Philip Blumel: Citizen Kane, unleashed. Hi, Philip Blumel, welcome to No Uncertain Terms, the official podcast of the Term Limits movement for the week of July 5th, 2021.
Stacey Selleck: Your sanctuary from partisan politics.
Philip Blumel: On April 8th, the Tennessee house, in a bipartisan 53-34 vote passed a resolution calling for an amendment, proposing Convention under Article V of the US Constitution, limited to the subject of congressional term limits. Pressure is mounting on the Tennessee Senate to follow suit and make Tennessee the fifth state to make such an application. Last week, Knoxville County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, once known as the WWF wrestling hero Kane, announced he would lead Tennessee citizens in support of the term limits convention. US term limits, Executive Director Nick Tomboulides as usual has the details, hey Nick. Well, let’s get started with the news as it was presented by NBC’s WBIR Channel 10.
Speaker 3: Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs getting a bit of an extra job here as Tennessee’s state chair for the US term limits.
Speaker 4: Well the group really has one mission, they’re advocating for term limits for members of congress. The long-term goal is to get a Constitutional amendment to pass that would take two thirds of states getting on board, plus one. Mayor Jacobs says, this is something a lot of people want.
Glenn Jacobs: Congress people are re-elected in droves year after year, and even though term limits enjoy overwhelming public support, we know that Congress is never going to term limit themselves.
Speaker 4: Tennessee state lawmakers started the process of calling for a Constitutional Convention on term limits this past session.
Philip Blumel: Well, there you go Nick, what do you think?
Nick Tomboulides: Well, Mayor Jacobs was accompanied at this press announcement by Aaron Duckett, our Central Regional Director Aaron made the official announcement that Mayor Glenn Jacobs is our new Tennessee state chair. I’m wowed by this. I think in terms of credibility, you can’t top Glenn Jacobs. He’s the mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. He’s also known throughout the world as wrestling legend Kane. He’s a main event superstar, WWF Hall of Famer, he also has got a background in small business, he’s in the insurance industry, he’s been on the podcast before, and he’s just a major addition to the term limits movement. This is a huge get for our movement.
Philip Blumel: Absolutely, and the timing is just right. I mean, as I mentioned in the intro, the term limits convention bill has passed the house and pressure’s building on the Senate, and then now is the time for people to rise up and start putting pressure on the Senate and to have a leader like Glenn Jacobs, that people throughout the state and throughout the country and the world know, leading the charge, perfect.
Nick Tomboulides: And based on this clip, he’s a natural, he’s like so many Americans who they don’t have a long history necessarily of activism with term limits, but they just intuitively understand why this is so important. He talked about it, career politicians, they serve themselves, they only care about accumulating more power, said as a result of their self-serving behavior, we’ve got a mountain of debt, bureaucracy and red tape. He also talked about the insane power of incumbency at the federal level. I like when politicians are self-aware. He certainly is.
Philip Blumel: Right. Yeah. It’s not that common, is it? And this word got out because I just played the clip from… What was it? NBC. There was a similar clip on ABC and on CBS affiliates, and in fact, he’ll be appearing on a news Channel Five program called Open Line in Nashville this Wednesday, 7:00 to 8:00 PM, Central Time, of course, and he’ll be talking about, guess what? The term limits convention bill. So this word is getting out and everybody knows that there’s a lot of support behind Glenn, he’s at the top of a pyramid of support for this legislation.
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, and I think we’ve worked in Tennessee now for a couple of years, and we’ve always had the grassroot support, we’ve always had the polling, we’ve got some big allies in the legislature, but we haven’t really have that one leader who could come in and rally the troops, and I think Glenn Mayor Jacobs does an amazing job filling that void. He noted that just this year, the Tennessee State House had already passed HJR8 for congressional term limits, so Tennessee is halfway there. In terms of timing, it is perfect. The ball is in the state senate’s court, and Mr. Mayor here will be helping rally support for that, he’s gonna be participating in advocacy in all corners of the state.
Philip Blumel: His announcement also triggered some public support for this from a federal representative.
Nick Tomboulides: That’s right. Tim Burchett, who himself is actually a former mayor of Knox County, has added his name to the list of those who are supporting this effort. He is a US term limits pledge signer at the federal level, he co-sponsors HJR12 in the US House, and he sent a representative to this press conference to express his support and express his desire that the Senate adopt the US term limits resolution. So it’s great, it’s a little bit of a coalition building from around the state, the people I’ve spoken with have said that there may be other county mayors in Tennessee who are interested in coming on board. I know Mayor Jacobs has relationships across the board, so it’s a very good situation. I’ve known a lot of politicians over the years just by virtue of working in this arena, and I usually come away very unimpressed. [chuckle] Many of them are cynical, they see everyone and everything in terms of keeping power, but Mayor Jacobs, he’s cut from a different cloth. He’s one of the few public servants out there who’s got strong beliefs, you can sense that when you hear him speak about this topic.
