Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Court strikes down petition law; OK3 vindicated

On Dec. 18, a unanimous 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down as unconstitutional Oklahoma’s law that bans non-residents from circulating petitions to place proposed laws and constitutional amendments on the ballot.

The law was challenged by a group known as Yes on Term Limits Inc. which wants to circulate petitions to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to limit terms of state officials.

This is a victory also for Paul Jacob and the Oklahoma 3, who were being prosecuted on felony charges under this law, in spite of the fact that they were following the law as explained to them by state officials. The real crime was pushing a tax-and-spending limitation amendment which -- like term limitation -- is anathema to the political establishment.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson has not officially withdrawn his legal attack against the OK3 and also vowed to appeal the decision. Of course he will. Authoritarians have always objected to the citizens' right to petition for redress of grievances. That's why it had to be singled out for inclusion in the first amendment.

"It appears the Oklahoma Three received an early Christmas present and Edmondson got his well-deserved chunk of coal," said Oklahoma State Senator Randy Brogdon. "Tis the season to do the right thing. Hopefully Edmondson will withdraw any further lawsuits."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sen. Brownback to uphold term limits pledge

Back in 1998, Sen. Sam Brownback -- an advocate of term limits -- put pen to paper and pledged to serve only two full terms in the U.S. Senate and then step aside to permit another Kansan to take the seat. On Thursday, he officially announced his intention to honor his pledge.

In a perfect world, this would be an unremarkable event: A politician makes an unambiguous promise and then keeps it. But in our world, where politicians face enormous temptations and pressure to distance themselves from such promises, this simple act of integrity is worthy of special note.

For this reason, I flew up from my home in South Florida (72 degrees, sun) to East Kansas (16 degrees, ice) to assist in making the announcement. Together we held joint press conferences in Olathe, Topeka and Wichita on Thursday.

For the Topeka Capital Journal and Kansas City Star's take on it, see http://cjonline.com/stories/121908/loc_369256809.shtml and http://www.kansascity.com/637/story/943772.html.

Sen. Brownback first took the seat in 1996, in a special election to fill out then-Sen. Bob Dole's term when Dole ran for president. Since then, Sen. Brownback won his two subsequent elections with increasing margins and he continues to enjoy high approval ratings today. And yet, at 52 -- a relative babe in the Senate where the average age exceeds 60 -- he is retiring from the senate to start a new chapter of his life.

In doing this, Sen. Brownback joins an elite crowd of politicians who have signed the U.S. Term Limits pledge and then kept their word. Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. Tom Coburn and South Carolina Mark Sanford are all pledge honorers who moved on to other offices.

Many other politicians have reneged on their promises. Tough luck for them: while several pledge breakers have continued to retain their current seats, none have ever won higher office.

“As fellow Kansans know, your word is your bond,” Sen. Brownback said. “If a man breaks his word, it breaks the man.”

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Vince Flynn's term limits of a very different kind

I had been intrigued by the title for some time, but I finally picked up and read the novel Term Limits by Vince Flynn (Simon & Schuster, 1997).

In this fast-paced political action thriller on the Tom Clancy mold, a secret group of American ex-commandos publish a list of demands and start assassinating Congress members who defy them. Their demands are of a sort that the Club for Growth might make, sans sniper fire, such as reducing spending, freezing taxes, balancing the budget and -- my favorite -- using zero-based budgeting. Ha!

If those sound like far-fetched terrorist demands, just wait until you find out how a corrupt White House decides to fight back. By the end of the book, you will find yourself thinking the terrorists are the good guys, particularly when they issue challenges like this one: "Do not test us again or we will be forced to impose more term limits."

Needless to say, the term limits of the title are not the same kind promoted by this blog. But that's not to say there were no real-world political lessons in this book. In fact, Flynn surely understands and supports term limits of a more traditional sort. Consider this exchange between a lobbyist and a young freshman Congressman:

"[Rep.] O'Rourke, if you vote no on the president's budget, the American Farmers Association will be left with no other choice than to support your opponent next year." O'Rourke shook his head and said, "Nice try, but I'm not running for a second term."

