it, I saw that.
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, we had lots of prominent elected officials tweeting about it as well, including a lot of the co-sponsors on our constitutional amendment. I know I saw some stuff from Ted Cruz. I saw some stuff from Rick Scott and others were talking about Term Limits Day on Twitter, using the #termlimitsday, spreading the word. It looked like it was trending for a while on Saturday.
Philip Blumel: Right on. Speaking of virtual activism for Term Limits Day, I don’t know if you heard this yet, Nick, but the numbers are in. We just had the best month for fundraising online that we’ve ever had because of Term Limits Day. So that shows that this holiday is getting some traction and people are getting involved, even if they didn’t feel like they could go outside and do things, they helped out the fight by sending us some checks. And thank you, all of you, who took that action.
Speaker 4: This is a public service announcement.
Philip Blumel: The Term Limits Convention Resolution passed the Georgia Senate on February 22nd. The bill has been introduced in the Georgia House and is now awaiting its first committee hearing. If it passes the House, Georgia would be the fourth state to call for an amendment writing convention under Article 5 of the US Constitution, limited to the subject of congressional term limits. Senator Greg Dolezal of Cumming represents District 27 and made a spirited case that helped the resolution succeed in the Upper House.
Greg Dolezal: I’m still new to this job, and I’m still kinda constantly surprised by what I hear sometimes come from this well. And I agree with the previous speaker. This is an ideological issue, but I am a little bit dumbfounded that I’ve heard this morning, the defense of deficit spending, soaring debt and career politicians. Danger, danger is what was said. The danger, danger is not a balanced budget. The danger, danger is $22 trillion in national debt, that’s the danger, and has been brought to us by career politicians who are supported in primaries and their elections nine to one by their challengers. The ideological difference, quite frankly, colleagues, is the ideological world view between career politicians and 320 million Americans. 82% of Americans support term limits. As the sponsor of the bill said, this is not a partisan issue. The system is broken. The danger is the system, and the system needs to be disrupted, and Washington DC will never disrupt itself.
Greg Dolezal: This country is in danger, and it is in danger by the people that have gone to DC to do a job, have turned away from every political promise they ever made because they fell in love with the power. They will never give up the power. This republic was founded upon the sovereignty of the states and it is up to the states to take back their sovereignty and deal with the very founders and vision.
Greg Dolezal: Now, we’ve seen an example of this right here in our own very chamber, because I can give an intellectual consideration to this idea of institutional knowledge. If only we send our politicians to Congress for decades and decades and decades, only then will they be able to do this job effectively, because despite the talent in this country and despite the intellectual rigor by many of our fellow citizens, we are the only people smart enough, after decades of time, here in Washington DC, to do this job effectively, and it would empower the bureaucrats if we were to term limit either ourselves or those in DC. I can understand the intellectual thought behind that. However, we saw tragically last year, a fourth year senator have to step in and do the toughest job under the roof of this building. And he stepped in, and he did it with honor, and dignity, and intellectual honesty, and excellence with hardly any notice.
Greg Dolezal: So if we have somebody in their second term able to carry the hardest job under this building with no notice, I believe that obliterates the argument that only institutional knowledge can save this country. The danger bells have been warning. And absolutely, this is a Republican and Democrat problem. President Obama was guilty and President Trump was guilty. The deficit spending is out of control. Washington DC has proven to us that they will not solve the problem. The founders knew that that was a possibility, and the founders gave us this mechanism, and it’s time we utilize it. Thank you, Mr. President, I yield the [0:09:06.4] ____.
Philip Blumel: And you, Nick, you did a op-ed in the Florida Today.
Nick Tomboulides: I did. I did an op-ed. I didn’t just want the op-ed to be something from a term… Just the term limits guy, which is me. Everyone associates me with this issue. So I went around my community, and I asked around and said, “Well, who else wants to do this?” I talked to a friend of mine, Susan Hodgers. She’s a physician’s assistant around here. She usually writes health columns for the paper. She loves term limits. So we collaborated on this op-ed, we talked about where Term Limits Day comes from, how the original inspiration for it was George Washington when he resigned his military commission and then he stepped down as President after two terms and really set that example for statesmanship and service. And we’ve gotten an awesome reaction in this area. Florida Today is a big paper. We’re grateful that they published that and got the word out about Term Limits Day.
Philip Blumel: Yeah. I also saw some letters to the editor. Shoutout to John [0:10:05.3] ____. He was published in the Auburn Citizen in Central New York, and basically had a short perfect one paragraph letter, basically, “February 27th has been designated as National Term Limits Day. Congress should be term limited.” That’s how he starts it. [chuckle] Thanks a lot, John, it was perfect.
Nick Tomboulides: Just the brass tacks. That’s all we need.
Philip Blumel: You bet. How are the resolutions going across the country?
Nick Tomboulides: Resolutions are looking good. We’ve got a lot of action this week, more action than you can shake a stick at. Tennessee, Wednesday is gonna be a big day, and Wednesday we have a House hearing in Tennessee. The public service subcommittee is going to be hearing term limits, and they’re gonna be likely voting on it to advance it to the full committee, and then we are also anticipating the floor vote in North Dakota for final passage in the State House there; Will also take place on Wednesday, March 3rd. Now, if you recall, that was supposed to happen last week, it got kicked back, ’cause I guess they had a big backlog in the State House. We should be getting that vote Wednesday in North Dakota.
Philip Blumel: That’s exciting. We’ve never won in North Dakota before, have we?
Nick Tomboulides: I don’t think we’ve ever had a bill in North Dakota before.
Philip Blumel: I didn’t think so, either, no. We’re breaking new ground there. That’s fantastic. And we might get a floor vote in one of their houses of the legislature next week. Is it looking good?
