The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

This House opposes term limits for elected Heads of State

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/1/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,093 times Debate No: 36227
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (3)




This debate forms part of the Official DDO Prepared Championships for Summer 2013. Please see the forums for details. (

R1 will be acceptance only, with no new arguments to be introduced in R4. 8000 characters per round with a 72 hour response time, plus a voting period of 1 week.

Elected Heads of State: A Head of State or Head of Government who holds this office as a result of being elected, be it directly or indirectly, by the electorate. Therefore elected Prime Ministers and Presidents would be included; whereas Monarchs, appointed Prime Ministers and appointed Governor-Generals (such as those in Canada or Australia) are not included in this debate.

I wish my opponent the best of luck.


I accept, and look forward to a fun and challenging debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I’d like to thank RocketEngineer for accepting the debate, and wish him the best of luck. Sorry it took so long – I’m currently in a funny part of Europe with little access to the Internet, so I’d appreciate it if he could post his R2 as late as possible (I get back to the UK, and proper internet access, late tomorrow).

Substantive I: Experienced hands steady the ship

There have been many instances of national crisis where an existing candidate could be perceived as being a better option for the future of the country than any of their challengers, yet that candidate could also be forced to stand aside by an arbitrary and needless term limit. An important example of a candidate who was not constrained in this way would be Gordon Brown, the UK’s Prime Minister between 2007 and 2010. In late 2007 and early 2008, amidst falling poll ratings, Brown’s future looked poor and his Conservative challenger David Cameron was making major political ground. Everything changed (albeit temporarily) when the world’s economy started to slump. The people suddenly turned to Brown, who had previously been described by Vince Cable as having gone from “Stalin to Mr Bean”, as an experienced set of hands (having been Chancellor for ten years), and Brown overtook Cameron in the polls. Ultimately, of course, Brown was not re-elected due to various other government scandals and incompetences, but had the election been held in 2008 (as was speculated) he might well have been elected. This seems an obscure and bizarre example of someone who wasn’t even affected by a term limit, but there is a point here: in times of national crisis, people often look to experienced hands for leadership. Term limits mean that an experienced leader who has years of expertise in, for example, economic management, is barred from continuing in the job even when it is seen as in the ultimate national interest. There are times when the people do not want to trust some young, punky upstart with national leadership; be it in times of economic crisis, war, or natural disaster. Some leaders are natural experts in a particular field: many would argue that Brown was one of the most skilled economists Britain had seen in decades, and many argue that certain presidents of the USA excelled in reforming or managing within a particular sphere. Therefore, there is no real reason to stop them from serving their country by providing and using their expertise; and my point here is that actively barring an experienced candidate can, in some situations, be to national detriment and not to the overall benefit of the nation.

Substantive II: They are a complete anomaly within a free electoral system

Democracy is, unsurprisingly, a very fair political system that allows people to make many of their own choices with regards to how people vote. We allow people to vote for radical candidates, even if they threaten to destroy the fabric of democracy and civilised government itself. Yet, for some reason, many political systems forbid people from re-electing a perfectly decent candidate who has been good for the country? Whilst in a country such as the USA, where the political atmosphere is incredibly polarised and divided and supporters of one party are constantly calling for the President to be impeached simply on the grounds of having enacted legislation they disagree with, it is difficult to imagine a President who everybody agreed upon, suppose one were to come along. That would be a President who had truly united the country through leadership despite the presence of major national crises. Why would you not want to re-elect him (or indeed her)? My point here is that this is a lack of freedom which is bizarre at best and harmful at worst. It almost appears not to trust the people to like their own President by insisting that a new one be elected at least every 8 years (using the USA as a case study, although the point would be valid for many other nations). A crazy right-wing madman promising a nuclear missile in every home and the death penalty for anyone caught with a cat in their home is allowed to run for the Presidency, quite rightly, yet a more ‘sane’ President (I trust nobody on DDO would vote for the aforementioned madman, and if they would, they should report to an asylum) is forced to stand down. Either democracy is democracy – where anyone born anywhere within a particular jurisdiction, regardless of occupation, can become the leader through election – or we might as well dump democracy as a system. Term limits are an example of misexecuted democracy, as they are a complete anomaly within its principles.

Substantive III: When it’s time to go, people generally do

I’ll be using the UK as my case study for this argument, being a Western democracy which has always operated without term limits and where there is no real convention on how long a Prime Minister should serve. In the UK, when the people are bored of a particular PM, the system tends to get rid of them fairly quickly. This goes to serve that term limits aren’t needed in order to stop an unpopular second-term candidate from serving again. Two prominent examples within the UK would be Margaret Thatcher (resigned 1990) and Tony Blair (stood down 2007). Thatcher won a third term in office in 1987, but a series of ill political decisions in 1989 and 1990 led to a string of prominent ministers resigning and her poll ratings started to plummet. Events such as 1990’s infamous Poll Tax Riots showed the public’s contempt for an extremely controversial and increasingly unpopular Prime Minister. Thatcher wanted to continue but her party, fearing its electoral prospects and wishing to secure a fourth term in government, forced her out. The point? When Thatcher became unpopular, she went (though not necessarily by choice). As for Blair, whose popularity went down in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq (he was re-elected in 2005 with the lowest ever percentage of the vote for a PM winning a Parliamentary majority), he was forced out by the senior members of his party in favour of Brown in 2007. Therefore, if we look at the UK system, we can see that we don’t need an arbitrary term limit to stop a politican serving beyond their welcome. Parties ultimately value government more than leadership, be it in the UK or in the USA. So if we’ve proved that term limits aren’t needed to prevent leaders from outstaying their welcome, and we’ve also shown that term limits are a detriment to democracy, Pro has therefore proved that there is a strong case against term limits.

That’s all for now, though I will introduce more substantives in R3. I’ve been light on sources this round due to limited internet access (I’m on a metered connection), so I will cite more in R3. Over to RocketEngineer now for his opening arguments.



As requested, I have waited as long as I possibly can. There are 7 hours left, but I should probably get this in before I go to sleep, so as not to forfeit accidentally.

OrangeMayhem's Arguments

1. Experienced hands steady the ship

I am not going to outright deny that experience is helpful. My point will be that there are also drawbacks to experience, however. Experience would normally help, when facing a recurring issue, that has happened before. The individual with experience, has learned that the one way they have tried seems to have for the most part worked. But experience doesn't always mean that the issue dealt with was resolved soundly. It might mean that the individual has learned how to re-act in the situation, and keep a calm and steady demeanor when dealing with said issue.

The drawback with this is, that doing things the same way, isn't always beneficial. I say beneficial, meaning that there is possibly a better way to achieve the same good.

Even those experienced, had do physically try something new, in order to attain such experience. This is accomplished by noticing what isn't working with the previous monarch, and reforming and implementing the individuals own ideas to attain a better solution.

Trying something new forces you to grow. We don't ever grow from taking action we've always taken (the growth that enabled us to be able to take it has already occurred). Growth seems to require we take new actionfirst, whether it's adopting a new attitude or a new way of thinking, or literally taking new action. Thrusting yourself into new situations and leaving yourself there alone, so to speak, often forces beneficial change. A spirit of constant self-challenge keeps you humble and open to new ideas that very well may be better than the ones you currently hold dear (this happens to me all the time). (1)

Basically, experience often doesn't beget new ideas.

There has been multiple beneficial revisions and changes throughout history, that one experienced politician may be unwilling to try.

New minds throughout politics, have strongly benefited things like; The Labours Party Clause IV, The great Reform act of 1832, The 10th amendment, etc.

Newer politicians will be more open to trying newer things through their own naivety. Experienced politicians will see things as dangerous, or will be more unwilling to reform their own ideas, which is harmful to the development of their nations.

2. They are a complete anomaly within a free electoral system

My opponent's analyzation on the United States split political system, is something I agree with. This, though, is probably why an anomaly in which you described would never make it into a free electoral system,as evidenced by the fact that we haven't had anything other than democratic and republic presidents sine 1857. (2) The United States a whole is too split to probably ever be okay with all of the thoughts and ideals one president could bring to the table. But if they ever were to, how exactly do we know they would able to continue to make the right decisions throughout their years? As society changes, and new political issues are constantly being raised, a presidents thoughts and ideals will need to conform as well. New ways of thinking, and intelligent minds will be eager to approach such issues with more clarity than a single monarch would, after years of being influenced by his static environment.

It is unlikely that a large influx of people would vote for a madman who fits your description, though. And if they did, it certainly meets the description of what a democracy really is, meaning that somehow, this may have been a good option. But keeping a good president in office, disallows the chances for a better one to come along.

3. When it's time to go, people generally do

I don't contest that if a "bad leader" is decided on, they will be forced out of office. This would be true for any democracy preventing dictatorship.

But essentially there is no need to go through the political process of booting prime ministers, and electing new ones so often, with a term limit. There is a constant cycle of eager new politicians, ready to try their ideas and use their methods to better their society. Older politicians may be run down, or tethered. The stream of ideas isn't so readily available, as in previous years, most of it has been used or tried. That's in part, probably why the politicians you described would stand down, or get voted out. The point is, while their are other outstanding benefits to term limits, it complicates and confuses to process when situations like the one's you noted actually occur.

Reduce the potential for harms altogether, by cycling new candidates.

