They promise that if we elect them, they’ll serve just one term and welch on the deal next election. They promise to vote one way on an issue, and vote the other. Their explanations and rationalizations are stock and without imagination and we voters understand they will do anything to get re-elected. Why? The job doesn’t pay that much. The power is intoxicating but how much do they really have. I think the deeper motivation is they’ll do anything to avoid being sent back to the little towns from which they came.
Please god, I can’t go back to Bumfuck, Missouri, with it’s Wal-Mart and the little coffee shop where the Good Old Boys talk politics every morning. I can’t go back there and run the family business and live out my life so far from here. I won’t go back. I will lie, cheat, steal, corrupt, connive… there is nothing I will not do to stay here. Please forgive me, god. Amen.
And when one party unseats the other and takes away the powerful jobs, the losers will take any shitty, boring job with some meaningless commission or state agency rather than go back to Moberly or West Plains or Kennett. Like some virus that goes dormant until the host is weak enough for it to flare back up. Which is where term limits came in. It was the only way we voters could innoculate ourselves. Opponents warn that term limits will result in bad government. Uh, we already have bad government. It’ll be worse, they promise (threaten?). We’ll take our chances.
[Mealy-mouthed disclaimer: We know that not all politicians are liars. Many of you are just like Jefferson Smith. We’re not talking about you.]