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Editor’s Note: Reaping fruits of term limits

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

Maybe the Legislature should start holding its sessions in one of those clinics for treating the sexually overstimulated like Tiger Woods went to.

First, a naked Democratic Sen. Virgil Smith of Detroit is arrested for shooting at his ex-wife’s car after she burst in on him and another woman in bed. Smith is planning an insanity defense, though he should think about throwing in Woods’ sexual addiction excuse for good measure.

Then this week, we learned through the excellent reporting of my colleague, Chad Livengood, that two Republican representatives, Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, were doing the extramarital hula and when they feared getting caught, tried to use their aides in a bizarre cover-up that had Courser, the Legislature’s most fiercely anti-gay member, faking a gay sex encounter.

Expect more of these follies. Term limits have turned the Legislature into an amateur vaudeville club. Members are coming into the state’s lawmaking bodies younger, less experienced and with fewer qualities to recommend them than at anytime in the state’s history.

Many haven’t a clue of what they can and can not do, where the boundaries of their authority lie, or how to bargain toward a solution. And they aren’t around long enough to learn.

So the chambers are weak and ineffective. And ethics have flown out the window as lobbyists exploit the revolving door and shower green lawmakers with favors.

We’ve known term limits are a failure for at least a decade. And yet nothing changes.

Courser, Gamrat and Smith are the fruits of that failed experiment.