Rockets Arguments

1. Term Limits are a fail safe

“Without term limits every man in power becomes a ravenous beast of prey- John Adams

Let me quote my opponent briefly: "It almost appears not to trust the people to like their own President by insisting that a new one be elected at least every 8 years"

The issue isn't that we do not trust the people to like the president; the issue is that we can't trust the president for too long of a term.

"Term Limits can help break the cycle of corruption in Congress. Case studies show that the longer an individual stays in office, the more likely they are to stop serving the public and begin serving their own interests." (3)

While the above may not be true for every single person in power, such things cannot be trusted. A term limit is a fail safe to ensure that a politician cannot continue to make legislation with the potential to harm their own state, or fail to properly utilize resources. The purpose of a democracy, is to involve the people of the united states. Preventing any possibility of too much power, is essential in any case of trying to prevent this.

If you have ever read the book "Animal Farm" by George Orwell, the book makes an important point pertaining to the above. Whilst someone may have the intention of good, power and greed can easily over take someone. In the political saddle this can be very dangerous as you hold the well being over the people in your state or country. (4)

Preventing such tyranny in any form, is better in general.

2. Consequential reasoning

Term Limits will force politicians to think about the impact of their legislation because they will be returning to their communities shortly to live under the laws they enacted. (3)

This isn't as impacting as it is pre-election, but how can someone truly know the needs of their citizens, if they haven't themselves been living it?
After sitting in the golden chair for too long, it can be easy to lose sight of these aspects of living. New political candidates are more eager and willing to commit change, as per living in the era their predecessors have put them in. These presidents want to make a difference based on what they've lived, seen, and faced with in their own lives. Cycling new individuals like this constantly is important.


The important thing about term limits, is that it cycles in new ideas. It is more form fitting to a democracy as well. The longer length of a term, the more chance there is of narrow minded individuals, running a static presidency. New ideas and are pertinent to a strong political system, and over coming new challenges as well as old ones. Preventing the overwhelm of power is all too important in a working democracy.

I feel I have made a strong case for Term Limits being superior to the lack of one, for all of the reasons above. I look forward to the responding arguments from my opponent, and wish him luck throughout the remainder of this debate!


Debate Round No. 2


Whilst I’d like to thank my opponent for his response and as much as I enjoyed reading it, he hasn’t actually given any reason why term limits are necessary. Most of his arguments are in favour of allowing new people into power to bring about new ideas and new changes, but RocketEngineer has failed to demonstrate that term limits are necessary to safeguard these transitions. This will be painfully obvious by the end of this entry.

Rebuttal I: “There is possibly a better way to achieve the same good.”

Indeed, but if there is one thing that voters like, it is feeling comfortable. People don’t like to take a risk and the masses are unlikely to vote for a leader or party who they feel are too radical. There is a very particular reason why Tony Blair needed to change Clause IV (as mentioned by my opponent): it was too radical for the Labour Party to be seen as electable [1]. So, we see that voters like to feel comfortable and don’t like taking risks, hence projects to make parties more ‘electable’ such as Modern Compassionate Conservatism and the New Labour Project. If people want to go for a more comfortable option, which by your own admission delivers the same result, why not let the people get the warm fuzzy feeling of comfort?

Rebuttal II: “[Attaining leadership experience] is best accomplished by noticing what isn’t working with the previous monarch…”

Wow, where do I even start with that one? Monarchs don’t actually take any decisions in a constitutional monarchy (I presume this refers to the UK, otherwise you’re just mixing up monarchs with leaders), and they essentially rubber-stamp legislation, so the monarch is irrelevant. Putting this… oddity…. aside, the point still doesn’t stand up. Not every new leader is a resounding success and many countries quickly realise they have made a terrible mistake. The current French President, François Hollande, is a classic example. People are now thinking that they should have elected Sarkozy for a second presidential term as they regard the Hollande administration as disastrous. [2] Point? People standing at the sidelines saying “pah, I could do better” are not always right.

Rebuttal III: “New politicians will be more open to trying new things through their own naivety.”

Naivety is generally regarded as a poor trait for a leader – it implies recklessness, not thinking through ones decisions, and many other negative traits. Naivety is a risk and – as previously discussed – people do not like risks. The risk outweighs the potential freak benefits achieved on off-chance.

Rebuttal IV: “How exactly do we know that they would be able to continue to make the right decisions throughout their years?”

Because this is a DEMOCRACY. Citizens are not stupid ants who live under the ground constantly re-electing a poor choice despite having no consciousness of major political issues. People will, believe it or not, change their mind about re-electing someone if their leader goes senile or starts making ridiculous decisions. If people start pledge to make decisions which would not generally be deemed as ‘right’, they simply won’t be elected – they will not lead a tyranny ad infinitum simply because of the lack of any constitutional block on re-election.