Not only does he see how term limits encourage independent thinking, but in this description of a career politician -- and assassins' target -- he also clearly sees how tenure corrupts over time:

For the last thirty-four years he'd survived scandal after scandal and hung on to that seat like a screaming child clutching his favorite toy. Fitzgerald had been a politician his entire adult life, and he knew nothing else. He'd grown numb to the day-to-day dealings of the nation's capital. The forty-plus years of lying, deceit, deal cutting, career trashing and partisan politics had been so ingrained in Fitzgerald that he not only thought his behavior was acceptable, he truly believed it was the only way to do business.

At one point, fiction and fact merge when a journalist announces.

"The assassinations have thust into the spotlight some reforms that the American people have endorsed for some time. The idea of term limits has an approval rating of almost 90 percent."

In sum, Term Limits is guilty-pleasure reading for frustrated fiscal conservatives who like action movies. If that describes you, you may wish to pick up the paperback version of this New York Times bestseller, still in print.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Illinois' Quinn a mighty reformer

Most likely Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be impeached or will voluntarily resign over his attempted sale of Sen. Barack Obama's now-empty Senate seat, but either way Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn is likely to be the next governor of Illinois.

Who is Pat Quinn?

Lt. Gov. Quinn has held the #2 spot in Illinois for the last six years and is, oddly, an opponent of the governor and corrupt machine politics generally. This is possible because, in Illinois, the candidates for the governor and lieutenant governor positions run on the same ticket in the general election as a team, but they are chosen separately in the primaries.

Although of the same party, Quinn -- a genuine populist reformer -- cuts a strikingly different political profile than the corrupt careerist Blagojevich.

In the 1970s Quinn, then a tax attorney, led an effort to give the state's voters the citizen initiative. In 1994, he led an effort to limit the terms of legislators to eight years in office, his "Eight is Enough" initiative. He collected the necessary signatures, but the Illinois Supreme Court wouldn't let it appear on the ballot.

Undaunted, Quinn launched a 2008 effort to give Illinois voters the right of recall. Perhaps learning from his term limits experience, he called for a vote on a state constitutional convention to take up this issue. A Cook County Circuit Judge tossed this latest reform measure off the ballot.

"In a state that has more than its share of crooks and people who go along to get along, Pat Quinn stands out as someone who takes on the powers-that-be," Howie Rich, chairman of U.S. Term Limits, told the Wall Street Journal.

The 1967 Bob Dylan song The Mighty Quinn tells the nursery rhyme-like story of the arrival in town of the Eskimo Quinn, who brings great and positive change. Since the lieutenant governor has arrived on the political scene he has surely made an honest effort to do that. Surely the Illinois power brokers are uncomfortable with his likely and imminent promotion. What will he try next?

"You'll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn," sang Dylan. Let's hope he's right.

Blagojevich's third term

Up until last week, Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) was hinting he was going to run for a third term in the governor's office, but now he's more likely to get a term in prison.

That's one kind of term limit. But the more traditional term limitations also contribute to cleaner and more transparent government in several ways.

First, regular rotation in office necessarily widens the circle of those with an intimate knowledge of the office. With an entrenched incumbency, either in the executive or legislative branches, this knowledge as well as institutional memory is more closely held. Rotation disperses it and makes it easier for outsiders to peer in and blow the whistle when necessary.

Second, the hubris that leads to corruption is a function of tenure. In most cases corrupt politicians were not originally elected, perhaps decades ago, with the hubris and sense of entitlement that leads to their ultimate self destruction. Maybe they were even led to run for office for public spirited reasons. Ah, but that was long ago...

Ronald Reagan put it better when he'd say that candidates look at Washington and see a cesspool, but after a while in office they start seeing a hot tub.

Third, shortened tenure reduces the opportunity for corruption. Even a politician with a flawed character requires an opportunity for the corruption to manifest itself. Tenure offers the knowledge and opportunity necessary. Mixed with the arrogance of office, born partly of tenure, many politicians give in to temptation.

Gov. Blagojevich was caught; many are not. It behooves us build our public institutions in ways that retard such behaviors across the board. After all, if the FBI had not been listening to his phone calls, the governor could potentially have been seated for a third term, more corrupt and more powerful than ever.

Friday, December 5, 2008

95% of House incumbents win in 2008

Ah, change. In the 2006 elections, the Democrats took the Congress. In 2008, they expanded their gains in the Congress and took the presidency. At the headline level, certainly, we got change in bold, 60-point type.

