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Four Democratic candidates for Speaker of the State House – Jim Crawford, Bill Faison, Hugh Holliman and Drew Saunders – have pledged to limit the new Speaker to two terms. The other three candidates are dodging the issue – but they’re being plenty careful about it.

Representative Dan Blue says, “A limitation on terms is a reasonable discussion and one that ought to be aired vigorously…” Translated from political-speak into English that’s called adroitly implying you favor the term limit, while leaving the door open to oppose it later. But Blue may be forgiven on the grounds of necessity. He already served two terms as Speaker in the 1990’s.

Joe Hackney was even less candid. He opined, “I have no objection with term limits, but it has to be done in conjunction with Senate term limits…so that we don’t have an imbalance of power between the two houses.” Translated, that’s an outright no. Hackney knows as well as anyone that his eminence Marc Basnight is now in his fourteenth year as leader of the Senate and no one is about to limit his terms.

The third Democrat, Mickey Michaux, was concise, but vague. He said, “I’m sort of ambivalent about it.” Translated that means he’s against it but is waiting to see which way the wind is blowing. He’s leaving his options open. Michaux can now go either way.

Does it matter? Well, ask yourself: If Dan Blue, Joe Hackney and Mickey Michaux can’t tell you where they stand on one simple issue like this – how much candor can you expect from them as Speaker when the time comes to face a really controversial issue? Not much.

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