Philip Blumel: Yeah. And so we’re getting a lot official support, and we’ve already had a lot of groundswell of support. When this bill was going through the house in Tennessee, the legislators were overwhelmed with letters and phone calls and emails from constituents telling them to vote for this, and there was a letter to the editor in The Daily Post-Athenian, just the other day, June 25th, and a guy named William Cowles from Athens wrote in and basically said, I’ll quote him, “I’m writing to express support for HJR8, which has already passed with bipartisan support in the Tennessee House Representatives and now must be passed by the Tennessee State Senate in 2022.” He points out that, “97% of corporate PAC money is given to incumbents over challengers in Congress. The power of incumbency is too powerful to overcome by voting them out, and for this reason, the system does not allow for serious challenges. Our current Congress is the most experienced in history, and the leadership of its career politicians has set us on a course for dismal failure. Our founding fathers never imagined anyone making a lifetime career out of these political offices,” and he basically finishes up by saying, “Call or write your state senator and let them know how you feel.” And people are doing that.
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, yeah, that’s great. It’s the latest in a recent line of editorial commentaries that we’ve seen coming out of Tennessee. I know Mayor Jacobs himself had a piece recently in the Knoxville News Sentinel, Dr. Manny Sethi, he’s a surgeon at Vanderbilt, who was the runner-up in the Republican primary for US Senate. He also came out with a piece in the Nashville paper, in the Tennessean for it. So it’s great, the editorial page is the most read page of the newspaper, these days, it might be the only page people read in the newspaper, so it’s awesome to see this recent pattern of support. And by the way, if you go on YouTube, if you wanna watch the press conference from this past week, go on YouTube, you search for Glenn Jacobs term limits, or go on US term limits YouTube page, we’ve got it there, click subscribe, you can watch the full official press conference announcement.
Speaker 7: This is a public service announcement.
Speaker 8: I just don’t get it. These people in Congress, do they live in Washington or on some other planet?
Speaker 9: But isn’t Washington like another planet? What now?
Speaker 8: This Senate bill 1. They say it’s for the people, but it’s gonna give politicians tax payer financing for campaigns. Our taxes could pay for negative ads that junk up our TV.
Speaker 9: I know, and I read where it will prohibit states from requiring ID to vote. What? I think you need an ID to get a library card but not to vote?
Speaker 8: It’s just ridiculous.
Speaker 9: Look, you ask me, they wanna do something for the people? They’d set up term limits and get new people in there.
Speaker 8: I think Nancy Pelosi has been in Congress since before I was born. For real.
Speaker 9: But there’s not a word about term limits in Senate Bill 1.
Speaker 8: Of course, because Senate Bill 1 is for the politicians, not the people.
Speaker 10: Contact Senator Kyrsten Sinema. Tell Sinema to oppose Senate Bill 1. It’s a bad bill for your vote and your wallet. Paid for by the Club for Growth.
Philip Blumel: In fact, I think that it’s worthwhile to turn a light on to Mayor Jacob’s op-ed that he had published not too long ago, in the Knoxville Sentinel. You can find it online at knoxvillenews.com. It was excellent, and I think… Let’s hear it right now. Stacey’s reading it for us, it really gives you an idea of the way that Mayor Jacobs is approaching this.
Stacey Selleck: When Congress first moved to term limit the presidency in 1947, President Harry Truman wrote a note endorsing what would become the 22nd amendment, but Truman added a suggestion, he also believed Congress should have term limits. As Truman put it, 12 years of Washington is enough for any man. Today we suffer the consequences of ignoring Truman’s advice, the citizen legislature in Washington that the framers envisioned has mutated into a permanent political class, where members drift loose from their moorings of their home district to take advantage of the perks and privileges of power. A career spent wallowing in the DC swamp has caused far too many lawmakers to forget why they were elected to begin with. As a result, Washington has become synonymous with fiscal mismanagement, dysfunction and distrust. Congress has buried us under $28 trillion of debt, meanwhile, members of the US House and Senate have an abysmal 11% approval rating while still boasting a preposterously high, 95% re-election rate. These aren’t signs of a healthy and well-functioning republic, they are signs of a very broken system. For these reasons, it is time to adopt congressional term limits. Term limits would remind members of Congress that they work for the people, not the other way around.
Stacey Selleck: It would also encourage fresh thinking by bringing in new and diverse perspectives from people who have real world experience outside of the DC bubble. Congress, unlike most other elected offices in America, is a full-time and highly-paid political career, that fact alone underscores the need for congressional term limits. I am under no illusions that Congress will propose term limits on itself, that would be like children agreeing to set their own bedtime, it will never happen, but thankfully, the framers of our great Constitution gave us another path forward. Under Article V of the Constitution, state legislators have the power to call a single issue convention for a constitutional amendment. In this case, we can use this constitutionally delegated power to propose term limits for Congress. The best part? Nobody in the Washington swamp can stop it. The framers created the convention process specifically to help bypass the self-interest of congress. Here in Tennessee, Rep Chris Todd has introduced HJR8, adding Tennessee to the list of states calling for a Congressional term limits convention. To become effective, the bill must pass both the Tennessee state House and state Senate. For the sake of our republic, I hope you will join me in supporting this effort to help make term limits for Congress a reality. By Glenn Jacobs, Mayor of Knox County.