Rebuttal V: “Keeping a good president in office disallows the chances for a better one to come along.”

You’ve just said it yourself: this hypothetical President is a good one. Therefore, his Presidency is GOOD. It is not hurting the country, the President isn’t doing anyone any harm, and presumably they are leading their nation forward. So who are you to decree that the people shouldn’t be allowed to elect someone who they like and are comfortable with because someone better COULD come along? Bearing in mind how irregular it is to have a President whose opponents aren’t calling for their impeachment, the chances that they would be succeeded by a President of similar statute are minute.

Rebuttal VI: “There is no need to go through the political process of booting prime ministers and electing new ones so often with a term limit.”

This point is both generally flawed and factually incorrect. You refer specifically to Prime Ministers, I presume to British PMs – but no British PM since 1980 has served for fewer than three years, and only one did that. So we don’t elect new PMs ‘so often’ [3] and our system is not unstable. Then, I turn the point entirely. Having an unpopular PM booted out of office, as opposed to being forced to retire, allows them to have their electoral comeuppance, which in term gives a better mandate to an incoming candidate, as they are replacing someone as opposed to simply taking their place (a subtle but effective distinction).

Rebuttal VII: “We can’t trust the President for too long of a term.”

History seems to disagree with you. Let’s look at FDR, the only US President to have served beyond two terms. He is controversial, perhaps, with his opponents; but did he go mad with power and start making crazy decisions? No, and no sane person levels such accusations against him. Equally, the UK has survived for over 200 years without a term limit and nobody has abused their position as you described. So scaremonger all you like, but in the two principal case studies we’ve seen are not on your side.

Rebuttal VIII: “How can someone truly know the needs of their citizens if they haven’t themselves been living it?”

This assumes that all leaders do a George W Bush and quietly return to their home jurisdictions after they finish being leaders. But do most leaders do this? No. Bill Clinton almost immediately turned his attention to advancing his wife’s political ambitions, Tony Blair jetted off to the Middle East to become an envoy for the Quartet [4]. It’s a lovely idea that every politician ends their political career by returning home to normality, but it simply doesn’t happen for many politicians. The point, however, is moot anyway because term limits do not serve to allow people to serve until their death – so every politician will eventually stop, and then they may well return home. So my opponent’s argument is completely invalid, as it is utterly unaffected by the repealing of term limits.

I don’t have any room for any more substantives, but I think that I have completely proven my point. I will focus my final speech primarily on summing up my arguments as a whole, but as a general guide, here is what Pro has shown you: we don’t need term limits. The UK has coped without them for 200 years without anyone going crazy or mad with power. Countries often regret electing a risky proposition, so forcing people to gamble on new candidates is reckless and irresponsible. And this is why term limits are actually harmful to democracy – they prevent good candidates from being allowed to lead their country forward.

I look forward to seeing what Con has to say in response.







Before I begin my rebuttals, I would like to let everyone know that I am from the United States, and my knowledge of political leaders in Europe is limited. So forgive me if I mis-use terms such as "monarchs, and prime ministers". Basically I refer to them as one would a "president" of the united states, or a person in power.

OrangeMayhems Arguments

"If people want to go for a more comfortable option, which by your own admission delivers the same result, why not let the people get the warm fuzzy feeling of comfort?"

But we haven't actually established that keeping the same person in power, actually makes them comfortable. If people don't like the way things are going, or see problems, a new person in power might fit their needs a little more. And let's admit, there are always going to be problems. That why term limits are helpful though. As new presidents bring new ideas and changes to politics, these will dis-appear, while new ones grow. Keeping the same person in office that doesn't know how to prevent such issues, or is unwilling to try means that problems can't always be handled. When I say "unwilling" you have to consider that certain individuals are biased by their beliefs. Usually belonging to a lot of the same beliefs they ran for before going into office. If something good can come from an action that don't believe in, they may never know or try. The political influence of multiple beliefs and parties is a positive influence to any country, and they can get a good idea for different methods of operation.

In order to maintain a strong democracy, multiple political parties are required.

First, political parties develop policies and programmes. This is the content side of their responsibility. It ensures that there are different choices in the political marketplace – not only in terms of candidates but also in terms of ideas. Once in government, a party can start implementing these ideas. (5)

"People standing at the sidelines saying “pah, I could do better” are not always right."

