Madeline Crabb
Senator Byrd and pork
Great reasons for term limits
By Madeline Crabb
November 22, 2009

This week, politicians lauded Senator Robert Byrd's 56+ years of service. Woo hooh. While he may be a nice man, it is way past time for him to leave the congress for private life. Besides, isn't it a lie about how long this man has actually served in office? While he is technically "in office," he has been absent from his post most of this past year due to poor health.

Senator Byrd has to have a caretaker to function at all. Can the people of West Virginia possibly think he is actually serving them? Hello! Is setting a record for being an elected official that important to his constituents? In most peoples' minds, Byrd has overstayed his welcome in the nation's capital. Way overstayed. His effectiveness has to be in question.

What is seldom discussed is that actions of our congressmen don't just affect their local constituents — ALL Americans are affected. Consequently, shouldn't all citizens be asking: When the senator actually shows up for his job, just who is really making the decisions? There must be some doubt about what is happening.

But, fellow American, it isn't just Robert Byrd's tenure that should be questioned. There are far too many men and women in both houses of congress that have overstayed their welcome, and lost their perspective and effectiveness. And many would argue that this is a polite understatement.

Just two weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives met on a Saturday to "debate" and vote on one of the most dangerous bills in the history of our nation — health care reform. (Equally dangerous legislation was passed during the FDR years, affectionately known to liberal/progressives everywhere as the New Deal. New it was; a deal it was not.)

For Americans tuning in the first time to watch legislative debate, they may have been surprised seeing what debate means to our leaders. For the most part, we witnessed a bunch of pontificating-blustering-condescending-power loving-party following grandstanders. They basically thumbed their proverbial noses at We the People, hell bent on doing whatever necessary to appease house leadership, and hopefully keep their positions. Such behavior is nothing new. Our Founding Fathers seemed to expect it.

In the Federalist Papers No. 39, James Madison said, "If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior." (author emphasis)

When forming the government of our new nation, it was never the intent of the Founding Fathers that elected representatives become lifetime politicians. They used the word "limited" for a reason. The intent was that there would be "citizen legislators" who would work in the "real world," better known today as the private sector, serve a short while as representatives of American citizens, then return home to resume their professions allowing new representatives to do their part in serving the people.

The founders probably never fathomed the extent to which future elected representatives would go in their quest of power. Then again, perhaps by assigning two-and six-year terms to the houses of congress, founders believed there would be a fixed end of terms of public office.

In speaking about the dangers of power, James Madison warned, "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

Americans have been subjected to a gradual takeover by our legislators. Allowing our so-called "representatives" to stay and stay and stay in office causes them to accumulate increasing power, which then allows them to buy "bread and circuses" for their constituencies. (Senator Robert Byrd is a king among kings when it comes to providing bread and circuses — better known as bringing home the pork.) And on and on it goes, to a point where elected officials have so much power, influence, and money from those wanting more bread and circuses that it is almost impossible to remove them from office.

Again, ALL Americans are subject to the control of these elected officials.

Surely nobody believes when the Founding Fathers set parameters for public service at two and six years, that what they really meant was 20, 30, 40, and 50 years. Hello! Isn't it time for some fresh perspective, fresh insight? Isn't it time to set some reasonable term limits for elected officials?

The only way to stop government gridlock and the corruption of power in Washington D.C. is to elect a new group of legislators who know the real purpose of being elected is to be servants of, not masters over, We the People. And certainly, we don't need more Robert Byrds who become the most powerful leaders in America by providing bread and circuses. Individual citizens must say, "Enough is enough." To anyone willing to hear....

© Madeline Crabb


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Madeline Crabb

Madeline Crabb is a Christian, a Constitutional Conservative, and a patriot. Holding a degree in journalism and public relations, and training from the Leadership Institute, she has been a columnist since 2000, and has written for various Christian newspapers around the country. As a “watchwoman” on the wall (Is.62:67), Madeline calls all citizens to awaken, arise, and act in restoring one nation under God.


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