So as I mentioned a while back, I had to dial down the blogging for a bit because I took on a case challenging the legal sufficiency of Robin Ficker’s term limits charter amendment in Montgomery County. As you’ve probably read, we didn’t succeed in that case, but it wasn’t for lack of effort on the part of a group of volunteers who accomplished more in two weeks than was done in my prior three cases in many months.
I won’t bore you with the details (even for lawyers, they’re really boring), but suffice it to say that I remain convinced that the petition fell woefully short of the standard set by the law. But when you’re allowed to game the system by filing the petition in August before a November general election, any review of that process is going to be rushed and inadequate.
So now what? Now we vote on the issue in November. Question B is term limits. You should vote “no.” Why? Well, lots of good reasons, but one that came across my screen today is worth mentioning. Anything that Donald Trump is for, progressive Montgomery County should be against. Even Charlie Pierce says so.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA—I have this vision of a huge warehouse located somewhere behind Breitbart’s Mausoleum of Chronic Unemployables in which are contained huge Home Depot shelves containing box after box of really bad ideas. And, when a candidate needs something new to say fast, and when a candidate needs to have an idea but doesn’t have any of his own, the candidate drops by and picks something off the shelf. After all, all the candidate needs is something to get through the next news cycle—even if you’re Donald Trump, and you have the political attention span of a flea on a griddle.
So, on Tuesday, El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago plucked a really dusty box from waaaaayyyy back on one of the bottom shelves. He came out for a constitutional amendment mandating term limits for members of the national legislature. (Good lord, Grover Norquist must have felt the life force flowing back into his semi-beard.)
I’ll have more to say on this subject, but let me start the drumbeat right now. You should vote no on Question B on November 8. It’s a petulant screaming temper tantrum fit masquerading as political principle. It’s Robin Ficker. It’s heavily supported by Help Save Maryland, a loathsome group of nativist cranks and misfits who persuaded Ficker, who is an equal opportunity hater, to amend his petition to bring Councilmember Nancy Navarro within its purview, because God forbid an immigrant serve in office in a melting pot like majority-minority Montgomery County.
However exasperated you might be with one Councilmember or another, or with County Executive Ike Leggett, the answer isn’t to bar them from running for reelection, but to find candidates you like better. Term limits create office jumping, increase the influence of lobbyists and bureaucrats, and artificially limit democratic choices. Claims of increased diversity, lower taxes, and better representation aren’t borne out by the evidence.
Vote No. It’s the right thing to do.