Are Presidential Term Limits in Jeopardy?

This piece also appears today at The Unpaid Punditry Corps.

Mick Arran has a piece up about the joint resolution in congress to repeal the 22nd Amendment, you know the one that limits Presidents to two terms. When I first saw this piece of legislation I tried hard to figure out who was behind it, why it was being proposed, and what kind of support it had. As much as I would like to think this is a Republican push to anoint George W. Bush as the next King George the facts do not support that as the real reasons for this bil (HJ24). It is indeed cosponsored by my least favorite Wisconsinite Jim Sensenbrenner (R), but it was actually put forward by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and is cosponsored by three other Democrats; Pallone (D-NJ), Sabo (D-MN) and Berman (D-CA).

Hoyer defended his position on the proposal yesterday in an interview with The Raw Story basically claiming that his goal is to remove the lame-duck syndrome plaguing most President’s second terms.

Voters will not “want a popular chosen president who will be weakened in a second term. The removal of the president from politics as described by the 22nd Amendment has the effect of removing the president from the accountability to political forces that come to bear during regular elections every four years.”

I can understand this logic but I still find it to be completely flawed. Yes, removing term limits would likely get rid of the lame duck syndrome but is that so bad? Currently, during a President’s second term he is relieved of the burden of pandering to the special interests that helped elect him in favor of focusing on his legacy. Often times this has the effect of bringing out the good in the executive, not unlike what happens to wealthy corporate leaders who see their time coming to a close and decide they had better do something other than line their pockets.

Being a Pittsburgher I am reminded of Andrew Carnegie who during his prime was not a well liked man but, as life began to pass him by, became one of the great philanthropists of the last century, endowing both the city of Pittsburgh and New York with financial support that has made his name synonymous with charity. Removing term limits for the executive in my opinion will only serve to create a permanent campaign mode in the White House and that would be a disservice to the American people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook