Philip Blumel: Happy Term Limits Day. February 27th. Hi, I’m Philip Blumel. Welcome to No Uncertain Terms, the official podcast of the Term Limits Movement for the week of February 27th, 2023.
Stacey Selleck: Your sanctuary from partisan politics.
Philip Blumel: However you chose to show public support for term limits today, please take a picture and post it on social media. Thank you, everyone, for making a stand today. If you didn’t prepare for Term Limits Day, well, you can still redeem yourself. Just send out a post wishing everyone a happy Term Limits Day, February 27th. You can grab some stock footage from termlimits.com/termlimitsday if you want, and be sure to include #termlimitsday, no spaces in your message, so we can track down these posts and repost them to our networks. Anyway, following up on last week’s top story about former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announcing her run for president, this week we have another new presidential contender, and he too is talking about term limits. Vivek Ramaswamy is an author, he’s an asset manager and a founder of Roivant Sciences, a biopharmaceutical firm. He left that firm in 2021 to found Strive Asset Management and publish his bestselling book, Woke Incorporated: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam.
Philip Blumel: Unfortunately, in one of his first salvos against the other presidential aspirants, he tweeted this about Nikki Haley’s table pounding for congressional term limits, “If the President can’t work for the government for more than eight years, neither should most federal bureaucrats. I like her idea of term limits for elected officials, but what we really need is sunset clauses for the actual cancer in the government, the managerial bureaucracy.” That was on February 17th. Well, this is very disappointing. There are a few cliches that we hear over and over from politicians who wanna shut down meaningful discussions on the issue of congressional term limits. They know how popular congressional term limits are, so they don’t come out and say they oppose it. Instead, they come up with some variation of the, “yes but argument.”
Philip Blumel: For example, term limits are good, but what we really need is comprehensive election finance reform. Ugh, as if these things are mutually exclusive. Or how about this one? Oh, I support term limits, but the proposal on the table calls for a six-year limit in the House, and I support a 12-year limit, or an 18-year limit, or 108-year limit or whatever. Ugh, I haven’t heard that one before. And then this one from Vivek. Term limits on Congress are just peachy keen, but what we really need is term limits on the bureaucracy. Seriously? Congressional term limits is on the table. Five states have applied for a term limits convention under Article V of the US Constitution. We were promised a vote in the House on the US term limits Amendment bill, which is introduced to both houses and has lots of sponsors and pledged supporters. There is no bill, no proposal, no movement, no studies, there’s nothing about term limits on bureaucrats.
Philip Blumel: It just sounds good. I mean, everybody likes to slag a bureaucrat and I’m not above it, to be sure [chuckle], but think about it. Why are term limits so important? Just because we don’t like Congress people? No. Rotation in office is crucial for competitive elections. Term limits are important to sever the relationships that grew up between decision makers and special interests over time. Term limits are important to offer access to Congress so that the job is inviting to serious goal-oriented people and not solely people who aspire to be career politicians and benefit themselves. These benefits don’t apply to the case of term limits on bureaucrats. I mean, for all the problems with bureaucracies, in and out of government, the army of employees in the government are more like workers in other industries in this respect than Congress members.
Philip Blumel: The bureaucrats learn a job and they’re better at it as they go, and a lot of them have specialization and cannot easily be replaced every X number of years. Yes, they apply for these jobs because they are looking for a career, and in their position, not as representatives of the people like Congress. It is not out of line that they should be looking for a job and a career. It’s a different type of position. And term limiting bureaucrats is a bad idea for these reasons, but there’s legal obstacles, too. I mean, many of these employees are union members and have contracts. So what benefits are proposed by Ramaswamy or anyone else for term limiting bureaucrats? Well, he didn’t say. They never say. The issue has never really been proposed or examined. I have heard it used as an applause line and it works. It’s a vacuous idea that diverts attention from a sensible and time-tested policy like term limits towards something which does not and really cannot exist. Like most American voters, I don’t know Vivek Ramaswamy very well. Now, we’ll learn a lot more as primary season progresses and term limits aren’t the only issue. But I’ll tell you what, in his first time at bat as a candidate, Mr. Ramaswamy struck out.
Philip Blumel: On the positive side, I’ll say that the fact that one of his first announcements was about the issue of term limits shows how it is emerging as an important one in the next election season, and that is a good omen. Next, term limits convention bills are advancing in the states. Last week we announced that a New Hampshire House Committee approved the Term Limits Convention Resolution, and it is headed to its second committee before it hopefully reaches the floor of the New Hampshire House. Since then, as Holly Robichaud informs us via her breaking news show on YouTube, there have been additional victories at the state level. Holly.
