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Why Should There Be a Presidential Term Limit?

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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 05:39 PM
Original message
Why Should There Be a Presidential Term Limit?
I know that with Bush in office, the thought of a third Bush term scares the hell out of us. Also, we've gotten so used to a two-term limit that any discussion about abandoning it or any discussion about its actual merits and demerits tends to get overlooked.

I don't believe that a two-term limit is productive or desirable.

Number one, I believe it is fundamentally undemocratic. If the people of the country want to elect an individual to more than one term, that is their right.

Number two, I believe it hampers second-term presidents. Second terms are almost always wholly unproductive, as the president's "window" for legislative and political action quickly closes. In Bush's case, we're all probably unanimous that this is a good thing. But remember that this backfires on Democratic presidents as well. The possibility of a third-term would reduce the period of a president's "lame-duck" status and make administration more efficient.

Now, many will object on both counts, citing Republican presidents. In the case of the second objection, I doubt Bush's legislative agenda would have been significantly more effective with the prospect of a third term, given the unpopularity of gutting social security and the collapse over Katrina and Iraq.

On the first count, some will object that it would have prevented Democratic presidencies in 1961 and 1993. Recall, however, that while Eisenhower and Reagan would have been eligible for a third term, given their ages and health, it's unlikely they would have tried for a third term. Of the two, Reagan might have been more likely, but recall that we got a third Republican term anyway, under Bush, Sr. Would a third Reagan term really have been that different? I'm not fan of Reagan, but in some ways, Reagan might have been better. He certainly would have extended more support to democratic reformers in Eastern Europe and he probably would have stood up to China far more strongly over Tiananmen Square. Plus, given his rapport with Gorbachev, it's unlikely that the immediate post-Reagan chill in US-Soviet relations would have occurred. As an added bonus, without a George HW Bush presidency, we almost certainly would not have had a George W Bush presidency.

And in 1992, a Democrat, possibly Clinton, although quite possibly someone else, would have won. If it was Clinton, he would likely have won a third term in '00 and we would have avoided the second Bush presidency.

And if Bush did win in '00, and was still in office today, I would love the satisfaction of beating him in '08. Plus, he probably wouldn't even run, given the slide in his approval ratings and GOP pressure for him to leave the scene.

I also ask this of supporters of the 22nd Amendment: if you believe in a two-term limit, why should FDR have been elected to four? Saying those were extraordinary times doesn't answer the question, because what if we face such cirumstances again? The logical answer to that would be that FDR shouldn't have served more than two terms, and one could probably argue that. But such an argument needs to be consistent. You can't support FDR's multiple terms without keeping open the possibility for ALL presidents.
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Pryderi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 05:42 PM
Response to Original message
1. When we fix the voting machines, I'll discuss eliminating term limits.
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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Fair point
But in the event of verifiable voting, would you support repealing the 22nd?
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serryjw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. ONE 6 year term
I am tired of spending a BILLION dollars to elect an incumbent
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. If we are going to amend the constitution there are better issues
to be dealt with.

Why do you want some states' senatorial races hamstrung by tying them to presidential election years?


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serryjw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I feel the same way about House races
every 2 year is silly. We prevent any serious candiate from running unless he can raise millions.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. BUT, we guarantee the PEOPLE can be heard and change the course
if it is deemed necessary.

Unfortunately, the people either didn't deem it necessary in 2002 or 2004 or their votes were ignored.
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serryjw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. IF that was the case we would have
Edited on Sat Jan-14-06 07:06 PM by serryjw
MORE Congresspeople.

quote......
Each state has a number of Representatives proportionate to the population of that state. Each state has at least one Representative, even if its population would not warrant one. The Constitution does not set a per-Representative ratio (except for the House's sessions up until the first census was taken), nor does it set a maximum limit to the number of Representatives. This number has been fixed by law, however, at 435. This number was set in 1911, and in current law, does not change even upon admission of new states (though the number can temporarily increase to accommodate new states until the next census). These 435 seats are divided among the states every ten years, following the Constitutionally-mandated decennial census
end quote.....
http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_govt.html
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Pryderi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. Then he's a "lame duck" for 5 of the 6 years.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
3. the GOP is the one that got the amendment passed, you know
they were so mad that FDR got 4 terms they worked on getting it in the Constitution that a President can only serve a given length of time. Frankly, since then, they've regretted it.

Right now, I feel that we need to address the real danger inherent in crooked/fixed elections before we worry about term limits.
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boobooday Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 05:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. One man can't be that important, and that powerful
For that long.

I don't think.

One person can't be that absolutely critical in the running of a democracy -- it's kind of antithetical to the whole idea.

It should be about the party, and the party platform, not the individual.
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firefox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Nobody should be able to cast a long shadow.
There are too many people and it is only one job. Two terms is plenty. Even if existing limits were a problem, it would be the least of our problems.
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rpgamerd00d Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
6. I disagree 100%. In fact, I think exactly the opposite.
As a comedian once said,

"I think that being President should be just like Jury Duty. You know, you get a letter in the mail and its like 'You have been chosen to be President this month', and you're like 'OH MAN, this sucks! Maybe I can pretend to be racist to get out of it.' And then you're like, 'Nah, that wouldn't work, then they'd just think I was Bush.'"

2 Year Terms. Keep the current max of 10 years. So, 5 terms max.
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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. What about FDR then?
Do you think he shouldn't have been elected to a third term or a fourth term? Was it good for the country for us to be able to elect him 4 times? If it was good for the country in those times, what's to say there won't be a time when we'll need that kind of leadership again?
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Faux pas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
9. Because, no one person should have too much
power for too long. If they could or did, we might as well just go back to having Kings, Queens and Emperors. Sheesh!
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T Town Jake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-14-06 07:31 PM
Response to Original message
15. Agreed. I think the voters should be able to elect who they want...
...for as long as they want. "Term limits" basically say the voters are children who need to be supervised.

OTOH, there should be vigorous protections enacted to guarantee a fair election process, and non-partisan congressional redistricting to eliminate gerrymandering.
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