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Term limits
May 29, 2003 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Guess who wants presidential term limits to be repealed... Putting aside your feelings for Bill Clinton (or Ronald Reagan for that matter), should the U.S. president be allowed to serve more than two terms?
posted by Durwood (50 comments total)

 
...because wouldn't you love to see a Bill Clinton vs. Dubya race?
posted by kgasmart at 7:45 AM on May 29, 2003


I've known for some time that I am in love with Bill Clinton.
posted by the fire you left me at 7:45 AM on May 29, 2003


No. No way. No friggin' way. Not a chance in Hell.

How'd you like to have Reagan in office for just one more term while the bastard went senile? Or how about Bush Sr., with his friggin' lying cronies and his "read my lips" bullshit?

Or how about Dubya? I don't think the economy, our freedoms, or the rest of the world can afford even two terms, never mind three, of this schmuck.

I have a better idea - term limits for Senators. Representatives have them, the President has them - it's time to get some of these racist, bigoted fools out of office.
posted by FormlessOne at 8:01 AM on May 29, 2003


Well, there's already been a motion put forward to repeal the 22nd amendment. The Republicans want W, but Clinton would take him down in a heartbeat.
posted by Birichini at 8:06 AM on May 29, 2003


...because wouldn't you love to see a Bill Clinton vs. Dubya race?

God, the prospect of the Evil Clinton beating Bush Lite and the resultant Conservative reactionary jabbering from the likes of Rush Blowhard has just made me come in my pants. (go ahead righties, insert the requisite Monica comment hear while I go clean up)
posted by ElvisJesus at 8:09 AM on May 29, 2003


Formless - please note that Clinton's proposing keeping the ban on two consecutive terms (which now would not affect him, of course), but would allow someone who's been out of office to come back for another term.
posted by soyjoy at 8:10 AM on May 29, 2003


Why I am I picturing Bubba eyeing up the new crop of interns a la Wooderson in Dazed & Confused going, "That's what I like about those interns...I get older, they stay the same age..."
posted by jonmc at 8:13 AM on May 29, 2003


So after every 4 years of Republicans in office we could have Clinton come back and set the country right again? Sounds like a good idea to me.
posted by dogmatic at 8:15 AM on May 29, 2003


I have mixed feelings about term limitations.

On the one hand, limits create lame duck administrations that can push politically impossible programs that define 'pork barrel' without fear of electoral reproach.

On the other hand, limits create lame duck administrations that can push politically hazardous programs that benefit the nation without fear of electoral reproach.
posted by Cerebus at 8:28 AM on May 29, 2003


Stop me before I vote again!

Term limits only insult the intelligence of the US voting public. As long as the US governing system can still protect the rights and interests of the minority term limits are not necessary.
posted by infowar at 8:30 AM on May 29, 2003


Whether your flavor is donkey or elephant, 8 years of any of any one asshole that manages to lie, cheat and buy their way to the most powerful position in the world is all we can take.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 8:36 AM on May 29, 2003



Term limits only insult the intelligence of the US voting public.

How do you insult something that doesn't exist?
posted by hari at 8:43 AM on May 29, 2003


Hari: I leave that to another discussion.
posted by infowar at 8:46 AM on May 29, 2003


There may come a time when we elect a president at age 45 or 50, and then 20 years later the country comes up against the same kind of problems the president faced before...

Problems like a recession, a war in Iraq, and a rich-boy conservative on the throne? If only Clinton could step in a second time...
posted by scarabic at 8:46 AM on May 29, 2003


I would like for Clinton to get elected again just to see the look of utter disgust on my father's face. Not to mention how Clinton made it fashionable to be horny.
posted by vito90 at 8:52 AM on May 29, 2003


I think since people are living much longer ... the 22nd Amendment should probably be modified to say two consecutive terms instead of two terms for a lifetime," Clinton said.

DO NOT allow more than two consecutive terms. Up here in Canada we regularly end up with arseholes that hold on to power for nearly all eternity. It does not benefit us.

But more than twice in a lifetime? Sure, I guess.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:52 AM on May 29, 2003


I have a better idea - term limits for Senators. Representatives have them, the President has them - it's time to get some of these racist, bigoted fools out of office

Actually, Representatives do not have them.

Also, it would technically be possible for Clinton, or any former prez already elected twice, to return to the White House by being elected Vice President (not proscribed by the 22nd Amendment), and then have the President resign.

