Philip Blumel: Nick Tomboulides, live. Hi, I’m Philip Blumel. Welcome to No Uncertain Terms, the official podcast of the term limits movement, for the week of November 1, 2021.
Stacey Selleck: Your sanctuary from partisan politics.
Philip Blumel: One of the strengths of the term limits movement is that this important good government reform is embraced by people across the spectrum: From Democrat to Republican, from conservative to progressive; pretty much anyone who’s not a politician, a lobbyist, or a party functionary. Hence, US Term Limits Executive Director Nick Tomboulides, I, and the rest of the crew feel very comfortable in speaking to any audience, and we take every opportunity to do so. In October, Nick had the opportunity to appear on The Newsmax Daily with Rob Carson, a new podcast and radio show that has seen explosive popularity on the right side of the aisle. It was a fun and punchy interview, as you might expect, with Carson, a career comedy writer who made his name working for Rush Limbaugh, and of course, our own Nick Tomboulides. So let’s hear that one again. Roll it.
Rob Carson: So, have you thought about term limits and wanting Congress to have term limits, both houses of Congress to have term limits, and I have… And I’ve been saying it forever, I think two terms for Senate, four… Or six, I should say, for House. It’s about 12 years, and you can’t become one or the other. You have to just serve two terms as a Senator, six terms as a House of Representative, then you’re done! And you can’t lobby. That’s what I say. But nothing seems to be done about it, and after watching some of Nick Tomboulides’s videos, I’ve kinda gone, “Huh? Wow.” And he joins us on the phone; he is the executive director of US Term Limits. Hello, my friend! Nice to finally hook up with you on the radio.
Nick Tomboulides: Robinson, pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.
Rob Carson: One thing that I found to be really compelling about some of the testimony that I’ve seen you do is that the Senate, particularly, I believe a little bit more so with the Senate, but with both houses of Congress, once you get in, it’s like being a tenured professor: You’re not going anywhere. Why don’t you explain that?
Nick Tomboulides: It really is, and they have worse turnover in Congress than in the Soviet Politburo. They have worse turnover in the Senate than in the House of Lords. Congress has basically become America’s most expensive retirement home. We have the senators who are in their 80s. They’re sitting on committees to regulate Facebook, and they might not even know how to turn on a computer. Dianne Feinstein is 88. She got her first elected job 50 years ago, and we’ve seen how that’s turned out for our country. The entire thing has just become a disaster. They have a 15% approval rating, they’ve got a 98% reelection rate… You tell me that system’s not broken. And… As you said, we’ve given these career politicians a chance. They have run the show for decades, and it’s a dumpster fire. We have nothing but debt, dysfunction, we’ve got corruption, we’ve got abuses of power. You see this spending package that’s being pushed now; it’s the largest in history. They’re just pouring gasoline on the inflation fire. And these career politicians have failed, and everybody knows it, but we’re running out of time to change the system. So, we wanna take government back, we wanna give power back to the people, and the way to do that, as you noted, is term limits for Congress.
Rob Carson: I’ve been saying for well over a decade that people in this country are sick and tired of people going to Washington DC and spending their entire lives telling us how to live ours. Since I said that, when I was working in Washington DC on the radio, things have not gotten any better. You say that the Congress has a 15% approval rating. Why… How do these people keep getting elected? For instance, AOC: She got reelected, and she chased Amazon out of Brooklyn. How’s this happening?
Nick Tomboulides: You know, it’s the power of incumbency that controls in this situation. I’ll go on Capital Hill, and I’ll have these members of Congress smugly lecture me on how… “If you don’t like me, why don’t you just vote me out?” But meanwhile, those same members of Congress are sitting on a war chest of $15,000,000, $20,000,000 to make sure that nobody ever challenges them for those seats, because elections are dominated by incumbents, and incumbents have every advantage in the world. They’ve got name ID, they’ve got special interest PAC money, they get 10 bucks sent to their campaigns for every dollar that goes to a challenger, they’ve got free media, they write the campaign finance rules, and generally, the person who writes the rules wins the game. And they can spend taxpayer money on their campaigns, ’cause they’ve got the franking privilege. So I’ll get a mailer from my congressman, he says, “Congressional hurricane update. Here’s all the stuff I’m doing to help you.” Meanwhile, he doesn’t mention on that mailer that that’s… That bill is being paid by the US taxpayers.
