On ‘reforming’ the House of Representatives by making the terms four years long.

While I agree with Glenn Reynolds’ basic observation…

…about this Washington Post article calling for four-year terms for the House of Representatives, I also would like to propose an amusing game for dealing with advocates of such a change. Ask them, sweetly, if they were prepared to accept a compromise where House elections were four-year terms… and they were all during what we now call the midterms. Then watch them squirm*.

Personally, I think that the system works just fine now at what it does; which is, it keeps a bunch of politically ambitious and driven people running in circles and sniping at each other for very little purpose, except for the occasional piece of legislation. The last thing that we want is for them to get comfortable: I mean, geez, look at the Senate. Certainly the Founders would, largely with horrified expressions on their faces…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Note, of course, that the real reason the Left has for wanting to switch House elections from every two years to every four – the same year as the Presidential one – is to make meaningless the GOP’s ability to drive turnout in midterm years. The Left just can’t say that, which is why they couch the argument in terms like this. Hence the counter-proposal, which happens to be just as reasonable as the original one on the surface, but likewise just as partisan… and the only argument against it is likewise partisan. And that’s why some of ’em will squirm.

*Well, the dumb ones will. The smart ones – the ones who know that we aren’t changing the Constitution over this any time soon** – will agree, and try to get further concessions. Don’t give ’em any.

**I guarantee, though, that if there’s ever another Constitutional convention, this will be on the list. Just after the proposed ‘revisions’ of the Second, First, Second, Tenth, and Second Amendments.

23 thoughts on “On ‘reforming’ the House of Representatives by making the terms four years long.”

  1. I encourage any one who wants to spend their time and energy amending the Constitution to have a go. Getting the requite super majority should be a snap in this divided country.

  2. I wouldn’t change them to four-year terms, just limit it to 6, two-year terms. Then limit Senate to 2, six-year terms. While we are at it, I would chage the POTUS to 1, six-year term.

    1. See, I’d allow the Presidency to be 3, 4 year terms. Then I would reduce the SCOTUS to 1, 12 year term.

      Then I would say that no person could serve in another branch of government until 6 years had passed. And no person could serve in more than 2 branches of government in their lifetime.

      And I would impose the Instapundit 50% revolving door surtax, to chase them away from the swamp of DC.

      1. ..What? Do you really want 12 years of possible Obama-like in office? Do you not understand that under your plan, we will likely see the SCOTUS completely turn over under a single president? Do you also not understand that the House and Senate are in the same branch of government? Where in Good Word’s Holy Name did you come up with your plan?
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        Why do people have to make things so complicated? How can you memorized all that junk? 12 years in the House, 12 years in the Senate, and 6 years for POTUS. 30 years, max, in elected federal government.

  3. I guess that the media has done enough articles about how the Presidency is just too hard for one man to handle and we need more of them. It was time for a change.

  4. There’s also the factor that the Democrats routinely delegitimize any institution that goes against them. Electoral college, Supreme Court, and now mid-term elections.
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    They should cut to the chase and admit they despise everything about our political system and would be more comfortable with something out of medieval Italy.

  5. I just realized something: Changing the House terms to four-years won’t stop midterms, because Senators would still six-yeasr terms. Unless you do them both four years, which would be insane.

    1. Leave the House the way it is now with two-year terms of office, but no Representative may serve more than three consecutive terms. (After being out of office they can start over again … if the public still wants them.)
       
      Increase the size of the Senate to three Senators per state, with their terms staggered to make them freshman, junior, and senior — one of the three up for election every two years. Limit Senators to one six year term. (Again, after being out of office they can start over again … if the public still wants them.)
       
      And leave the Presidency the way it is. Given the number of low-information voters we have now, I honestly believe Obama would be reelected in 2016 if he were eligible.

      1. This why I want a single, six-year term. They can do less damage than if they’re in for eight years. We could be rid of Obama starting next year if this was the case.

        1. If we had an honest – or British* – media, we would be fine with two four year terms.
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          Mew
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          * Biased as hell but up front about it.

  6. Given attention spans, I’d be fine making Representative terms 6 months.
    If not shorter.

      1. Those terms should be 5-10 years, served immediately after after being tossed from office, or two terms, whichever comes first.
        Put them on the chain gang. Make them do something productive.

  7. Forget term limits, just limit House district sizes to 50,000 like the First Congress intended but screwed up the amendment for.

      1. May have been true back in 1911, when the decision to limit the House to 435 was passed, but technology has come a long, long way since.
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        How many Fortune 500 companies are smaller than your hypothetical 6,000? Any?
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        Yes, it would be more cumbersome *at the start*, but it would have a number of advantages – ranked here in increasing levels of cynicism:
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        Help to keep congresscritters *much* closer to the populations they represent
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        Resolve the insanity of some States having two Senators and one Representative.
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        Reduce the effectiveness of corporations “buying congresscritters” – increasing supply lowers the cost per unit, but increases how many you have to buy to get a perceivable (desired) effect.
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        Effectively nuke gerrymandering as a practice.
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        Ensure that D.C. remains hopelessly gridlocked; this, along with reducing the effectiveness of K street above, should help with moving the action back to the States where it belongs.
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        Mew

        1. The gridlock sounds wonderful but we as taxpayers are on the hook for their salaries.

          1. Yes, but by increasing the number who will face *angry* constituents over *paying* for a bunch of do-nothings we also decrease the odds of them voting for pay raises (and remaining in office)
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            Mew

          2. Then as a safeguard, we should have election days held on April 16th as extra incentive for them to behave.

          3. Election days on April 16 sounds like a very good idea. Vote while the sting is fresh!
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            Mew

          4. Probably the most important thing you’d need to do if you massively increased the size of the House is to massively decrease the funds for staff.

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