Author Topic: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?  (Read 429 times)

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http://news.yahoo.com/presidential-term-limits--necessary-and-right--or-bad-for-democracy-192726518.html


Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
By Chris Nichols 19 hours ago

The time has come to end presidential term limits, because continuing the restrictions on how long one can serve in the country's highest office is bad for the United States, a university professor argued this week.

In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, Jonathan Zimmerman, a history and education professor at New York University, says deciding whether a president deserves a third, fourth or more terms should be left to the American people, not the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which placed a two-term limit on the position. As background, here's an excerpt from the amendment, ratified in 1951:

"No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."

The amendment came into being a few years after Franklin Roosevelt was elected to the fourth of his White House terms. Known to Americans as the president during the final years of the Great Depression and most of World War II, Roosevelt, a Democrat, died in office before completing his last term. After the war, Republicans made a successful bid to install a two-term maximum for future presidents. But, according to Zimmerman, they limited not only the president's time in office, but also "democracy itself."

With President Obama's job-approval numbers down sharply, Zimmerman indicates that the nation's chief executive is perhaps being hampered by the fact that he's in his final term, giving GOP opponents and even Democrats little incentive to support him on issues that might hurt their own re-election chances.

To illustrate his point, he uses two topics in the headlines: the implemention of the new health care law and the nuclear agreement with Iran.

He writes:

Quote
"Many of Obama’s fellow Democrats have distanced themselves from the reform and from the president. Even former president Bill Clinton has said that Americans should be allowed to keep the health insurance they have. Or consider the reaction to the Iran nuclear deal. Regardless of his political approval ratings, Obama could expect Republican senators such as Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and John McCain (Ariz.) to attack the agreement. But if Obama could run again, would he be facing such fervent objections from Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)? Probably not. Democratic lawmakers would worry about provoking the wrath of a president who could be reelected. Thanks to term limits, though, they’ve got little to fear."


Zimmerman adds, "Nor does Obama have to fear the voters, which might be the scariest problem of all. If he chooses, he could simply ignore their will. And if the people wanted him to serve another term, why shouldn’t they be allowed to award him one?"

On this last point, he invokes George Washington, the first president of the United States. Washington, he says, stepped down after his second term, but not because he was required by law to do so. Zimmerman says Washington didn't support enforced term limits, citing one of his letters. "I can see no propriety in precluding ourselves from the service of any man who, in some great emergency, shall be deemed universally most capable of serving the public," Washington wrote. By leaving office, however, he did establish a precedent that would be followed for more than a century.

In his "Presidential Term Limits in American History: Power, Principles, and Politics," Michael Korzi, a professor of political science at Towson University, cites the first president's remark, stating that Washington departed voluntarily after his second term "more for personal reasons than for reasons of philosophy."

Even so, the Founding Fathers had different opinions on whether to impose a mandate on term lengths, researchers indicate. (U.S. senators and representatives don't have term limits.) Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the U.S., felt a maximum had merit. In "Jefferson Himself: The Personal Narrative of a Many-Sided American," edited by Bernard Mayo, Jefferson referenced his dislike of the idea of an entrenched leader:

"That I should lay down my charge at a proper season is as much a duty as to have borne it faithfully ... . These changes are necessary, too, for the security of republican government. If some period be not fixed, either by the Constitution or by practice, to the services of the First Magistrate, his office, though nominally elective, will in fact be for life; and that will soon degenerate into an inheritance."

As for the present, Zimmerman's idea isn't new, and in fact, rumor-researching website Snopes.com notes multiple proposals in recent years to repeal the 22nd Amendment. Republicans and Democrats alike have raised the issue, but none of the attempts have gotten too far. .

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Offline Chieftain

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2013, 10:01:07 AM »
Yes term limits are right...so right that in fact we should term limit US Representatives, US Senators and Supreme Court Justices.

There is no room in a Representative Democracy for a King or any other lifetime Royalty.


Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2013, 02:49:15 PM »
Okay one article about term limits is idle speculation, but three or four in a span of two days reeks of WH talking points. What is afoot in this talk???
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline kevindavis

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2013, 03:09:05 PM »
Okay one article about term limits is idle speculation, but three or four in a span of two days reeks of WH talking points. What is afoot in this talk???