Nick Tomboulides: So when you take on an incumbent, it’s not a fair fight. 90% of incumbents are either running unopposed or underopposed, meaning if they have an incumbent… Sorry, if they have an opponent, it’s not a person who’s running a serious campaign. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my elections to look like a Soviet grocery store. I want more candidates, I want more options, I want more principled people who are throwing their hats in the ring, and term limits is how you accomplish that, because when you have term limits, you are guaranteed an open seat on a regular basis. You are guaranteed to have that chance as a voter to change the system. And you know, we live in a representative republic. The voters are owed that chance to change the system and to turn this government around, ’cause right now, it seems like we’re reaching the point of no return.
Rob Carson: I think we are reaching a point of no return, and right now, we have people in Congress who are really against the will of the American people. If you look at all of the… Well, the SS Bitanic is taking on water. People are realizing that the country is going to… Going to hell in a handbasket, and they’re tired of it. What sort of limits are you talking? What… With the House versus Senate. What are we talking here for you?
Nick Tomboulides: So, we have a bill in Congress. It is HJR12 in the US House, and it is SJR3 in the US Senate, that’s sponsored by Congressman Ralph Norman and Senator Ted Cruz, and it is for a three-term limit in the house and a two-term limit in the Senate. And we’ve got about 92 members of Congress who have signed the pledge to support that resolution and who have cosponsored that, but I will tell you, getting members of Congress to vote for term limits is like getting turkeys to vote for Thanksgiving. The odds are very low. And so, we are not putting our eggs in that congressional basket. We are actually asking state legislatures to help us propose term limits for Congress and put pressure on the federal level.
Rob Carson: This may sound a little off. Would a convention of states address something like this?
Nick Tomboulides: That’s what we are aiming for, because… You hit the nail on the head there. The founding fathers, they gave us another way to skin the cat under Article 5 of the Constitution. The state legislatures can create constitutional amendments with a convention. And that, in my opinion, that’s really the way that we take our government back, because nobody in Washington can stop that. When you get 34 state legislatures to pass a resolution saying “We want term limits for Congress,” then the states can bypass Washington, and they can propose term limits for Congress on their own. So, that is what we’re working on at US Term Limits. We’re going to all the state legislatures, asking the past resolutions for a convention just to term limit Congress, no other topic. We have a pledge that state legislators can sign, state reps, state senators, candidates for those offices, saying, “I will vote for the Term Limits Convention. I will vote and cosponsor a resolution to term limit Congress.” We’ve got nearly 700 state legislators onboard all across America.
Rob Carson: I liken what’s going on in Washington DC, and have for many years, likened it to A Tale of Two Cities. You’ve got the ruling class, you’ve got the underclass. We are the proletariat, as it were. And we also now have the added benefit of a political prison, a… Literally, the January 6th protesters, in a… In their best deal, essentially. And I like to say this is not gonna end well for Democrats, or just people in Washington who have been there forever. But just explain real quick to the folks who have not seen Washington Inside, and how celebrated and glorious the lives of these individuals who are sent there to represent us are. I remember my 40th birthday at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, looking over Ronald Reagan International Airport, and Tom Daschle walked in with his entourage, and the entire place went silent, and he was ushered over to his table, and he was waited on hand and vest while I waited for my steak. Tell us about what you’ve seen in Washington DC.
