Thursday, January 05, 2006

Unlimited Terms for Presidents? Yikes!

Today’s Op/Ed writers for the NYT, James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn, want the 22nd Amendment to be revoked. In their column today, “No More Second-Term Blues”, they suggest that “second termitis” (the tendency for presidents to lose their way in their second term) is due to term limits. In 1947, Republicans pushed through the 22nd amendment, which limits a president to two terms because they were scared shitless another Democrat might go on forever. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been elected to an unprecedented fourth term in 1944. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage two months later at age 63. At the very least, a proposal to allow presidents to have unlimited terms at this particular time in USA history is stupid in the extreme. George W. Bush has shown he believes he is above the law and that he possesses the authority to rule like a dictator. The last thing the majority of American people would welcome is the opportunity for election fraud to keep a president in power for decades. The fact is, Burns and Dunn may be right that the reason second-term presidents fall prey to ill-conceived excesses like Reagan’s contra scandal and Clinton’s spicy sex life is because they have, in effect, been fired. But the solution, if there is one, is not to enable a corrupt administration like the Bush administration to break laws and empower itself to rule without control and with impunity for years on end. The slight tremor you may have felt this morning is a few billion people in the world shuddering at the prospect of the Bush administration cheating its way to a third, fourth and fifth term.

1 comment:

Barry Schwartz said...

It took three terms, hubris, and a stroke to get New Yorkers fed up with Ed Koch, when it had seemed he would have the job for life. So the system sort of worked, but those elections weren't a referendum on whether to replace the commonwealth with an authoritarian kleptocracy.