This is true in both systems, as your example clearly shows. However, this really isn't an argument against term limits. We never know what we get when we elect a new head of state, it's always a mystery. Whether they will abide by they values they stood by in the election process, is completely up in the air. But risking a bad new leader is just as risky as keeping the same on in power, and with a term limit, and the chance for someone to get repealed (as you stated in your own case), the harms don't have to be all that bad. But the argument of sticking with the old, rather than trying something new doesn't make a lot of sense. If you have an old brick phone that doesn't meet all of your wants, and by a new phone that breaks within the first week, does that mean you have to go back to your brick phone rather than get another new phone that has the potential to fill in the problems your old phone had?

If you are content with the old world, try to preserve it, it is very sick and cannot hold out much longer. But if you cannot bear to live in everlasting dissonance between your beliefs and your life, thinking one thing and doing another, get out of it. - Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy.

"Naivety is a risk and – as previously discussed – people do not like risks."

But absence Naivety, means old political bias, which is a trait that people hate more. This has a history of bad results, and too much power with nothing "productive" being done. Naivety also doesn't have to mean that a political action is "reckless". Most political decisions shoulviuly calculated and thought out to begin with. Naivety shows a willingness to try these new things and get them done.

But ultimately, there is no way to judge a good political decision vs a bad one, unless a new one is tried.

I think Arie W. Kruglanski gives a pretty good definition of this. (6)

"Citizens are not stupid ants who live under the ground constantly re-electing a poor choice despite having no consciousness of major political issues."

Citizens are definitely not "stupid ants" but can we always trust a political system to work in the way it's supposed to? After years of power and influence, is the same politician always going to support the same ideals? There are reasons that 75% of americans support term limits. (7)

The risk of a failing democracy is too high, as seen in Egypt(8), Early America (9), and in Europe(10).
Simply counting on the fact that we are a democracy isn't as easy as it sounds. Now I know this is a little exaggerated and uses superfluous examples, but the point is all about the risk involved in the political process being reduced by term limits, and provides a fail safe in case of a democracy usurpin power.

"So who are you to decree that the people shouldn’t be allowed to elect someone who they like and are comfortable with because someone better COULD come along?"

I think that you are over stepping with the argument of "likability, and comfortableness". I don't think many people are too ingrained into feeling comfortable with their nations leader, as opposed to wanting the best things for their country. So if you are valuing that people should stay with their president because he is a nice guy and hasn't screwed up too bad, the warrant for your argument is missing. How do we know that people are not more interested in better productivity for their country? Even without this argument, your argument still dis-regards the chance of people growing to like the new head of state and growing just as "comfortable" with him/her, as they did with the previous one.

"So we don’t elect new PMs ‘so often’ and our system is not unstable."

While this point was mainly based on hypotheticals, and ultimately this is a minor point, what I am trying to say is that term limits ultimately are a deterrent to bad decisions. If you know you only have a set amount of time to do the best you possibly can for your country, your more likely to make impending decisions that are based around productivity and development. Most of these ideals will come in the first few years of presidency anyway.

"Did he go mad with power and start making crazy decisions?"

This point isn't so much about what has happened, it's that the failsafe reduces the risk of something like this ever happening. Your example of lack of term limits for 200 years, is almost the same as saying. "My neighborhood as been peaceful for the last ten years, so I am going to leave me door unlocked".If you get robbed a day later, you will think yourself a fool for not participating in the failsafe of locking your house.

"So every politician will eventually stop, and then they may well return home."

I think my opponent has mis-understood the philosophical impact of this point.. Returning home, doesn't mean they won't have to undergo the leadership practices of those replacing them. As far as my point goes, the qoute "reaping what you sow" bets suit this principal. Being in power, you are not a victim to the law you facilitate, and the legislation you pass. But it's an interesting concept to think that you may one day soon return to this. Term limits mean they know they are returning to the world they are creating, giving them more incentive to do good.

I pass the argument back onto my opponent.

Debate Round No. 3


A note about Con’s R3: I would like to point out that Con used an image to exceed the stated 8000 character limit. The overall sum of his argument for R3 comes to 7,515 characters (including sources); whereas the text of the image exceeds the remaining c500 characters. This counts against conduct [5] and is borderline cheating.

Before I begin my rebuttal, I would like to match my opponent’s previous statement: I am a citizen of the UK and as such I apologise for any misassertions I may accidentally make with regards to the US political system.

Rebuttal IX: “We haven’t actually established that keeping the same people in power actually makes them [the people] comfortable.”

My opponent doesn’t seem to be making the connection here. This is a DEMOCRACY. If someone is being re-elected, then they must be more popular than all the other candidates (especially in the FPTP voting system used in the UK and the USA). People vote for a candidate who they feel comfortable with leading their country. Therefore, if the people ARE keeping the same person in power (via a democratic process) then they must be comfortable. People aren’t going to vote for someone they aren’t comfortable with purely by virtue of being the incumbent.

Rebuttal X: “As new Presidents bring new ideas and changes to politics these will disappear while others will grow.”