But let's read further into the story. It turns out that the change occured only at the margins -- in open seats, where both parties put up serious candidates, threw their weight behind them and then sweated while the voters exercised their power to choose.

In the bulk of the races, on the other hand, incumbents nearly always won as they nearly always do. In 2006, 94% of House incumbents won; in 2008, 94.8% of House incumbents won.

You might ask, how can this be? But a better question is, how could this not be? An incumbent benefits from numerous advantages, the largest of which is probably the automatic support of special interests. This overwhelming lead discourages serious candidates from running and encourages parties to commit their limited resources elsewhere. In most cases, incumbents face underfunded challengers without serious party support, many of whom are simply gadflys.

Or, incumbents go unchallenged and the election is canceled altogether. Elections were canceled in 56 House districts this year.

Change, then, is made possible by open and competitive elections -- something that term limits mandate in every district at least once every eight years.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chavez tries to topple term limits -- otra vez

Hugo Chavez is an ambitious man. The Fidel Castro acolyte is centralizing power in democratic Venezuela through censorship and nationalization as part of his 'Bolivarian socialist revolution' which he apparently aims to lead, caudillo-style, indefinitely.

But there is one thing standing in his way: term limits.

According to the Venezuelan constitution, Chavez' second and last six-year term will expire in 2013. He tried to overturn this pesky limit on his power in December 2007, but was rebuffed at the ballot box.

This week he called on supporters to gear up for yet another referendum. At least he is going back to the people; a month or so ago in New York City voters were not so lucky.

"We're going to achieve it," Chavez told supporters in Caracas last Sunday. "We're going to demonstrate who rules in Venezuela." Then the head of state and part-time recording artist sang out "Uh, ah, Chavez no se va." That is, "Chavez is not going."

We'll see. With mixed results in November's regional elections, inflation topping 30 percent and a plunging price of oil, his time as a popular leader may be running out. If democracy in Venezuela outlives Chavez, term limits may turn out to be the decisive factor.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Illinois rep calls for gubernatorial term limits

Illinois State Rep. Mike Boland gets it.

In November, Rep. Boland (D-Moline) announced his plans to introduce a constitutional amendment to limit the term of the Illinois governor to two 4-year terms and establish a recall process. Illinois would be the 38th state with gubernatorial term limits.

“Incumbent governors have many political advantages, from patronage to big money,” Boland said in a press release. “If we open up the gubernatorial position at least once every decade, we will generate competition and empower voters.”

Rep. Boland toured the state in November to announce and pitch his proposal, which he says would address Illinois' culture of political corruption. He expects public support and official resistance.

"This is going to be resisted by political establishments," he said. "People in power like things the way they are and that way hasn't been working for the tax payers."

This would be a big break for term limits in a state without a term limits tradition at the state or local level. Nine of the largest 10 cities in America have term limits, with Chicago being the exception.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Filipinos frown on term limits repeal

The dateline for this one is Manila, but it could be Caracas or even New York City. It is a universal and eternal fact of life that citizens love terms limits and incumbent politicians hate them.

The latest datum is a new poll from the Philippines, where a move is afoot to lengthen or repeal term limits for the president, vice president and the legislature as part of a package of constitutional changes. Outside the capitol building, only 15 percent of the population approve of weakening term limits, according to a new Social Weather Stations poll. A full 64 percent oppose it.

Currently, the constitution mandates term limits at nearly all levels. For a survey of international term limits, see LINKS in the left-hand column on this blog.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sen. Washington planning Carson City coup

One of the ironies of term limits politics is that the opposition to term limits more often than not prove the need for term limits. Specifically, the opposition clumsily demonstrate that the interests of the officeholder and of the citizenry diverge widely over time, with the career politicians identifying so closely with the interests of the political class they no longer even recognize the interests of the people.

Case in point: In Nevada, where courts recently rebuffed a politician-led attack on the states 12-year legislative term limit, the soon-to-be term limited Sen. Maurice Washington (R-Sparks) is calling for a new constitutional amendment to repeal the limit. Sen. Washington, publically at least, made the case for repeal pointing to his reverence for 'the vote.'

