Cleaning House: America's Campaign for Term Limits

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9780895265166: Cleaning House: America's Campaign for Term Limits
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"Not only is Cleaning House very timely, but it is written by two experts. Nobody knows more about the issue of term limits. Read it now!"

—Rush Limbaugh, Radio Talk–Show Host

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From the Back Cover:

The most interesting and intensely debated political reform of the 1990s did not originate with politicians - it is directed at them. Rarely has a political idea caught on with such speed as term limits for elected officials. The largest grass-roots movement in decades put term-limit initiatives on the 1992 ballots in 15 states, representing over one-third of the nation's population. Polls show term limits are favored by 80% of all voters, regardless of race, sex, or party affiliation. A growing number of political observers believe America will have a citizen Congress by the end of this decade. Term limits aren't a new idea. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both supported them, and for over one hundred years self-imposed term limits were an accepted American tradition. But with the rise of more intrusive government, citizen legislators have given way to career politicians. Powerful special interests bankroll their campaigns and effectively discourage any real political competition against them. In 1990, 79 members of Congress had no major-party opponents and 96% of House incumbents were re-elected. Using an engaging and witty style that is far removed from civics textbooks, Cleaning House convincingly sets out the case for term limits and how Americans can get involved in making them a reality. The authors, a former congressman and a noted journalist, have observed Congress up close for years. Using their own experience and research, they paint a devastating portrait of an imperial institution that is increasingly arrogant, unaccountable, and refuses to address the public's concerns.

From Library Journal:

Bad checks, the S&L scandals, Congressional perks, and salary raises on the Hill have fueled an anti-incumbency mood in the minds of voters that may have a real impact on Congressional elections in 1992. In examining congressional abuses of privileges, Kick the Bums Out! --a citizen's guide from Americans to Limit Congressional Terms, an organization headed by ex-Congressman James Coyne--explains why term limits are needed and defends their constitutionality. Criticizing foot-dragging by interest groups and House members, it also examines how the terms-limitation movement has been thwarted to date by media consultants and unfavorable press coverage by journalist friends of congressional members who would likely have to leave office. In addition, the book offers a point-by-point critique of the opposing view; an appendix lists state contact names and numbers for Americans to Limit Congressional Terms. Highly recommended for popular political collections. Cleaning House , which Coyne coauthored, tries to make clear why congressional term limits are in the best interest of the country. It covers many of the same issues as in Kick the Bums Out! but also provides a virtual primer on the inside realities--the egos, the perks, the election considerations and pressures for reelection that influence the decisions of our lawmakers. The book's descriptions of junketeering, the House Bank, and the growing influence of staff and lobbyists can be discomforting to the uninitiated. Chapters on Bill Clinton's careerism and Tom Foley's efforts to scuttle limits make this book essential for public and academic libraries. First serial to the Wall Street Journal ; see also the Center for Legislative Studies' Limiting Legislative Terms and George Will's Restoration , reviewed below.
-Frank Kessler, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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