To the Daily:

Chris Koslowski makes several false claims surrounding term limits, Michigan politics and Rep. John Dingell (D–Mich.) in his column this week (Political dynasties, 02/23/2010). Such claims perpetuate decades of misconceptions surrounding American politics.

First, it is common knowledge that the Michigan state government is severely broken. A bipartisan consensus has arisen between legislators and non-partisan commentators that the source of Michigan’s stagnant government is its strict term limits.

Former Rep. Joe Schwartz (D-Mich.), a professor of public policy at the University, routinely states that the era of term limits in Michigan has created a disconnected, non-functioning legislature that follows party loyalty and special interests more than the will of the voters. Term limits would be similarly harmful on the national level.

Second, the claim that Dingell ought to be ousted because Congress is hugely unpopular is logically false. Dingell is overwhelmingly re-elected every two years. If there were ever a hint of corruption, malaise or unfairness, voters could use a very simple tool to limit Dingell: the ballot box.

Finally, it’s reprehensible that the author attempts to tarnish Dingell’s service. Dingell has been Michigan’s most fierce advocate in Congress and his work can be seen every day in a cleaner environment, safer food and toys, and high paying jobs. Dingell’s years of hard work have won him the respect and clout with his colleagues that a young representative would have to work decades to even begin to rival.

The era of term limits has broken the Michigan legislature. Our state is devoid of leaders and our annual budgetary standoff is only the most visible example of the cracks in our democracy. We ought to support representatives like Dingell who commit every day of their lives to creating good public policy for their district and our nation.

Nathaniel Eli Coats Styer
LSA Senior

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