They said the same thing during Clinton's 2nd term, but not at this time. Personally I think the President should just serve 1 six year term.
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."

Ronald Reagan

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Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2013, 03:10:48 PM »
They said the same thing during Clinton's 2nd term, but not at this time. Personally I think the President should just serve 1 six year term.

same here
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline kevindavis

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2013, 03:14:37 PM »
same here

I wouldn't worry about it. It takes an arm and a leg to amend the Constitution and I don't think the GOP will be willing to get rid of the 22nd Amendment.
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."

Ronald Reagan

"We must continue to go into space for humanity.” - Dr. Stephen Hawking

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2013, 08:31:50 AM »
Okay one article about term limits is idle speculation, but three or four in a span of two days reeks of WH talking points. What is afoot in this talk???

It does smell of issued talking points. Rather badly. First one was Washington Post, right? They often float trial balloons for policy changes, which then get taken up by the NYT.

It could be harmless - an interesting article that the editorials in other news agencies thought was worth discussing. It could be something under serious consideration.
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Offline aligncare

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2013, 09:54:42 AM »
Personally I think the President should just serve 1 six year term.

I like that idea. Then, the officeholder won't be vying for a second term by offering up candy to core groups in exchange for their vote. I like it.
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Offline kevindavis

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2013, 01:25:13 PM »
I like that idea. Then, the officeholder won't be vying for a second term by offering up candy to core groups in exchange for their vote. I like it.

It is a good idea, but the amendment won't pass...
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."

Ronald Reagan

"We must continue to go into space for humanity.” - Dr. Stephen Hawking

Offline flowers

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2013, 01:36:49 PM »
Okay one article about term limits is idle speculation, but three or four in a span of two days reeks of WH talking points. What is afoot in this talk???
I wouldn't put it past this WH.


Online Fishrrman

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2013, 09:32:38 PM »
I'm willing to swallow an amendment like this...

... IF.... it's mated to a second clause that changes the setup of Electoral College voting as well.

I advocate that the Electoral College be changed from operating at "the state level" (in which each state decides how to apportion its electors) to the "Congressional district" paradigm (by which electors are designated by the winner of each Congressional district, plus the two for the Senators going to the winner of the state).

This would create a significant shift towards the influence of the "flyover" areas and make Republicans/conservative districts much more influential in the years to come.

Correcting the problems with the Electoral College would be a significant improvement and breath new life into conservatism, at least for 20-30 more years. But you'll never get a change like this without giving up something to the other side -- hence, the proposition that they both be changed together, since both involve the presidential selection process.

I don't think the left would go for it, however -- they (of all) know how significant the change would be...

Offline kevindavis

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2013, 10:15:30 PM »
I'm willing to swallow an amendment like this...

... IF.... it's mated to a second clause that changes the setup of Electoral College voting as well.

I advocate that the Electoral College be changed from operating at "the state level" (in which each state decides how to apportion its electors) to the "Congressional district" paradigm (by which electors are designated by the winner of each Congressional district, plus the two for the Senators going to the winner of the state).

This would create a significant shift towards the influence of the "flyover" areas and make Republicans/conservative districts much more influential in the years to come.

Correcting the problems with the Electoral College would be a significant improvement and breath new life into conservatism, at least for 20-30 more years. But you'll never get a change like this without giving up something to the other side -- hence, the proposition that they both be changed together, since both involve the presidential selection process.

I don't think the left would go for it, however -- they (of all) know how significant the change would be...

Actually Maine does and Nebraska does it as well.  Don't need an amendment to do it. Have to prod the state legislatures to do it.
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."

Ronald Reagan

"We must continue to go into space for humanity.” - Dr. Stephen Hawking

Online Fishrrman

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Re: Presidential term limits: necessary and right, or bad for democracy?
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2013, 12:00:47 PM »
[[ Actually Maine does and Nebraska does it as well.  Don't need an amendment to do it. Have to prod the state legislatures to do it. ]]

How could you get states like California, Illinois, New York, Washington and Oregon agree to do this?

Nope. That's why it would have to be accomplished through a Constitutional amendment that mandates it EVERYwhere.


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