Holly Robichaud: We have breaking news coming out of Arizona. House Resolution 2016 passed 8-1 out of committee. That’s right, 8-1. We’re on the move in Arizona. We have more breaking news, this time coming out of Kansas. The House Federal and State Committee passed our resolution 13-9. We’re on the move in Kansas and Arizona and so many other states.
Philip Blumel: To get the news as it happens, check out Holly’s show at youtube.com/ustermlimits or like US Term Limits on Facebook for alerts of new shows. In fact, there are nine states where the resolution has now passed or is scheduled for a hearing in committees. The term limits movement is on the move. You can check out the progress at termlimits.com/takeaction. If your state is moving on the issue, you will find simple but important actions that you can take to help. Please do. And now for something completely different, Pennsylvania activists Jim and Don Fleming celebrated term limits day this year by writing and recording the term limit song. Turkeys don’t vote for Thanksgiving and chickens don’t like Purdue. The only way they’ll go away is to make term limits come true. Oh yeah, let’s hear it.[music]
Philip Blumel: One of the states we’re seeing action is Tennessee. Here’s a clip from WKRN ABC News 2 in Nashville last week.
Speaker 4: From our state capitol newsroom, term limits have been a topic of discussion several times over the last few years, and now there’s a resolution in Tennessee to advance the conversation. State capitol reporter Chris O’Brien has more on that.
Chris O’Brien: House Joint Resolution V would call on Congress to consider imposing term limits. Most of the time a resolution isn’t binding. This is roughly the same but could end up holding some weight.
Chris Todd: In this situation, a resolution is binding from the standpoint of our US Constitution. Article V says that if the states request an Article V convention for a specific purpose, then Congress shall name a place and time for that convention.
Chris O’Brien: Madison County Republican representative Chris Todd, sponsored the legislation. An Article V convention happens when at least 34 states pass a resolution calling to propose a specific amendment. In this situation, congressional term limits.
Chris Todd: It’s created bad policy and it’s created bad direction for the country.
Chris O’Brien: Regardless of whether or not he’s correct, Todd says he feels pretty confident not only that Tennessee will pass the resolution, but that 33 other states will too.
Chris Todd: I am probably somewhere in the nine to 10 range on confidence now.
Chris O’Brien: We’ll see where it goes once session starts in January.
Philip Blumel: Representative Chris Todd who appeared in that clip joined Knoxville County mayor Glenn Jacobs and US term limits Regional Director Aaron Dukette in January on the Dan Reaves Show on 96.5 FM News Talk, West Tennessee.
Dan Reaves: And Chris says, let’s reset it real quick. Why are you here?
Chris Todd: I’m running a resolution in the State General Assembly to call on Congress to set a convention of the states, an Article V constitutional convention to discuss amendments to the Constitution related to term limits for Congress, US Congress.
Dan Reaves: Are you good at getting pushback ’cause we were talking earlier, it’s a pretty big percentage of Tennesseans… Or that percentage of 83%, is that limited to Tennessee or are you talking nationwide?
Chris Todd: I think that’s nationwide, if I remember correctly.
Dan Reaves: Is that right, Aaron?
Aaron Dukette: Yeah, that’s nationwide. Yeah. There’s a Tennessee specific poll. It’s at 78%, so it’s all roughly around 80% wherever you go.
Chris Todd: Probably within the margin of error.
Dan Reaves: The mayor of Knox County in the line with us, mayor, I assume it’s nearly the same there with Knox County, would you say?
Glenn Jacobs: Yeah. Oh, of course. Congress is unpopular anywhere you go, and I think people are tired of career politicians. You see these folks who they go to Washington and they’re not wealthy people and they go to Washington and they leave Washington and they’re very wealthy people after spending a career there. And we all look at that and don’t think that’s fair and just they’re so out of touch. And if nothing else, the term limits would hopefully insulate people from going to Washington and then Washington becoming their hometown instead of the district that they’re from. Because they get way too comfortable for being there too long.
Speaker 10: That’s a great point.
Dan Reaves: Absolutely.
Chris Todd: The mayor mentioned something earlier that is…
Dan Reaves: Lard Layman is here as well. Yes, sir. Chris?
Chris Todd: The mayor mentioned earlier, and this is the critical piece of this. Congress over the decades has taken so much power away from the states unconstitutionally, and just unchecked because of this amount of I guess insulation that they have. And so, I mean, you almost name any department other than defense and it’s hard to justify that under the Constitution, these things are left to the states. The specific powers of the US government, federal government are extremely limited, and there’s a short list of their responsibilities, but yet they have taken away from the states over decades many of those responsibilities, even environmental stuff. That’s not a federal responsibility, that’s a state responsibility, but yet they control so much. I mean, this week, talking about doing away with cooktops that have burners, you know?
