(CBS) — How long is too long when it comes to holding an elected office?
That’s up to voters, according to Chicago’s mayor.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine got Rahm Emanuel to weigh in on the term-limit debate triggered by gubernatorial candidates this week.
“That’s what elections are for. You stand before the voters, and you run for re-election or you run for election. And that’s my view. That’s what elections are about,” he says.
Unless you’re the president, who’s limited to 2 terms and eight years. Barack Obama is already planning for life after the White House.
If he were back in Springfield, where he started nearly 20 years ago, he could stay forever. Like Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, who has been there for 42 years.
Some call Madigan the poster child for term limits.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has called for term limits. His primary opponents Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady said they agreed with the concept of term limits for governor; so does Dan Rutherford, especially for legislative leaders like Madigan, a common target for the Republicans.
Madigan’s daughter, Illinois’ attorney general, was right beside the mayor when Levine asked them both what they thought.
“I don’t believe in arbitrary term limits. I haven’t supported that in the past,” he said.
“I think the mayor answered that question very well,” Lisa Madigan answered.
And don’t forget Illinois’ current Gov. Pat Quinn, who’s on record as favoring term limits. Asked yesterday if he was elected to a second term, would he pledge that it would be his last?
“No, I think we have to pass a term-limit amendment. Then that starts the clock,” Quinn replied.
Ironically, the constitutional amendment Rauner is pushing wouldn’t apply to Quinn or to himself if he wins the primary and general election — only the state representatives and senators with safe districts serving what amounts to life terms in the legislature. It would be 8 years and out.