But considering that term limits were enacted by a vote of 70 percent in 1994 and then reaffirmed by Nevadans in a second vote as required by Nevada law, and that term limits were enacted or reaffirmed everywhere across the nation they were voted on on Nov. 4, it is glaringly apparent the only vote he really reveres are votes for him and his fellow incumbents.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mayor Bloomberg's popularity dives

A new poll shows that Michael Bloomberg's popularity has dropped nine percent due primarily to the New York City mayor's self-interested tinkering with term limits.

Claiming that his leadership is indispensible to lead New York City through the current financial crisis (there being so few financially savvy people in New York City, I suppose), Bloomberg prodded his city council on Oct. 23 to lengthen his -- and the council's -- term limit from two to three terms. This was after two popular referenda to enact then affirm them.

As a result, Bloomberg's approval rating has dropped to its lowest point in three years. A new Marist poll shows 59 percent of voters think he is doing an excellent or good job, down from 68 percent a month ago. It's the first time his popularity has fallen below 60 percent since August 2005.

This is still high, but next he has to answer for his arrogance throughout a electoral campaign amidst a difficult economic environment in which he is raising taxes substantially. Bloomberg's numbers will come tumbling down and it was term limits that pushed him off the top of the hill.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Allan Carl "Al" Schmid, 1929-2008

The term limits movement lost a pioneer upon the death of Allan Carl "Al" Schmid Nov. 16 in his home in Saginaw, MI.

From his obit, we are reminded that Schmid was a principal architect of modern legislative term limits in America, having proposed a term limits proposal “A Sunset Law for Legislators” as early as 1980. He was a co-author of two major amendments to the Michigan Constitution: the 1992 Term Limits Amendment and the 1978 Headlee Tax Limitation Amendment.

Schmid requested the hymn “God Bless America” be sung at a brief memorial service, which will be held for family, friends, colleagues, and well wishers at the Peace Lutheran Church, 3427 Adams Avenue at Mackinaw, Saginaw, MI 48602 next Tuesday, November 25 at 1:00 P.M. It was his wish, and his family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, well wishers make donations in his honor to the U.S. Term Limits Foundation 9900 Main St. Suite 303, Fairfax, VA 22031 or, in the alternative, to the American Diabetes Association Foundation, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312.

Thank you, Al, for all your hard work for individual freedom and limited government.

Who says crime doesn't pay?

In spite of the felony conviction and electoral defeat of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), the Republican of longest tenure ever in the U.S. Senate, the 40-year veteran is nonetheless eligible for a $122,000 annual pension, complete with cost-of-living adjustments.

Remember Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL), the 35-year House veteran and former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee who was convicted in the House Post Office scandal in 1994? He still takes home $126,000 a year.

Who knows what lurks in the hearts of evil men? But when you hear these cases you have to suspect that tenure and lack of competitive elections play a role in the downfall of such once-respected national leaders. Certainly they were not sent to the Senate so many decades ago with the arrogance, sense of entitlement and opportunity that led to their ultimate self-destruction.

After the inconveniences following their respective convictions, both gentlemen are able to ponder such questions for the rest of their lives in leisure -- on our dime.

The more things change...

The Democrats decisively won this month's elections promising change and Republican leaders are promising to change their ways as a result. Don't hold your breath.

Yesterday, the Senate Republican Caucus met and easily voted down a series of rule changes proposed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) that would have included imposing term limits on GOP leaders (defeated 36-5) and also the party's seats on the powerful Appropriations Committee (defeated 36-4). Then, the Senators reappointed roughly the same group of leaders that presided pre-Nov. 4. In other words, nothing changed and the system continues to be rigged against it.

Sen. DeMint told The Hill that term limits would "reduce the concentration of power and get more members involved." Yes, he's right, that is what term limits do. Term limits open up seats and permit greater access, share power and hands-on knowledge with a wider group of people, and bring a wider range of ideas and experience to governmental bodies.

DeMint also noted that "Change is hard, and I didn't expect to win." Unfortunately, he was right in this case too.

But don't worry. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) assures us that changes in the rules or the leadership aren't necessary and, in fact, that the changes were hardly discussed by the caucus. The Republicans lost due to "circumstances out of our control," he said.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ron Paul: "I support term limits"

You normally wouldn’t expect a 10-term Congressman to be a big term limits supporter but, as this year’s primary campaign made clear, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) isn’t a typical Congressman.

