Saturday, January 3, 2015

Paul's Term Limits Amendment Could Set Table for 2024

Term limits.

Enter Rand Paul, the Tea Party poster boy. The Junior Senator from Kentucky has advocated term limits. In fact, he has listed term limits as a key to reforming Washington.

A super majority of Americans agree with him, per Gallup and Quinnipiac. The question becomes, would sponsorship of such an amendment merit delaying his other ambition: to be President of the United States?

Paul hasn't decided on a Presidential run. Indications however, suggest that he is strongly considering it. Which generates the next question: "With a crowded field that is likely to include Jeb Bush and Rick Perry, wouldn't it be better for Paul to delay Presidential aspirations and settle for an almost certain re-election?"

Mitch McConnell doesn't support term limits. He answered the question in proclaiming that "we already have term limits." According to the new Senate Majority leader, "every six years consituents are given the opportunity to make a change."

"Besides," as McConnell concluded, "it takes every bit of two Senate terms to master navigation of the federal bureaucracy."

Support for term limits notwithstanding, expect McConnell to urge Paul to seek re-election. While there are some promising Republican Congressmen available, Rand Paul would be difficult, if not impossible to dislodge in a re-election bid. 2016 will be a "hold" year for Republicans. The party leadership is reluctant to take chances with a secure seat.

Actually, Paul might help his future presidential chances if he did stay out. A return to the Senate that featured his sponsorship of a term limits amendment would grant him national exposure! True, such action would anger Senate and Congressional long termers. If passed at least 75% of the seats would turnover in both House and Senate.

Let's examine McConnell's assertion. "Two, six-year terms to master bureaucracy navigation?" Are we kidding? Maybe not!

A term limits amendment would need to be accompanied by an all out effort to decentralize. As McConnell accurately surmised, the "Executive branch" has "grown to the point that it has unsurprassed power." Weakening the legislative branch, in theory could actually be dangerous. Or, are these the mere rantings of a six-term career politician, not wanting to resign from the best job in America?

Pretend, for the sake of the argument, that McConnell is correct. Would not it be wise to divert power away from Washington, in favor of the individual states? Texas Governor, Rick Perry thinks so! If Perry has his way, the Education, Energy and Commerce Departments will be eliminated.

Former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush sees it on slightly different terms. While the federal bureaucracy may need to be "tweaked and re-focused," it is an intregal part of American government. Probably the greatest example of the differences between these two successful Governors are their views on Common Core.

Paul is certainly more in step with Perry on this issue. But, where Perry is a pragmatist, Paul is an ideologue. He sees Washington as something that is essentially a failure. Bush sees it sorely in need of better and more efficient management. Perry advises everyone to "read the 10th amendment."

Rand Paul is more than a decade younger than Bush or Perry. Time is on his side. A return to the Senate will do nothing but allow him to grow stronger. He could complete a second Senate term and return to Kentucky for an almost certain Gubernatorial triumph. Whether it passed or didn't pass, sponsorship of a term limits amendment would position him as "anti-establishment, anti-career politician."

There continue to be Tea Partiers who stubbornly insist that Ted Cruz, Ben Carson or Allen West should be the Republican nominee! Realistically, anyone lacking Executive experience will be at a disadvantage, considering the field. Rand Paul could expertly position himself for a 2024 run, if he opted for this more secure path. He would still be only 61 years of age at that juncture.

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