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, they really operate like kings and queens, or dukes and duchesses. I remember when Harry Reid was there, and he complained that the tunnels underneath the Capitol were too smelly because of all the tourists.[chuckle]
Nick Tomboulides: So… Yeah, corruption is everywhere, arrogance is everywhere. Most of the time, it goes unpunished. We’ve got members of Congress involved in insider trading, their own portfolios or beating the market. How does that happen?
Rob Carson: How does Nancy Pelosi… How does Nancy Pelosi go from $118,000,000 in value to over $300,000,000 for her portfolio?
Nick Tomboulides: I don’t know. I don’t know how people enter Congress in debt and leave with a $30,000,000 net worth, if not for insider trading. And you’ve got them living high on the hog, members of Congress. My old congresswoman, Queen Corrine Brown, from here in Florida, she embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from her own charity. She was going on a shopping spree, she was sitting in a luxury box at the Beyonce concert, all with stolen funds. She spent two years in prison, but she got out on a technicality. There are so many others who use their campaign funds for personal expenses. We had one member of Congress who spent campaign money to fly his pet rabbit across the country in first class on Air Force One.
Rob Carson: Wow!
Nick Tomboulides: They’re taking illegal donations in some cases. Just yesterday, we had another Congressman who was indicted for allegedly doing that. It’s a problem that we see in both parties, and it’s really not going to stop unless we curb the power of these politicians, because, as we see at every level, the longer you allow somebody to keep power, the more likely they are to abuse it.
Rob Carson: Yeah, I was reading yesterday, Joe Biden, over the weekend, he was talking about at that daycare center, and he said that for 36 years, he was known as the poorest man in Congress, and he paid… In 2017, he paid $2,700,000 for a house, and he has two other homes, worth altogether, a combined… Over $10,000,000. And he did it on a $170,000 a year. Isn’t that amazing? He’s got a hell of a money manager in Hunter Biden.[laughter]
Rob Carson: Hey, listen, Nick, I greatly appreciate you joining us today, and Nick Tomboulides, I appreciate the insight, and I would encourage people to go to termlimits.com. Anything else you’d like to say, as far as your social media and whatnot, or is it just “Go to termlimits.com to find out more.”?
Nick Tomboulides: I would just say go to termlimits.com. A lot of people don’t know this, but term limits for Congress is not just the most popular issue in the country, it’s also the most bipartisan issue in the country. We’ve got 87% of Republicans, 80% of Independents, 74% of Democrats on our side on this. So people are ready to see this happening. If you’re sick of these decrepit, corrupt career politicians, these people who are enlarging the debt or kicking the can down the road… They refuse to live under the laws they force on the rest of us. If you are sick of all that, join this movement. Go to termlimits.com and sign up today, because we can get this done, and we can get it done soon.
Rob Carson: Alright, Nick, nice talking to you, man. We’ll have you on again sometime soon, okay?
Nick Tomboulides: Thank you, Rob. I appreciate it.
Scott Tillman: Hello, this is Scott Tillman, the National Field Director with US Term Limits. We’re still a year out, but candidates have already begun signing up to run for office. Next November, we’re going to elect people to fill 435 US House seats and over 30 US Senate seats. There’s gonna be several thousand people running, and we’ve already had over 210 new Congressional candidates sign the pledge for a term limits amendment. We’re also working state by state to pass resolutions for a term limits amendment convention. There are over 7000 State legislative seats in the 50 states, and over 6000 of those are going to be up for election next November. We need your help to get candidates this pledge: “I pledge that as a member of the State Legislature, I will cosponsor, vote for, and defend the resolution applying for an Article 5 convention for the sole purpose of enacting term limits on Congress. There will be over 4000 unelected candidates in these races, and so far, we have 167 of them pledged. We need your help to get to the rest. Follow us on Facebook to see new signers and to get other term limits news. And contact me, Scott Tillman, at termlimits.com to help with pledges in your state. Act today to help us term limit Congress.
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 of 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, 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: The revolution isn’t being televised. Fortunately, you have the No Uncertain Terms podcast.
Speaker 6: USTL.