Nick Tomboulides: It’s looking good. Yeah, we sailed through the committee with great numbers, we’ve gotten awesome sponsors out there, Representative Ben Koppelman, Representative Jim Kasper. These guys are leaders, not just on term limits, but on Article 5, on the convention process. It’s looking pretty good. The Senate is gonna be a little bit tougher. There’s certainly a need for people to contact their legislators. If you live in North Dakota, or Tennessee, or any of these states, go to termlimits.com/takeaction to be involved, but right now, the counts are looking great.
Philip Blumel: What about West Virginia?
Nick Tomboulides: West Virginia, we have finally been filed there, and we’ve been referred to the government org committee. That hearing should be taking place this week, but we do not have a date or a time yet, so check our website, check US Term Limits on Facebook and Twitter, and as soon as we have that info, we’re gonna blast it out.
Philip Blumel: Okay, I’m particularly excited about West Virginia, because as we’ve mentioned in the podcast before, we collected pledges from majority of the members of both the House and the Senate in West Virginia, pledging that these members would co-sponsor, vote for, and defend the term limits resolution. So you can never take anything for granted, especially when you’re dealing with legislatures and politicians, but this one should be a winner for us, and so I’m really excited to watch it go through the process.
Nick Tomboulides: It’s very promising to see that it’s originating in the House this time around, because last year, it was the Senate that passed it first, and the House was a bigger lift, but the fact that we’re seeing early action in the House is a very good sign, because the House we thought would be more difficult, we know the Senate is very strong, so seeing it come out of the House likely means that it’s not gonna have any problems getting to the floor and passing.
Paul Jacob: Saturday is Term Limits Day. Boy, this holiday season really sneaked up on me. No excuse, though, because Term Limits Day falls on February 27th every year. On that date in 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, limiting the President to two terms in office. Call it the constitutionalization of the small-r-republican example George Washington set so well by voluntarily stepping down after two terms as chief executive. That tradition lasted for nearly 150 years, until FDR sought and won a third term in 1940. In addition to presidential limits, tomorrow, let’s also cheer term limits on 15 state legislatures, including big states such as California, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and those covering 36 governors, as well as thousands of local elected officials, including in nine of the nation’s 10 largest cities. Of course, while we celebrate Term Limits Day in this pandemic mostly on social media, let’s remember where mandatory rotation out of elected office does not exist, yet is most desperately needed, Congress.
Paul Jacob: Since career politicians aren’t going to term limit themselves, US Term Limits has launched a national effort to bypass Congress and put term limits on House and Senate through the Term Limits Convention. The Convention requires 34 state legislatures to take action, and that in turn requires us to act at the grassroots in our states. Already, there is impressive movement. In the last week, resolutions for a Term Limits Convention have passed through key committees and entire chambers in Arizona, Georgia and North Dakota. Much more is in the pipeline. Term Limits Day makes a great day for contribution to the term limits cause, but there’s no time better than the present. This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob. For a daily dose of common sense, go to thisiscommonsense.org.
Philip Blumel: So how many states have we been introduced? When I say we, I mean the Term Limits Convention resolution, been introduced so far in 2021?
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, we’ve now been introduced in 12 states. Wisconsin has come online, it’s been added to the fold as LRB 0327-1, that’s a mouthful, but still been filed.
Philip Blumel: Great. Okay. Just for new listeners, I just wanna make it clear what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the Term Limits Convention resolution, this is the attempt of states to call for an amendment writing convention under Article 5 of the US Constitution limited to the subject of congressional term limits. So when two-thirds of the states call for such a convention, it must be called under Article 5, and the states get to hammer out the details of amendment and send it back to the states for ratification. The Congress has nothing to do with it. And so it’s their end run, and it’s working, Nick.
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, more than 20% of all states have filed it this session. It is working. It is. We’re making continual progress. We did a lot of voter education in the last year to let people know who were the good guys, who were the bad guys on term limits. That led to a historic number of Term Limit Convention pledge signers getting elected to state legislatures, I think it was 674 all over the country who’ve signed their name on the dotted line to support this effort. So yeah, I can feel it. There’s a huge surge in momentum this year. And the timing, Term Limits Day, it’s perfect.
Philip Blumel: Yeah. And you could bet all these politicians ran into, in some way, some term limits activism on Term Limits Day or the week prior, and that just shows them that people are engaged, that they’re watching. So thank you, everybody that participated.
Speaker 7: I support term limits. For goodness’ sakes, how on Earth can we get new, fresh innovation into Congress unless we have term limits? So serve your country, then move over and let somebody else bring some fresh new ideas.
Philip Blumel: Thanks for joining us for another episode of No Uncertain Terms. The Term Limits Convention bills are moving through the state legislatures, this could be a breakthrough year for the term limits movement. To check on the status of the Term Limits Convention resolution in your state, go to termlimits.com/takeaction. There, you will see if it has been introduced and where it stands in the committee process on its way to the floor vote. If there’s action to take, you’ll see a Take Action button by your state. Click it. This will give you the opportunity to send a message to the most relevant legislators, urging them to support the legislation, they have to know you’re watching. That’s termlimits.com/takeaction. If your state has already passed the Term Limits Convention resolution, that is Florida, Missouri or Alabama, or the bill’s not been introduced in your state, you can still help. Please consider making a contribution to US Term Limits. It is our aim to hit the reset button on the US Congress, and you can help. Go to termlimits.com/donate, termlimits.com/donate. Thanks. We’ll be back next week.
Stacey Selleck: The revolution isn’t being televised. Fortunately, you have the No Uncertain Terms podcast.
Speaker 8: USTL.