Sunday, November 8, 2009

After vet fiasco, Florida pol returns with new anti-term limit gimmick

Oh no, not again. Florida State Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) is back pitching a Constitutional amendment to weaken Florida’s popular and successful 8-year term limits law.

Bennett is not so deaf to the will of voters that he doesn’t recognize the popularity of the law he is attacking. It’s just that he doesn’t care. He knows he has to come up with some way to get around voter sentiment, so he has once again been rummaging around the bottom of the careerist politician garbage pail for ideas.

Last session, he tacked an anti-term limits amendment to a bill that would extend a popular property tax discount to a broader group of disabled veterans. He got jeers and laughs, but not the votes.

This session he is hawking a new gimmick to fire up support for incumbent entrenchment. His new offer you can’t refuse -- according to the Tampa Tribune’s Catherine Dolinski – is to extend 12-year term limits to city and county offices as well. Get it? That way, he can claim a vote for this bill is a vote for term limits!

Of course, citizens in all the counties and cities that worked so hard to collect the signatures for, not to mention all the voters that approved, all the existing local 8-year term limits referenda may object. But they weren’t going to support Bennett’s bill anyway. With this clever stroke, he aims to clinch the support of local term-limited incumbents throughout the state and many term limits supporters who may not be paying close enough attention.

Will it be enough? I doubt it. Such a proposal would have to go to the voters first, and the threshold for Constitutional amendments is 60%. We must be vigilant always, of course, but right now the only attention his new idea demands is a rolling of the eyes.