THAT ’90S SHOW…. About a month after the 2008 elections, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the #3 person in the House Republican leadership, wrote an op-ed on the GOP’s policy agenda. As Pence saw it, near the top of the Republicans’ list should be “welfare reform” and “school vouchers.”

Around the same time, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) said the party needs to rally in support of a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Soon after, during Eric Holder’s confirmation process, congressional Republicans focused their energies on Elian Gonzales and Marc Rich.

The next thing you’ll be telling me is that Senate Republicans are talking up the idea of term limits again. Oh wait.

A Republican senator on Tuesday introduced a Constitutional amendment that would mandate term limits for all federal lawmakers.

Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) amendment would limit House members to three terms and senators to two terms. Every lawmaker then could serve no longer than six years in Congress. […]

Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) cosponsored the bill.

Republicans leaders probably aren’t inclined to take my advice, but I have a suggestion anyway. Democrats like to characterize the GOP as a party with no ideas. When Republicans respond by rehashing ridiculous proposals from 15 years ago, it doesn’t help.

As for the substance of DeMint’s old idea, we already have term limits — they’re called “elections.”

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.