Con drops Pro’s argument that there is such a thing as a bad idea.

Rebuttal XI: “Certain individuals are biased by their beliefs.”

Sorry, don’t you vote for someone because you agree with what they believe in and what they stand for? I know that I (will) do. Of course people are biased by their beliefs, we all are. But that’s a natural and a good part of politics – that people actually BELIEVE in ideals and stand for them. A political system based purely on pragmatism and opportunism is a reckless one.

Rebuttal XII: “In order to maintain a strong democracy multiple political parties are required.”

Agreed. That problem is caused by the voting system. And this relevant to term limits how…?

Rebuttal XIII: “The argument of sticking with the old rather than trying something new doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

My opponent seems to be confused about what he is arguing for. May I remind him that he is not arguing the merits of electing a new candidate challenging an incumbent but that he is arguing in favour of people being FORCED to elect a new candidate even when the incumbent would be willing to stand again. Regardless: again, Con has made a fatal misassumption – that things consistently get better; that every election sees ‘better’ candidates than the last. And many people will tell you that this is simply not the case. Good leaders are followed by bad leaders, that is an inevitability. Forcing people into the situation where they choose a ‘bad’ leader because they are the best STANDING candidate is not an inevitability.

Rebuttal XIV: “Naivety shows a willingness to try new things and get them done.”

It does, correct. But the crux of this argument seems to come down to the benefits of a somewhat staid yet safe President and having an upstart, elected simply because the incumbent was unable to continue, who could royally screw everything up. And again, not every new idea is a good one, and many ideas weren’t tried by the previous administration because research suggested they would be terrible ideas.

Rebuttal XV: “Ultimately, there is no good way to judge a good political decision versus a bad one, unless a new one is tried.”

That may be true: what constitutes a ‘good’ decision is often something we see in hindsight. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should try something new out of sheer curiosity, to see if it works better. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. When we are talking about big political decisions, it is often best to go with the ‘safer’ option which doesn’t run risks which could put the country in turmoil.

Rebuttal XVI: “There are reasons why 75% of Americans support term limits.”

Given that the crux of your argument is that what the people want isn’t always right, doesn’t that render your opinion statistics irrelevant?

Rebuttal XVII: “This is a little exaggerated and uses superfluous examples.”

‘Superfluous’? That’s a little bit of an understatement. All of the countries you have chosen were involved in major civil wars about how the nature of democracy itself should operate. You have cherry-picked examples of failing democracies (conveniently not mentioning that the USA was trying to decide how federalist democracy should be, and the countries of Egypt and Eastern Europe were trying to decide whether or not to have democracy at all). NONE of your examples have anything to do with term limits or any controversy therein.

Rebuttal XVIII: “I don’t think many people are too ingrained into feeling comfortable with their nation’s leader.”

You are using the word ‘comfort’ too exclusively. Being comfortable with one’s leader is not just a matter of not having screwed it up. Being comfortable with a leader is about being happy with their performance and not seeing any reason to replace them. Yes, people might eventually grow to like the new head of state you force them to elect. But let’s compare the choices we offer. You force them to elect someone they might eventually like: I allow them to elect someone who they do like. Things can change, of course, but it is my plan that provides more certainty and stability.

Rebuttal XIX: “If you know you only have a certain amount of time… you’re more likely to make impending decisions…” (chopping for character purposes)

Pro turns this point. If you know you aren’t constrained by some arbitrary limit, surely you have more time to consider and cross-examine your policies as opposed to rushing through legislation before you’re booted out. Rushing decisions is rarely a good thing.

Rebuttal XX: “You will think yourself a fool for not participating in the failsafe of locking your house.”

But, equally, you haven’t given me examples of where a lack of term limits has led to disaster. Houses do get robbed, though maybe not in one’s area. You haven’t given me an example ANYWHERE of term limits gone wrong.

Rebuttal XXI: “Term limits mean people know they are returning to the world they are creating.”

Con has completely ignored Pro’s Rebuttal VIII, which demonstrates that most people won’t just serve ad infinitum. Few politicians serve until they die – so MOST LEADERS WILL RETURN HOME TO THE WORLD THEY ARE CREATING.

Summing Up

I’m very nearly out of characters so this summing up will be short and sweet. Con has spent most of his speeches giving arguments in favour of allowing new people into power, as opposed to re-electing someone by virtue of being the incumbent. This strategy is flawed for two reasons. It is primarily flawed because it does not meet his half of the debate: he has not demonstrated why there should be a COMPULSION to elect someone new. And equally, Pro has efficiently and effectively rebutted these points with arguments in favour of allowing people to re-elect a choice they are confident and comfortable with. Pro has given better spelling, grammar and conduct. Pro has met his side of the BoP, whereas Con has simply been arguing for the wrong resolution. Pro demonstrates that people should be trusted to make the choice, therefore, Pro wins this debate.