Speaker 10: Yeah, gas stoves. Yeah. Are you kidding me?
Chris Todd: Are you kidding me? Over what? Some federal idea, some policy that no one in Tennessee would think is a smart idea or practical or useful. And then they’re gonna try to cram it down our throats. I think they’re gonna get enough pushback that that’ll never happen. But look how much is driven by the federal EPA in our emissions. I mean, I’ve got vehicles right now getting less mileage. We’re burning more fuel than we were 10 or 15 years ago.
Speaker 10: Absolutely. Bigger vehicles. Yep.
Chris Todd: Yeah, because they put so much restrictions on these vehicles. It’s not about a manufacturer making a product that is what the end user wants, it’s about, “Oh, we’ve gotta comply with this EPA regulation.”
Dan Reaves: Well Chris, a great point in these vehicles, actually, are much lighter than they were back in the day. So if you do the math on it, it’s…
Chris Todd: Doesn’t make sense, does not make sense.
Dan Reaves: The math doesn’t add up, does it? And the mayor mentioned Washington DC and being out of touch. The wealthiest people in America live in the beltway right outside of Washington DC. I don’t think that’s… I think you can figure it out. There’s another one. Let’s just do the math on this. Aaron, would you like to join in here or what’s your thoughts on what State Representative Chris Todd and the mayor have said concerning Washington DC? And I’ll ask you a specific question. These career politicians, now, it’s both sides, but Nancy Pelosi, and we have people that texted and call her Tales from the Crypt Pelosi. They think she favors that character on Tales from the Crypt. I didn’t say that personally, but some people say that, that’s a good example of how much wealth that Nancy has compiled over the years. And we do know this, that when it comes to credit card legislation, she seems to have benefited from that ’cause she’s greatly affected it. It seems like you know what I’m talking about. And also that insider trading, that seems… I mentioned to you, you’re a Patriots fan, that’s taping the other team’s practices so you know what play they’re running. Seems to help. It also seems Warren Buffet looks like a kindergartener compared to Nancy Pelosi sometimes, doesn’t he?[laughter]
Aaron Dukette: Yeah, there’s a lot going on there, but the incumbency advantage is multifaceted. There’s a natural incumbency advantage to any incumbent ’cause people know your name and so forth. And that’s natural. But then there’s an artificial level, which is most of it in Washington DC where you have the special interests, the corporate pack money. All the lobbyists are schmoozing with you, you’re surrounded by what we call the swamp. The swamp is really a hot tub. It’s actually nice when you’re in there, you relax and recline.
Dan Reaves: I don’t know about you, Aaron. Somebody gives me money, I like ’em. Yeah, I like when they laugh at your jokes, you know? I’m gonna have to start paying people, I guess.[laughter]
Aaron Dukette: And we don’t see that so much in the state level. And that’s why we have a re-election rate that’s consistently 95% to 98% in Congress every two years. Every two years we’re told this is the most important election of our lifetime. You gotta get out there. You gotta white knuckle it, get out to the polls.
Speaker 10: You’re right.
Aaron Dukette: And you do. But look what the result is. You know what the re-election rate was in the US Senate in 2022?
Dan Reaves: 92%?
Aaron Dukette: 100%.
Speaker 10: Wow.
Aaron Dukette: Every incumbent that ran in the US Senate won his re-election. The only turnover was because of retirements. So we have effectively… You know, we wanna be able to vote for whoever we want to ideally, on paper that makes sense. But in reality, we don’t get to, that’s why the voters so overwhelmingly want term limits on Congress is because they feel like when they go to the ballot box, they’re forced, like I’m stuck with the same person day after day. And I live in Kentucky, right? So you got Mitch McConnell that’s been there since 1985. You mentioned Pelosi’s been there since 1989.
Speaker 10: No wonder you’re so interested in this issue. [laughter]
Dan Reaves: Yeah. Well, what do you think about that?
Aaron Dukette: Well, Republicans feel like I don’t have any real options to unseat Mitch McConnell. What would that cost to unseat Mitch McConnell?
Speaker 10: Oh my gosh.
Aaron Dukette: It’s impossible.
Dan Reaves: If you swing and miss, you’re done.
Aaron Dukette: Absolutely.
Speaker 10: That too.
Dan Reaves: Now we’ll say this though, on I-65 on that bike trip I was telling you about when we left Tennessee into Kentucky, it was noticeably better infrastructure in Kentucky. I thought Mitch McConnell, there is a bit of it.