I ran into the Congressman on the campaign trail in Fort Lauderdale last year where we chatted briefly about the prospects for Congressional term limits. Yes, he’s still on board, he assured me. He also inquired about Paul Jacob, the former executive director of U.S. Term Limits.

Rep. Paul most recently reiterated his support for term limits publically in his Dec. 23, 2007, appearance on Meet the Press, where interviewer Tim Russert grilled the Congressman for the alleged contradiction between his tenure and his support for limits on tenure.

"I support term limits," Rep. Paul told Russert. But Rep. Paul pointed out that he does not and has never supported the idea of self-limiting, but only a term limit requirement on the entire Congress.

“Matter of fact, some of the best people that I worked with, who were the most principled, came in on voluntary term limits,” said Paul. “So some of the good people left.” To get the institutional benefits of term limits, it has to be applied to the whole body.

So is this just political double-speak? Not in Rep. Paul’s case. In his first stint in Congress (1976-1984), well before the term limits explosion of the early 1990s, he was the first representative in modern history to submit a term limits bill for Congress. He voted for all the term limits bills during the Contract with America era and continues to publically support the idea.

He says term limits are a first step, but insists that we must go further.

“To restrict and reduce the power of incumbency, we should address the sweeping powers that the federal government possesses,” he wrote in a pro-term limits press release some years back. He also called for the abolition of the lucrative Congressional pension plan which he does not participate in.

To sign the petition calling for Congressional term limits, see: www.termlimits.org.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Algeria inspired by NYC's example

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria took a page out of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s playbook and pushed a compliant parliament to approve abolishing term limits, permitting the leader to run for a third term. It was approved today 500-21.

In New York, Mayor Bloomberg had his city council eliminate his term limits in October, nullifying popular voter referenda creating and affirming the limits in 1993 and 1996.

The Associated Press notes that in Algeria, just as in New York City, critics complained that the decision should have been made by a referendum, not a vote of the parliament. Further, “Some observers said a huge recent salary increase for lawmakers helped smooth passage of the elimination of the two-term limit.”

Sadi, the head of the opposition RCD secular party, also criticized the procedure of the vote. He objected to the fact that the vote was held by raised hands instead of by secret ballot, which prevented legislators from "exerting their free choice on this issue.”

Predictably, Bouteflika called the vote “historic” and said it would “enshrine … solid and durable institutions.” Yes, notably the Bouteflika administration.

Just as in New York, Bouteflika and his legislature pointed to a "national emergency" as the imperative to scrap term limits. He claims says that consistency in rule is important and can help boost democracy in the Africa nation.

"As with many other potentates elsewhere in the world," retired Algerian general Rachid Benyelles told Reuters, politely declining to mention Mayor Bloomberg by name, "he has always wanted to be a president for life."

WSJ: Nov. 4 'loudest referendum on term limits'

NOV. 11, 2008 -- Lost in Obamamania, term limits had a banner day on Nov. 4. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal noticed and documented it in the Nov. 11 edition of the WSJ’s Political Diary under the headline “Terms of Entrenchment”:

“Earlier this year when New York's Michael Bloomberg announced he would seek to overhaul the city's term limit law so he could run for mayor again, the political class exalted. His move, now accomplished, was said to mark a backlash against term limits, a key agenda item for conservative government reformers.

“Not so fast. In last week's election, limits on politicians' time in office were enacted or reaffirmed by enormous margins nearly everywhere they were on the ballot in what might have been the loudest referendum for term limitation by voters ever.

“Louisiana voters said ‘yes' to term limits on elected state officials by a 70% to 30% margin, making the Bayou state the 15th with term limits. Meanwhile, South Dakota's lobbying community tried to overturn that state's term limits law, approved by voters 12 years earlier. Bad idea: 76% of voters said ‘hell, no.’ That was a bigger margin of victory than when term limits were originally instituted.

“In localities ranging from State College, Pennsylvania to Tracy, California and Memphis, Tennessee, voters approved term limits by two-to-one margins. Eight of the ten largest U.S. cities now have term limits. The only setback was a slight one, when San Antonio voters approved an extension of term limits to a maximum of eight years in office from the current four years.