Voters should vote as follows:

Pro takes S/G as I know how to use apostrophes.

Pro takes Conduct because of Con’s use of images to bypass character limits.

Pro takes Arguments for actually arguing the right thing.

Sources are equal.

I thank RocketEngineer for this debate.

Additional Source




I have raised issue with my opponents "conduct violations" accusations in the main forum. I am going to leave that there, and the debating here. I ask that the voters vote fairly, and not give into cheap attempts at votes, and vote for who they think was the better debater. Since this is the last argument and my opponent cannot respond, I will post my conclusion and allow the voters to make their decision on what they think of this debate.


I feel I have proven that there is more potential harm and risk within the lack of term limits, than there is with them. The impact of staying the same and not allowing as many new ideas to the table can be harmful to a country. There are harms and evidence of failing democracy that stand to show that the harms outweigh the benefits to outright removing term limits. After a great debate, I feel that ultimately there are more benefits to term limits, to any potential non-existant harms. No harms were pointed out in this debate for term limits, so we can conclude that the way we are doing things is safely working, considering I spent the whole debate arguing for why the lack of term limits were bad, rather than my opponent attacking term limit removal.

I ask that the voters read the debate and vote fairly. If anyone believes the "conduct" violation my opponent pointed out to be a real intentional violation by definition, context, or situation, please read the source my opponent provided to see if what was in my round had anything to do with what he said.

Thanks for reading.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TUF 6 years ago
This was a really close debate for me. I am giving this to Con in the end because I feel that he was accurate in his statement that this debate wasn't as much about proving what was wrong with term limits, but more about what was wrong with the lack of term limits. I don't think I feel convinced that there is anything wrong with term limits, from this debate, just that there isn't anything wrong with the lack of them either. So pertaining to the resolution, I must ask should the house oppose term limits? And ultimately the benefits of term limits are still there. So I am giving arguments to Con here, in this VERY close debate.

Grammar definitely goes to Pro though, spelling on both sides seemed to be fine. Multiple punctuation errors, natural sentence flaws, etc.

Sources were great on both sides.

Great debate!

On another brief note, when I viewed this source,

I really didn't see the need for the conduct violation. You provided the source in such a way that readers would have naturally clicked on the link (I clicked on the link before I even saw the picture). So the whole conduct issue could have been completely un-avoided in the first place.
Posted by TUF 6 years ago
using. Con used historical references such as John Adams, and the guy with the hard name to pronounce in the picture he was being reprimanded for in the conduct violation. But I think it is more important for more recent example to have been used in this debate as Pro did. History has changed a lot in the course of the last 200+ years, and so has politics. This argument would be in favor of the pro. For example, a recent example that Con could have and should have used was George W. Bush's presidency, which would have gone with his argument that being comfortable with a president can allow your country to be screwed up in worse ways, and that such a president couldn't be impeached right away because what he was doing isn't considered wrong on a political level to the point where he could have been impeached for it. But another thing that made this point hard to judge was the fact that both debaters are from different countries with different politicians, so your knowledge and understanding of each others political systems ultimate was N/A. I mean doing research can only tell you so much, as opposed to residing in a country and hearing about it every day on the news.

The failsafe argument that rocket provides is probably why I was originally for the term limits, but I admit, I didn't very much about this issue before. I am now looking at this, and can't really see how we are term limits are really a fail safe towards dictatorship, or communism. Realistically I could never see that happening either in the UK or the US with the way our political system works. People exaggerate about this all the time I think, when a political candidate they don't like is elected. But ultimately it is a silly point. I agree with pro on this points.

As far as new ideas, I slightly go con on this because I think his arguments concerning the reasoning we have a lot of political parties makes sense according to a\the sensibility of not keeping the same one in power for to long.

Posted by TUF 6 years ago
I have been watching the argument in the section, refusing to really get involved because I know how individuals re-act to accusations of cheating. I simply do not think RE was trying to cheat, nor would I really qualify what he did as cheating at all. But I don't blame pro for pointing this out, if he did feel he was violated against. Rocket, you over-reacted big time by making this into a drama event. I know you tend to do this, because you have done it twice in the games section and it seems now twice in the section too. Maybe it was a good thing you closed down your account here if you cannot handle a little feedback from others that YOU asked for.

With all that said, I am going to ignore the conduct issue as I can generally understand where you are coming from. I think you have learned your lesson, and won't do it in the future, but ultimately, cheating was not your intention nor do I think many people view it as your intention.

So on to the debate.