Aaron Dukette: Well, he’s gone on record in debates and said, “I help Kentucky punch above its weight.” And he does. I mean, financially he takes more money in than we put in.
Chris Todd: That’s our money that’s going into Kentucky.
Speaker 10: Yeah, there you go.
Aaron Dukette: But my question for them is, well, what are you gonna do after Mitch McConnell’s done? ‘Cause he is not 20. He’s not gonna be staying until he dies. I mean, he’s not young.
Dan Reaves: He’s in his 110s for crying out loud.[laughter]
Chris Todd: To the point we talked about earlier, until we have some limits on their tenure, we will never limit the size of this federal government. Their bent is to build a bigger kingdom for themselves. That’s just natural. It’s from every local organization, governmental organization to the federal. That is their nature, is to build a bigger kingdom, hire more people, get into more things, control more of your lives. And Republicans as a whole are for the opposite of that, yet when they get to Congress, some of them forget that and we’ve got some of these ingrained like that, that totally forget that’s what they’re there for, is to protect the freedoms and liberties of their constituents, not bring money back home from some other state.
Dan Reaves: Yeah. And mayor, I think what Chris, Aaron and you, this gives you so much legitimacy, this efforts that you guys are a part of because it’s nonpartisan. It’s both sides. Mayor, it lends credibility to this movement, doesn’t it?
Glenn Jacobs: Absolutely. This is one of the few things that the vast majority of Americans agree on.
Speaker 10: Agree on. Exactly.
Glenn Jacobs: Yeah. We have all these other issues and we’re completely divided on everything. And this is maybe the one issue that, as Aaron and Representative Todd are saying that 80% of Americans think that there needs to be some sort of term limit on Congress. And that gives a huge advantage and a huge momentum to this issue. I think last year the bill was ran and I think it got to the House and then it got hung up in the Senate committee. Am I correct on that Representative Todd?
Chris Todd: Yes, that’s correct.
Glenn Jacobs: Good to see it coming back.
Aaron Dukette: Absolutely.
Dan Reaves: Yes sir, yes sir, yes sir. Chris you mentioned that maybe other than the military, but even there there’s so much waste, now, we want a strong military there’s no doubt, but what do you make of it? Is this something that you’ve delved into the amounts of money that’s wasted? You know, fighter jets at billions of dollars spent, they never get off the ground sort of a thing, almost perpetual wars, we went bankrupt three wars on a credit card, evidently that’s not a good idea, but what do you make of the military industrial complex?
Chris Todd: Well, talking to some key military people that have… I’ve got friends that have managed a lot of different facets of military purchasing, one in particular had literally billions of dollars under his control and he’s told about how the influence from Congress to do stupid things like reusable products, I’m gonna say, and I’m talking about big products that you deploy and then you pack ’em back up and store ’em until you need ’em again, and when they’re deployed someone in Congress, namely Nancy Pelosi, was on the phone saying, “You need to order more of these. You need to spend some money and order more,” and he said, “We don’t need any more, we’ve got all we need.”
Speaker 10: Reusable.
Chris Todd: We’re gonna reuse these.
Speaker 10: Yeah.
Chris Todd: You don’t understand. You will order more because she had someone in her district or a big contributor that made a lot of money off of that. And so she will in turn have some benefit out of that, if it’s just in her re-election campaign or if it’s some favor down the road, I guarantee you there is some payback there, that is your and my money, that’s the problem. It’s our constituents’ money that is being used to do that so if we just got out of the way, got the politics out of the way and let the military with proper oversight just like we do on a state level do the purchasing, do the contracting in a practical manner without that political influence, we’d save a lot of money.
Dan Reaves: Yeah, I agree. I should have known you’re already on top of that. But Aaron, that’s status quo. They don’t go away very easily, there’s a lot of money and they’re like pigs at the through, so that’s a big hill to climb when you think about it. Have you thought about that?
Aaron Dukette: Yeah. Well, have I thought? I live it.[laughter]
Speaker 10: Everyday. I thought about that.
Aaron Dukette: Yeah, for a living I live it. Yeah, it is a hard climb and the framers were right to make it a very high, hard bar to not only propose but to ratify any amendment. Congress has proposed all the amendments up till now and the states together have that mechanism but they have yet to propose a single amendment, it’s time for the states to do it.
Speaker 10: Wow.
Dan Reaves: Yeah. Isn’t it crazy?