The operative text of Amendment 22 says:

Section 1. 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. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
posted by beagle at 8:58 AM on May 29, 2003


Or how about Bush Sr., with his friggin' lying cronies and his "read my lips" bullshit?

Given the Bush the first didn't even get elected to a second term, I doubt there was ever much danger of his getting a third.
posted by kayjay at 9:08 AM on May 29, 2003


(Unless you consider W's administration to be a second term by proxy for B1.)
posted by kayjay at 9:09 AM on May 29, 2003


Many of us would like to get Clinton back, if only to return the country to the middle of the road (slightly left) path we were on.

But...

I think we also have to consider the reality that many Americans vote without too much knowledge of either candidate. Here in Philly we had Rizzo for years and years (I wasn't here then). Apparently the citizens were very worried about the rampant crime wave & they saw Rizzo as their answer. It didn't work. Police brutality & corruption of power became the norm. I could possibly see a similarity between rampant crime and say... terrorism. That would worry me. GWB in 2016. No fucking way. I'm praying that by the time he gets out of office, we'll have somebody in there to act as FEMA for our national disaster.
posted by password at 9:11 AM on May 29, 2003


Dear GOD NO. No one should wield power for that long.

I have a better idea - term limits for Senators. Representatives have them

No, U.S. Representatives don't, they just have to get re-elected every two years, so for most representatives (save those in the most gerrymandered districts) the practical effect is that this requirement acts as a term-limit.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:11 AM on May 29, 2003


I am with yeahyeahyeahwhoo on this one, eight years is enough no matter what way you swing. And FormlessOne, Bush Sr. only served one term... so he's still eligible for #2. As is Carter for that matter...
posted by MediaMan at 9:11 AM on May 29, 2003


Is Gerald Ford still alive? Someone please say yes!
posted by UncleFes at 9:16 AM on May 29, 2003


No no no no no and No!
I don't care WHO is in the office. It's too powerful and too fraught with corruption and the ability to sink taxpayer money into re-election campaign after re-election campaign (like using Air Force One for campaign stops). Even if it allowed for a term "off," the chances for corruption and such is just too great (setting up ways to make it easier for you to be elected again, chaning laws, etc.)

Not only that, but a president knows they will never be able to run again, and if they did, it might change the way they do things when they're a "lame duck." I love it that a president has to go back into the "real world" afterwards. No chance of ever going back.

This is one way in which I really believe the system works.
posted by aacheson at 9:24 AM on May 29, 2003


ford alive? that's long been a matter of speculation around grand rapids, mi. the concensus seems to be that he's a low-functioning, early design disney animatronic.
posted by quonsar at 9:25 AM on May 29, 2003


I think the president should have a one-time-only, six-year term.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:28 AM on May 29, 2003


"should the U.S. president be allowed to serve more than two terms?" - No, not generally. Except for Bill Clinton. He's special.
posted by troutfishing at 9:36 AM on May 29, 2003


I think I'm against it. The twenty-second amendment says "no person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice" -- which means Bush could serve two more terms. Let's not add to our troubles.
posted by uosuaq at 10:04 AM on May 29, 2003


Lets set a one-term limit... just temporarily... until after next November.
posted by Turd Ferguson at 10:12 AM on May 29, 2003


Yeah, you're right. Democracy doesn't work. There's no way the people should be allowed to decide who the next president is (if they want the current one to stay).

Of course they should be allowed to serve more than two terms, but only, and only if they are elected by a clear majority. (No dictators please).
posted by blue_beetle at 10:12 AM on May 29, 2003


Also, it would technically be possible for Clinton, or any former prez already elected twice, to return to the White House by being elected Vice President (not proscribed by the 22nd Amendment), and then have the President resign.

Not so. It doesn't mention the VP because it doesn't need to -- the qualifications for VP are defined to be the same as those for president. If you can't be Prez, you can't be VP either.

I suppose it might be theoretically possible to get yourself elected as Speaker of the House (which, technically, doesn't even require you to be a Representative) and then kill the people above you in the line of succession. But I imagine that the law defining the line of succession rules out people who would be unable to be elected to the office anyway.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:22 AM on May 29, 2003


Comrade Stalin ALWAYS won by a clear majority.