Nick Tomboulides: That’s fantastic. This effort will definitely be turbo-charged with someone like Glenn Jacobs at the helm, and I’m looking forward to working with him.
Philip Blumel: Okay, so when is the deadline for this, because it passed the House, and will be considered by the senate, but when? And when should do we expect our next bit of news from the Tennessee Senate?
Nick Tomboulides: Oh, well, state legislature is not going to reconvene until early next year, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to see a constant drip of news out of Tennessee. We’re looking into hosting a series of meetings with different legislators throughout the state, kind of a listening tour. I think Glenn Jacobs is gonna be involved in that. And so you’re gonna see senators emerging and declaring their support for this, possibly getting more signed up on the US term limits pledge, you’re gonna see more media hits in different markets, so the next official business that you will see will be either early next year, or if there’s pre-filing late this year, but that doesn’t mean term limits won’t be in the news in Tennessee.
Philip Blumel: Anyone listening from Tennessee, be sure to go to termlimits.com/takeaction, so that you can send a message to your Tennessee State Senators, and let them know that you support the Term Limits Convention.
Kenn Quinn: Hi, this is Kenn Quinn, Regional Director with the US Term Limits. Every Fourth of July, I like to read the Declaration of Independence to remind myself of what it means to be an American. One of the founding principles is that good government should depend on the consent of the governed. This is contained in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, which was later embedded into our Constitution under Article V. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall see most likely to affect their safety and happiness.” This right to alter our government is contained in the amending provision of the US Constitution under Article V, and the convention mode is specifically for we, the people, through our state legislatures to propose needed amendments when a tyrannical Congress refuses to do so. That time has arrived and the hour is upon us.
Kenn Quinn: It is time for We the People, to alter our government by calling on our state legislatures to propose a congressional term limits amendment. To learn more about this, check against an unresponsive government. Please visit termlimits.com/debunkingmyths. Thank you.
Philip Blumel: Well, that was big news, Nick. Now I wanna talk to you about a rumor.
Nick Tomboulides: I didn’t do it.
Philip Blumel: What is this here? You don’t… Oh, okay, alright. You deny everything. Right? Well, let me tell you what it is first.
Nick Tomboulides: I’m sorry, I got caught though.
Philip Blumel: Wait a minute, are you a politician now?
Nick Tomboulides: Not yet.
Philip Blumel: Okay, anyway, the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota has an opinion piece written by Rob Port. It’s basically pitching a rumor that he has picked up about a possible ballot measure to implement term limits in North Dakota this election cycle. Something tells me you might know a little bit about that, fact or fiction?
Nick Tomboulides: Well, I think the cat is out of the bag now, since that Rob Port piece, there have been a few other articles, the Bismarck Tribune, Grand Forks Herald, and this is now being reported in hard news, not just the propaganda on that one, that a group of North Dakota Citizens has submitted a new petition to the Secretary of State’s office, and it is an amendment to the state constitution to place eight-year term limits on the state legislature and governor. That is no longer a rumor, that is confirmed.
Philip Blumel: Okay, I’m excited to hear about it. Eight-year term limits, that’s what we’re pushing at all levels of government, and I know that you and I both have an estate that has that already on their legislature to great effect, and I wish everyone in North Dakota, the citizens there that are working on this, the best of luck.
Nick Tomboulides: Florida happens to be the number one state in the nation for fiscal health by the way, and it’s also the state with more term limits than anywhere else, so if we’re just talking effectiveness of term limits, but North Dakota is one of just 14 states that have no term limit on the governor, that’s part of this amendment, eight years for the governor and two of its neighbor states, Montana and South Dakota already have eight-year term limits on their legislatures. To get this on the ballot for 2022, this committee has one year, they need to collect 31,164 signatures, and if they do that, term limits will be on the 2022 ballot for all North Dakota citizens to vote on.
Philip Blumel: Fantastic. Alright, well, we’ll be following that story as well. What kind of history do we have in North Dakota with term limits Nick?
Nick Tomboulides: Well, if you recall, North Dakota was a major battleground for US term limits earlier this year. But the subject was congressional term limits, not term limits for state legislators. And in that debate over the term limits convention, the State Legislature showed a callous disregard for the people. They voted down, the term limits convention by a margin of 65-26, that’s more than a two-to-one margin. They voted against term limits for Congress despite the polls showing 84% of North Dakota citizens supported that bill. So in a sense, when you look at what these citizens are doing with this amendment, is it possible the chickens are coming home to roost a little bit.
Philip Blumel: That’s what it seems like.
Nick Tomboulides: I mean, would it shock you if these folks who are behind these ballot measures said, “Hey, you politicians don’t listen to us, so we’re gonna go out and find new legislators who will.” It looks to be a classic case of actions having consequences.
Philip Blumel: No kidding.
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.
Philip Blumel: If your state has already passed the Term limits convention resolution or the bill has 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: Contact your state law makers before they vote on term limits for Congress, go to termlimits.com/takeaction.
Speaker 12: USTL.