Aaron Dukette: And is there any other amendment that would be more obvious for the states to do it than to term limit Congress? Because I told you I live right near the original Kentucky Fried Chicken, so asking Congress to vote for their own term limits is like asking chickens to vote for Colonel Sanders. That’s my dad joke in the morning.[laughter]
Speaker 10: Yeah, you’re right, you’re right. Absolutely.
Aaron Dukette: But it’s true. I think you can force them.
Dan Reaves: That’s too close to a dead joke, I didn’t get it.[laughter]
Chris Todd: Better than dad’s.[laughter]
Dan Reaves: No, I…
Aaron Dukette: But we do think actually and I’ll make that quip, that’s true of now but actually when we get close to 31, 32, 33 states and the states are knocking on that door to do this for them, they’re not gonna grandfather Congress in there, right? So they’re not gonna be very friendly to him. Why? ‘Cause well, those guys from the states are gonna want those seats. We’re gonna want congressman Todd here, right?
Speaker 10: Yeah.
Dan Reaves: Yeah.
Aaron Dukette: But we think that it’s very possible that Congress at that point says Caesar writing on the wall, finally says we better act and propose this and do it in our own hands and get it done and historically that’s what’s happened.
Dan Reaves: But Aaron, here’s what I worry about and is there’s so much money that you guys in, say Representative Todd and Mayor Jacobs, they spend that money on some very good advertisement, some people say it’s propaganda, they kind of take the language and turn it inside out, you know? Now, I know this is not news to you either but they’re very good at messaging.
Aaron Dukette: Oh, yeah.
Dan Reaves: And some people call that misinformation or… The willingness to mislead the American people just blows my mind, it’s sickening, isn’t it?
Aaron Dukette: It sure is, and we’re ready to correct the record as soon as they start doing so. I mean, they’re gonna fight this tooth and nail all the way to the bitter end.
Dan Reaves: Let me give a suggestion, you don’t have to take it if you don’t want it, I’d take Kane with me.
Speaker 10: Yeah, I’d take him with you. Absolutely. Absolutely.
Chris Todd: Right by our side.
Dan Reaves: I’d take the mayor, yeah. Now is it true that when you get to Congress or you get to the Senate, a part of your daily routine is you must work the phones every day for a certain amount of time to raise money.
Aaron Dukette: Yeah, you know, 60 minutes did a special a few years ago now, Dialing for Dollars, and exposed… They followed a Republican and a Democratic congressman and they followed ’em across the street from the Capitol to their respective offices where they have all these cubicles and basically get on a phone and they dial for a donor list and they spend more than 50% of their time, like 50% to 60% of their time doing that, not the art of states craft, whatever they would call it, actually doing the job of a legislator.
Speaker 10: State craft.
Aaron Dukette: So it shows you where their priorities are. The previous Congress I ran the numbers of all their leadership and all of the committee chairs and I wanted to know how long had they served before they were given their first committee chairmanship, and talk about Chris Todd in his third term having a chairmanship here in Tennessee, well, in DC you would be there raising money for the party for 18 years in the House or 21 years in the Senate before you’re given… On average given your first committee chairmanship.
Speaker 10: Wow.
Dan Reaves: I guess it’s killing two birds with one stone, ain’t it? It would keep Chris busy, he wouldn’t be able to come up with ideas like this and it, doesn’t it? And it keeps him… Yeah, I see what they are doing now.
Aaron Dukette: It encourages careerism.
Dan Reaves: Yeah.
Speaker 10: Yeah, absolutely.
Aaron Dukette: It’s set up to encourage that.
Speaker 10: Absolutely.
Chris Todd: And the other part of it is ethics, we have ethics rules in the state of Tennessee that are very, very strict and a lot different than they were 20, 30 years ago, but when Republicans took over about, what? 12, 14 years ago in control of the House and the Senate and the State, we started changing the ethics rules So we don’t have lobbyists taking us out to dinner. That’s illegal. It is very, very strict. You won’t find Congress doing that. They don’t put restrictions on themselves, they can raise money year round apparently, we can’t. I’m in session now, I can’t raise money until we’re out of session. And so it’s practical things that they could do but they will never do that unless the people force ’em to, and Aaron is right, once we get close to getting that 32, 33 states that have passed this resolution, they’re gonna start squirming and say we better come up with something or they’re gonna do it themselves.
Dan Reaves: Yeah.
Philip Blumel: Can you feel the momentum? Happy Term Limits Day indeed.[music]
Stacey Selleck: Like the show? You can help by subscribing and leaving a five star review on both Apple and Spotify, it’s free.
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 are 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: Contact your state lawmakers before they vote on term limits for Congress. Go to termlimits.com/takeaction.
Speaker 11: USTL.