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Do the job, leave; a NH candidate makes sense

A Seabrook selectman, running for the U.S. Congress seat in New Hampshire's 1st District, made an excellent point in a radio discussion last week.

Asked about term limits, Brendan Kelly told WGIR's Jack Heath why he favored them.

You should go to Washington, he said, to do the job, not to spend half your time working to get reelected.

Wiser words are rarely spoken, especially from incumbents who like to pontificate about the voter being the best determiner of term limits. "The voter can always toss us out, blah, blah, blah."

Would that were so.

The truth is that despite the occasional upset, the reelection rate in Congress remains well above 90 percent.

The overwhelming powers of incumbency keep it that high. Once in office, the incumbent becomes better and better known and can use the office to his or her advantage (even if it is not really helping the constituents).

Think of the franking (free mail) privileges, of which our own Rep. Annie Kuster is a national queen.

Think of the "news" generated by incumbents through press releases and TV and radio sound bites that often contain nothing more than the congressman's name, over and over.

"Throw the bums out" has a nice ring. But "one, two, three terms you're out" may be necessary to break the cycle of professional politicians of which our Founding Fathers would be astonished.

Eric Church
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