“‘We won everywhere,’ declares U.S. Term Limits executive director Philip Blumel. ‘In state after state and town after town across America, term limits are gradually becoming the law of the land.’ An astonishing 83% of voters polled in October answered ‘yes’ to the following question: ‘Do you favor term limits on your elected officials?’ We're hardpressed to think of a single issue in America today that commands such levels of support. What the public is most eager to see is term limits on U.S. Congress but that, alas, will require a Constitutional Amendment approved by the careerists in Congress themselves. That's like asking a cat to put a bell on itself.

“Some fifteen years ago when the term limits movement was first gaining steam, then-Rep. Dan Rostenkowski huffed that term limits would lead to a ‘Congress of mediocrity.’ A decade and a half later, many voters think mediocrity in our public officials would be a vast improvement.”

Term Limits Win Everywhere Nov. 4

NOV. 4, 2008 -- Here’s a complete list of term limits votes around the nation that I know about. If I forgot any, please let me know.

South Dakota (J) – repeals term limits on state legislature.
YES: 87,361 (24.27%)
NO: 272,551 (75.73%) TERM LIMITS WIN!

Memphis, TN – Places a maximum of two terms on the city council, mayor and other constitutional offices.
YES: 177,571 (78.23%) TERM LIMITS WIN!
NO: 49,420 (21.77%)

Shelby County, TN (365) – Places term limits on various city charteroffices to match limits on county commission and mayor
YES: 273,107 (78.59%) TERM LIMITS WIN!
NO: 74,409 (21.41%)

San Antonio, TX (1) – Extends term limits for city council
NO: 178,611 (48.4%)

Tracy, CA (T) – Places a 2 four-year term limit on the city council and mayor
YES: 12,613 (67.21%) TERM LIMITS WIN!
NO: 6,154 (32.79%)

Rowlett, TX — extends term limit from two to three terms.
YES: 8,953 (44%)
NO: 11,295 (56%) TERM LIMITS WIN!

State College Borough, PA — repeals term limits for borough council.
YES: 8,050 (46%)
NO: 9,567 (54%) TERM LIMITS WIN!

Louisiana — statewide referendum to limit terms on a long list ofboards and commissions.
YES: 1,129,711 (69%) TERM LIMITS WIN!
NO: 497,205 (31%)

Daytona Beach Shores, FL -- Measure to repeal 8-year term limits
YES: 36%

North Miami, FL -- Eliminate term limits for mayor
YES: 5,280 (33%)
NO: 10,693 (67%) TERM LIMITS WIN!

Ventura County, CA -- limits county supervisors to 12 years in office
NO: 23%

Lynwood, CA -- limits city council members to two terms in office
NO: 25%

Pinole, CA -- limits city council members to three terms in office
NO: 27%

Leadville, CO -- repeal of county commission term limits
YES: 30%

Ferguson Township, PA -- repeal of two-term limit on township supervisors
YES: 38%
NO: 62% TERM LIMITS WIN! (only 7 of 8 precincts counted)

Florida sends 'citizen legislator' to Congress

NOV. 4, 2008 -- After two consecutive reps left office disgraced, Florida’s Congressional District 16 is fed up with arrogance and scandal under both Republicans and Democrats. This seat, still referred to in political circles as “Mark Foley’s old seat,” has now been handed by voters to Rep. Tom Rooney.

The voters’ decision was contrary to that of most local media endorsements, which cited Rooney’s alleged lack of experience. This is a ludicrous assertion, as Rooney is a former U.S. Army JAG, a criminal prosecutor for the State of Florida and taught Constitutional and Criminal Law at West Point. Currently, he practices law in Stuart, Florida.

What they mean by “lack of experience” is that he never held any elected office. But Rooney sees this as a plus:

“While it is true the three candidates running in the GOP primary are similar on many issues, the quality I believe gives me the advantage is that I am the only non-politician, someone who will truly be a citizen-legislator who is ready to lead,” Rooney told the Stuart News. “I am the only candidate that favors term limits.”

In fact, term limits was a regular theme in his stump speeches, one of which I attended early in the campaign.

To the Town-Crier, another local publication, Rooney said: “I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that I’m going to do anything to get myself elected the next two years,” he said. “I’m not tempted by what special interests can offer you. I favor term limits.”

Congratulations, Tom!