16 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 95 (1993)
Debate: The Federalist and the Contemporary Debate on Term Limits--Term Limitations: Breaking Up the Iron Triangle

handle is hein.journals/hjlpp16 and id is 111 raw text is: DEBATE: THE FEDERALIST AND THE
CONTEMPORARY DEBATE ON
TERM LIMITS*
TERM LIMITATIONS: BREAKING UP THE
IRON TRIANGLE
WILLIAM KRISTOL**
From the perspective of The Federalist Papers, one can say that
the current issue of term limitations is historically analogous to
the 1978 California voters' initiative known as Proposition 13.'
At first glance, The Federalist Papers, which defended representa-
tive democracy against participatory or direct democracy, seem
to teach that popular initiatives are a poor way to make policy.2
Upon further reflection, however, such a wooden application of
this Federalist principle fails to account for differences between
the political environments of the Eighteenth and Twentieth
Centuries.
The fact is that Proposition 13 was the correct policy choice
in 1978, and it was also consistent with the arguments of The
Federalist Papers, properly understood. In a phrase liberally bor-
rowed from Madison, Proposition 13 was a populist remedy
for the diseases most incident to populist government.'3 One
can think in a fresh way about contemporary problems-in a
way animated by the spirit of The Federalist Papers, but not en-
slaved to their letter.4 One can apply the principles of Madison,
Hamilton, and Jay to modem politics, and yet reach conclu-
* This debate was introduced by the Honorable Will Garwood,Judge, United States
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
** Chief of Staff to Vice President J. Danforth Quayle; A.B. Harvard 1973, Ph.D.
Harvard 1979.
1. Proposition 13 was a California voters' initiative concerning the limitation and
control of state and local governmental spending. The initiative was passed in a special
statewide election on November 6, 1979. See CAL. CoNsT. art. XIIIB,  1-11.
2. See, e.g., THE FEDERAuST No. 49, at 313-17 (James Madison)(Clinton Rossiter ed.,
1961)(arguing that occasional appeals to the people would be neither a proper nor an
effectual provision for altering governmental powers or for restraining them within
their legal limits).
3. Madison's exact words were we behold a republican remedy for the diseases
most incident to republican government. THE FEDERALIST No. 10, at 84 (James
Madison)(Clinton Rossiter ed., 1961).
4. For instance, Madison recited that to preserve the spirit and the form of popular
government should be the great object... [of] our inquiries. Idl at 80.

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 2,700 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.



Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Access to this content requires a subscription. Please visit the following page to request a quote or trial:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?