May 21, 2010 3:04PM

Why Not Try Term Limits?

Bob Bennett has been in the U.S. Senate for 18 years, not quite as long as the 24 years his father spent in the Senate. Arlen Specter has been in the Senate for 30 years. Rep. Alan Mollohan has been in the House since 1982, when he took over the seat his father had held since 1968. Sen. Blanche Lincoln told NPR this morning that she’s been trying to change Washington ever since she got here in 1992.

Do all of these folks really believe there’s no one else in Utah, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or Arkansas capable of serving in Congress? Quite aside from the wars, bailouts, health care takeovers, and earmarks that have angered these officials’ constituents, there’s a good case for rotation in office. Cato analysts have been making the case for term limits for some two decades. The argument doesn’t seem to have gotten any weaker in the interim.

One of America’s Founders, George Mason, made the case for rotation in office:

Nothing is so essential to the preservation of a republican government as a periodical rotation. Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.

It looks like the voters intend to rotate a lot of politicians out of office this year. But why should it take trillions of dollars of debt and millions of dollars of campaign spending to get some new thinking in Congress? Why not make rotation in office the law?