I would, in fact, vote for Bill Clinton again, even though he is not liberal enough, but the idea of repealing the 22nd Amendment just seems bad. Used to be you could count on politicians to respect traditions, do two terms, and retire politely, but I just have this vision of a revolving door at the White House between Dubya and Al Gore for the next twenty years.
posted by briank at 10:23 AM on May 29, 2003


Clinton wasn't saying the 22nd amendment should be changed so he can be President again. He quite clearly stated that he did not intend that effect, ex-post-facto and all that. He wants the amendment...amended...for future POTUSES (POTII?). Doesn't anyone read The Note?
posted by jbrjake at 10:25 AM on May 29, 2003


...because wouldn't you love to see a Bill Clinton vs. Dubya race?

And return to a national nightmare of peace and prosperity?! Never!

Doesn't anyone read The Note?

No.
posted by homunculus at 11:01 AM on May 29, 2003


If Bush 2 could fix the elections without even being Pres yet, there's no doubt he can do it with great ease AS President. 8 years is quite long enough, thank you.
posted by Espoo2 at 11:05 AM on May 29, 2003


Clinton wasn't saying the 22nd amendment should be changed so he can be President again.

I'm definitely going to have to call bullshit on that one. Clinton wants power, and I'm sure he'll get some back when Billary runs for president in 2008.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:08 AM on May 29, 2003


Clinton said he expected that by the time such legislation had passed etc he would be out of the running. Perhaps, then, he is thinking in terms of his wife's future?

I see nothing wrong with a candidate coming back after being out of office. After all, he will be running on his record, for better or worse, and the public can have something solid to base a decision on.
posted by Postroad at 11:09 AM on May 29, 2003


This is a bad idea, postulated by those who:

(a) are dissatisfied with the current administration, for whatever reason;
(b) long for the good old days of Democratic party hegemony;
(c) think they'd like Hillary to be our new monarch.

One has to wonder why, if two terms takes so much out of them (as they obviously do, based on how much presidents age in office), someone would want additional ones. Everyone's entitled to have their opinion. That said, don't screw around with my constitution - cooler, more dispassionate heads than yours decided this was a bad a idea, the howling rabble be damned. Best to have a changing of the guard - Moderation in all things, people.
posted by Pressed Rat at 11:10 AM on May 29, 2003


It appears that only one person has even remotely touched on the issue of first amendment rights (and they did it sarcastically). If the PEOPLE want someone to be their president, then the people should have the right to elect anyone they wish, and as often as they like. If a POTUS is a crook and a liar then the people will vote him or her (hopefully) out of office.

The current administration has already proven that it doesn't take more than 8 years to piss away trillions of dollars in surpluses, and take away civil liberties. Of course they probably see it as a good time-saving management technique ;)

Rescind the 22nd Amendment NOW!
posted by terrapin at 12:15 PM on May 29, 2003


A bit more on whether Clinton or any other 2-term prez could become president again via the vice-presidency, ROU_xenophobe's reasoning is not a slam dunk.

This route was seriously proposed in 2000, specifically for Clinton, by Michael Dorf, a well-known constitutional scholar.

The counterargument is given, and Dorf's column can be reached, via this link.
posted by beagle at 12:18 PM on May 29, 2003


If the PEOPLE want someone to be their president, then the people should have the right to elect anyone they wish

Nice encapsulation of the fatal flaw of democracy.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:31 PM on May 29, 2003


What Cerebus said; what Xenophobe said as well. The other requirements for the office preclude a VP backdoor. But also what insomnyuk said: Bill was clearly at his best tongue-in-cheek when he said Perhaps if the country were to face the same problems as before...

But regarding the term limits question for Congress: the Constitution imposes no term limits for either house, but individual states have enacted them; the constitutionality of these laws remains somewhat in doubt. There hasn't been a good test case, though the 1995 Thornton decision eliminated many key arguments. Most recently, Cook decision struck down a term-limits related Missouri law, yet upheld a prior three-part test that time, place, and manner regulations of elections are valid if they are content-neutral, narrowly-tailored to address a significant government issue, and provide alternative means for communication of the information.

The bottom line, for me, is that term limits are anti-democratic, in that they prevent people from voting for someone they might otherwise choose to. Thus I've opposed them, including the 22nd amendment, for a number of years. Either you trust the people, or not at all.

But then, Bill would make one hell of an entertaining First Husband. He's quite missable that way.
posted by dhartung at 12:38 PM on May 29, 2003


I say Down with the Presidency!!!

Up with the Philosopher King!
posted by kaibutsu at 7:59 PM on May 29, 2003



The bottom line, for me, is that term limits are anti-democratic, in that they prevent people from voting for someone they might otherwise choose to.


