Term limit the Speakership

Mark J. Fitzgibbons
The Contract with America included term limits for members of Congress, which was a worthy effort against the corruption that comes with institutionalized power. The courts, however, overturned term limits.

Under Article I of the Constitution, the House could establish a rule that a Speaker may serve no more than four years in that role.

The incoming House Republican majority needs not only to recognize the policy changes that Americans want, but they must make the types of structural and institutional changes that will prevent, or act as a disincentive against, the type of institutional corruption that has plagued House majorities of both parties.

The next Speaker of the House will be the country's 61st. President Obama is our 44th President. Since the turn of 20th Century, there have been 19 Presidents and 22 Speakers.

Statistically speaking, it is almost as difficult for an American to grow up to be Speaker of the People's House as President.

A four-year limit on the Speakership would be a bold, unselfish signal to Americans across the political divide that the incoming House majority is serious about the structural changes, consistent with the Constitution, that will help minimize institutional corruption.

It would also one-up most anything proposed by President Obama and the Democrats, who are now reeling in a state of confusion. Republicans should get out front on this proposal before the next Congress convenes in January.

With Speaker Nancy Pelosi receiving a mere 8% approval rating from the public, now is the time to take a bold step to limit the tenure of future Speakers. The move would likely be popular among the voting public.

It will, of course, be argued that a four-year term limit on the Speakership could be overruled in a subsequent Congress. However, to steal a phrase, that would be a figurative pox on that House, and would be met with furor by the electorate.

John Boehner was a Newt Gingrich lieutenant who fought for institutional changes that Gingrich wanted in his 1994 revolution. He could put his name into the history books in many ways, but perhaps his single biggest contribution would be to implement the institutional changes needed to foster better policy in the long run.

Our Founders pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. It's not too much to ask of those who profess they want to save the country now during its current crisis of confidence to make such a minor (relative to our Founders) but powerful change.

Update: The Heritage Foundation also recommended term limits for the Speakershp.
The Contract with America included term limits for members of Congress, which was a worthy effort against the corruption that comes with institutionalized power. The courts, however, overturned term limits.

Under Article I of the Constitution, the House could establish a rule that a Speaker may serve no more than four years in that role.

The incoming House Republican majority needs not only to recognize the policy changes that Americans want, but they must make the types of structural and institutional changes that will prevent, or act as a disincentive against, the type of institutional corruption that has plagued House majorities of both parties.

The next Speaker of the House will be the country's 61st. President Obama is our 44th President. Since the turn of 20th Century, there have been 19 Presidents and 22 Speakers.

Statistically speaking, it is almost as difficult for an American to grow up to be Speaker of the People's House as President.

A four-year limit on the Speakership would be a bold, unselfish signal to Americans across the political divide that the incoming House majority is serious about the structural changes, consistent with the Constitution, that will help minimize institutional corruption.

It would also one-up most anything proposed by President Obama and the Democrats, who are now reeling in a state of confusion. Republicans should get out front on this proposal before the next Congress convenes in January.

With Speaker Nancy Pelosi receiving a mere 8% approval rating from the public, now is the time to take a bold step to limit the tenure of future Speakers. The move would likely be popular among the voting public.

It will, of course, be argued that a four-year term limit on the Speakership could be overruled in a subsequent Congress. However, to steal a phrase, that would be a figurative pox on that House, and would be met with furor by the electorate.

John Boehner was a Newt Gingrich lieutenant who fought for institutional changes that Gingrich wanted in his 1994 revolution. He could put his name into the history books in many ways, but perhaps his single biggest contribution would be to implement the institutional changes needed to foster better policy in the long run.

Our Founders pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. It's not too much to ask of those who profess they want to save the country now during its current crisis of confidence to make such a minor (relative to our Founders) but powerful change.

Update: The Heritage Foundation also recommended term limits for the Speakershp.