Term limits, the pet project of 10-term Congressman Bill McCollum, are a bad idea whose time has come, and U.S. Rep. Tilley Fowler (R-Jacksonville) may accidentally usher in the new era.
When elected in 1992, Fowler promised to leave in 2000. She was one of dozens of Republican House members elected on the theory that the less they know of those strange Washington ways, the better for The People. But things change. She recently was given a leadership position on the condition she'll consider running again in 2000. She hasn't made a decision.
For his part Rep. Scott McInnes (R-Colo.) said he'll break his pledge because he did not realize that congressmen gain power with seniority. (His spokesperson rejected speculation about the congressman's grasp of concepts such as exchanging currency for goods.) As Republicans face a potential loss of their slim House majority, party leaders are urging other members to break their pledges, too. That has term-limit proponents riled up. "Republicans will be sending a message nationally, to independent voters, to Reagan Democrats and to their base that they have turned against all the reasons you voted for them," warns U.S. Term Limits spokesman Paul Jacob.