Sure, but the whole Bill of Rights is anti-democratic. Should the people be allowed to ban flag-burning, if they so choose? How about establishing an official state religion?

Not that there aren't any adverse consequences to term limits; I just don't think the fact that they're anti-democratic is a compelling argument against them.

Long Beach, in Southern California, has stuck an interesting compromise: a termed out official cannot appear on the ballot, but is otherwise free to run a write-in campaign. Voters can elect who they want, but they really have to want it. The current mayor of Long Beach was elected in this fashion.
posted by electro at 9:20 PM on May 29, 2003


Dh, hear hear.

The problem of course, is with our campaign financing system. If everyone had the same opportunity to be heard on the merits rather than our present situation where challengers have a much smaller bullhorn with which to address the people (this is actually less true of presidential elections than of congressional ones because parties never write off the White House the way they write off House seats) then term limits would be irrelevant (since the best person would win, BTW there's this bridge I'd like you to buy)
posted by Octaviuz at 9:42 PM on May 29, 2003


Pressed Rat: "That said, don't screw around with my constitution - cooler, more dispassionate heads than yours decided this was a bad a idea, the howling rabble be damned."

Is that true? The mythology floating around in my brain suggests that the 22nd amendment adopted when a Republican wave swept America in reaction against the four-term election of FDR. Since I'm too damn lazy to look it up, I think I'll run with that. I think the cooler, more dispassionate heads are still waiting to be heard.

I'm with Dhartung on this one.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:13 PM on May 29, 2003


No myth. Roosevelt died in 1945. Within weeks of assuming control of both houses of Congress in 1947, Republicans decided enough was enough. The House passed a constitutional amendment that limited presidents to two terms. One month later, the Senate followed. In each house, the GOP vote was unanimous. On March 24, 1947, Congress sent the amendment to the states for ratification. It wasn't until Feb. 27, 1951 – nearly four years later – that the 22nd Amendment became part of the Constitution.

Ironically, while the amendment was seen as a GOP move against a deceased Democratic president, so far the impact has been greater on Republicans. Two Republican presidents, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, fell subject to the 22nd Amendment in 1961 and 1989 respectively. And Richard Nixon would also have been a victim of the amendment in 1977, had he survived Watergate.

Fifty years after the amendment's passage, it will finally claim its first Democrat – Bill Clinton, who must leave office in 2001.


Incidentally, I decided to test the claim that it was a Republican jab by examining the 1944 voting records of the ratifying states. In the first year, it was a mixed bag of Dewey states -- including most of his best strongholds -- and states that FDR barely won. The next year, though, a couple of the Solid South states joined the trend, and the final wave in 1951 was all over the map. There's no question that some Democrats hated FDR by the time it was over, and that some Democrats felt that an imperial presidency was bad regardless, adding some centrist support to the effort. So Republicans started it, but ratification wouldn't have been possible without some cross-aisle assistance.
posted by dhartung at 12:58 AM on May 30, 2003


The reanimated corpse of JFK would get a monster fuckload of votes, and quite possibly be a better president than Bush the Lesser, doncha think?

Either you trust the people, or not at all.

I'll take 'not trusting the people' for 400, Alex.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:34 AM on May 30, 2003


So which does the rhe righty-tighties fear most, Bill or Hillary Clinton?

One is literate and actually has an unrepressed libido while the other is a strong and successful woman, both represent something fearful to the ditto crowd. Reading the comments above about each was deja vu.
posted by nofundy at 5:36 AM on May 30, 2003


Yeah, you're right. Democracy doesn't work. There's no way the people should be allowed to decide who the next president is (if they want the current one to stay).

Of course they should be allowed to serve more than two terms, but only, and only if they are elected by a clear majority. (No dictators please).


Our democracy has a stable and dependable backbone that allows us to avoid the dangers of mob rule. Laws in general work this way: why make something illegal? can't you trust people to do the right thing? What it comes down to is that we need to make guidelines explicit to remind ourselves of how we want to behave. The constitution is like a meta-law that keeps us aware of how we want our laws to behave. Limiting terms pushes away the laziness that voters may develop after someone's been in office 15 years. Change is difficult even when it's clearly for the best, so people may not push for something they're not familiar with even if the familiar isn't making them happy.
posted by mdn at 6:24 AM on May 30, 2003


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