Wow, I really have to commend OrangeMayhem for his arguments here. I have to say that I may have been slightly towards the Con here initially, but I have never seen a debate done on this before this debate.

After reading this debate, I think I am officially null on the subject. There are things I didn't consider before reading this debate.

I would say that OrangeMayhem's strongest point was that probably that it has worked in the UK for years, showing evidence that term limits aren't such a bad idea.

I am not going to lie, the points about comfort weren't really doing anything for me on either side of this debate. -Tie

History knowledge- I would slightly give this to pro. Con did provide plenty of references to old old arguments including the one all the conduct hype is about, as well as john adams, etc. But from reading this debate, I think it seems apparent that Pro was using more recent references which I think is much more important than a lot of what the Con was
Posted by DeFool 6 years ago
In the first round of arguments, PRO makes the following presentation:

P1: Experience can be a valuable asset for decision makers. This wisdom is wasted if the politician is removed
P2: Term limits undemocratically restrict the will of the electorate
P3: In many systems, such as within the UK, term limits are not needed since politicians do not over-serve

Although weakly supported here, later in the debate P2 becomes key, and represents PRO"s strongest argument. (Arguing that experience should be retained (P1) also relates to democratic choice. Arguing that the politician should make the determination as to when to leave office (P3) weakens the "will of the voter" argument.) I found the actual P2 premise in this round to be hyperbolic.

CON responds with rebuttals:

Experience: Experience does not necessarily create new ideas, and may limit change

Democratic limits: Arthritic political and social movement by gentrified leadership also limits voter authority
Term limits unnecessary: This argument was conceded
Posted by DeFool 6 years ago

CON argues:

P1: Term limits are a failsafe, preventing political entrenchment and atrophy
P2: Term limits require that decision makers will have to live with their own decisions
P3 (C): Therefore, term limits cycle in new ideas and talent

I did not see this argument as a logical chain with a required conclusion. PRO demands that CON state why term limits are "necessary," but does not seem to require the argument to follow. (The argument repeats itself rather than present new premises, and the conclusion is not required.)

In the next sequence, I felt that the differences between the UK and the US political systems were clarified, an exercise that crowded out most of the debate. PRO makes the contention that an image submitted by CON allowed the character limit to be exceeded, and asks for a conduct consideration. CON directs readers to his response to this on a forum posting, but did not otherwise challenge PROs concerns. PROs strongest argument (that term limits deny voters the most popular candidate) was also never fully answered.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
Personally, I'm not sure about whether term limits are a good idea of not. I think both sides of this debate missed important issues.

I think the main argument against term limits is that it cedes power to unelected bureaucracy that ends up ruling. Politicians are gone before they can figure out how to make the bureaucracy change directions, so the bureaucrats just wait them out ignoring new leadership. Japan has been electing a new prime minister every year for many years, but the bureaucratically ingrained policies persist.

The argument for term limits is that it leads to professional politicians who have few skills aside from getting elected. Professional politicians talk a good story but do not know how to manage or solve problems, so elections become strictly about placing blame on the party out of power or other such political stories. The result is a ruling class of story tellers. they know how government works so they could change policy, but they don't know anything beyond simple ideology.

The best would be to have very little bureaucracy with term-limited politicians. That seems unlikely.
Posted by Bullish 6 years ago
Did Rocket close his account over this?
Posted by orangemayhem 6 years ago
And in my defence, I only asked for voters to consider it as a strike against conduct. I never said it counted against anything else.
Posted by Ragnar 6 years ago
Settle down, you'll scare the voters away...

The reason people worry about word heavy pictures, is there have been a couple users in the past who literally doubled (or more) their argument length by using screenshots from their word processor.

Personally I'd probably define the picture in question as a strike against conduct, but maybe not enough to tip it. However each voter needs to make that decision for themselves. They should also remember that conduct and argument are voted on separately. Having a conduct mistake, does not automatically decide who presented better arguments.

Presentation is one of three factors we're supposed to vote on for argument, so even if costing conduct, it strangely does support the argument (not saying enough to win or tie the point, as I haven't actually read the debate to know).
Posted by RocketEngineer 6 years ago
LOL arguing that this is an abuse of the character limit is a conduct violation of itself. Seriously, I didn't expect you to go THIS low.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by TUF 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by DeFool 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: The argument presented by CON did not answer PRO's strongest premise. The conduct challenge was uncontested. More in comments.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: This debate was quite close. I think Con was correct that Pro did not advance enough disadvantages of term limits to show that it would be bad to have them. Term limits seem less important in a parliamentary system, because the makeup of the legislature responds more directly to the voters. I think Con's argument that term limits are fail safe mechanism carries the weight of the arguments in this close debate. Con exceeded the character limit by presenting arguments an the image and loses the conduct point.

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.