« | »

WP Op-Ed Calls For Giving Obama Another Term

From the op-ed pages of the Washington Post:

End presidential term limits

By Jonathan Zimmerman, Published: November 28

Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of history and education at New York University. His books include “Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory.”

(For the record, the Little Red Schoolhouse was school in New York City’s Greenwich Village, which taught hard line communism to elementary school kids.)

In 1947, Sen. Harley Kilgore (D-W.Va.) condemned a proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict presidents to two terms. “The executive’s effectiveness will be seriously impaired,” Kilgore argued on the Senate floor, “ as no one will obey and respect him if he knows that the executive cannot run again.”

I’ve been thinking about Kilgore’s comments as I watch President Obama, whose approval rating has dipped to 37 percent in CBS News polling — the lowest ever for him — during the troubled rollout of his health-care reform. 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.

And that is exactly what the framers wanted. A chief executive whom Congress would fear to cross. (Sarcasm.) You have to wonder what kind of history Prof. Zimmerman teaches.

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.

Which means he should be allowed to hold office forever.

And if the people wanted him to serve another term, why shouldn’t they be allowed to award him one?

Especially now that we are at a tipping point where even the smallest ballot stuffing can carry an election.

That was the argument of our first president, who is often held up as the father of term limits. In fact, George Washington opposed them…

Washington stepped down after two terms, establishing a pattern that would stand for more than a century. But he made clear that he was doing so because the young republic was on solid footing, not because his service should be limited in any way.

The first president to openly challenge the two-term tradition was Theodore Roosevelt, who ran for a third term as president in 1912 on the Bull Moose ticket. When he stepped down in 1908, Roosevelt pledged not to seek a third term; reminded of this promise in 1912, he said that he had meant he would not seek a “third consecutive term.” The New York Times called Roosevelt’s explanation a “pitiful sophistication,” and the voters sent Woodrow Wilson to the White House.

Only in 1940, amid what George Washington might have called a “great emergency,” did a president successfully stand for a third term. Citing the outbreak of war overseas and the Depression at home, Democrats renominated Franklin D. Roosevelt. They pegged him for a fourth time in 1944 despite his health problems, which were serious enough to send him to his grave the following year.

To Republicans, these developments echoed the fascist trends enveloping Europe. “You will be serving under an American totalitarian government before the long third term is finished,” warned Wendell Wilkie, Roosevelt’s opponent in 1940. Once the two-term tradition was broken, Wilkie added, nobody could put it back together. “If this principle dies, it will be dead forever,” he said.

That’s why the GOP moved to codify it in the Constitution in 1947, when a large Republican majority took over Congress. Ratified by the states in 1951, the 22nd Amendment was an “undisguised slap at the memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt,” wrote Clinton Rossiter, one of the era’s leading political scientists. It also reflected “a shocking lack of faith in the common sense and good judgment of the people,” Rossiter said.

He was right. Every Republican in Congress voted for the amendment, while its handful of Democratic supporters were mostly legislators who had broken with FDR and his New Deal. When they succeeded in limiting the presidency to two terms, they limited democracy itself.

“I think our people are to be safely trusted with their own destiny,” Sen. Claude Pepper (D-Fla.) argued in 1947. “We do not need to protect the American people with a prohibition against a president whom they do not wish to elect; and if they wanted to elect him, have we the right to deny them the power?”

It’s time to put that power back where it belongs. When Ronald Reagan was serving his second term, some Republicans briefly floated the idea of removing term limits so he could run again. The effort went nowhere, but it was right on principle. Barack Obama should be allowed to stand for re election just as citizens should be allowed to vote for — or against — him. Anything less diminishes our leaders and ourselves."


This article was posted by Steve on Monday, December 2nd, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “WP Op-Ed Calls For Giving Obama Another Term”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    I will go violent if that is seriously considered. Rogue guerilla.

    You will, too

  2. maquignon says:

    That is just about all we will need to start a revolution in this country. You should be tried for treason for even suggesting that such a *&^%$ LIAR be given another chance to further ruin this country.

  3. Enthalpy says:

    We’ve seen the effects of a Stalinist regime in our world. We don’t need to see another one implemented here in the United States.

  4. Petronius says:

    Well, they’ve broken every other provision of the Constitution, so why not this one?

    In for a penny, in for a pound.

    A curious line of reasoning, however: arguing for dictatorship from faith in “the common sense and good judgment of the people” (barf! Yes, with Tigellinus-Holder and his radicals in the DOJ working overtime to corrupt the voter rolls and pollute the electoral process) and doubtful historical precedents.

    Speaking of historical precedents, Nuremberg established the precedent that leaders of a nation can be held individually accountable for their government’s policies and actions, and be prosecuted at public trials as common criminals. This may include beatings and torture, Soviet-style mock trials, and the sentence of death by hanging, a form of execution normally reserved for the lowest class of criminals.

  5. bousquem25 says:

    The same idiots who want this are probably the same people who want unlimited democracy so the “people” can vote themselves all sorts of goverment programs that will be paid for through stealing the wealth of the “rich” so that they can sit on their asses and collect a goverment check. That will work great for maybe a few years until there isn’t any wealth left and the “rich” is the guy in the apartment next to you who has an extra potatoe or an extra loaf of bread.

  6. Mithrandir says:


    That democrats keep a SHARP EAR to the mood and opinion of the public, and whatever the shortcomings are, truth, lie, perception, or otherwise, they get one of their minions in the media (Wolfe Blitzer comes to mind), one of their voting bloc members, or anyone who wants to get some political points to TO SAY EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF WHATEVER NEGATIVE PERCEPTION EXISTS OUT THERE!

    Elana Kagan: “Eminently qualified!” —as the perception was that no one ever heard of her before, and she is perceived to be a lesbian affirmative action hire.

    Obama’s ratings hit rock-bottom: “He should run for a second term!”

    Bill Clinton busted: Black Entertainment Television and NAACP give awards for “honesty.”

    KKK Grand Cyclops Democrat Robert Byrd: “The Conscience of the Senate.”

    Hillary Clinton accomplishes NOTHING, period. “The most successful women in U.S. history!”

    Nancy Pelosi the most corrupt: Oh, no, she isn’t! She has been given so many titles in opposition to her corruption, people can’t possibly think it’s true.

    No no no no no people….Train your ear to what’s going on out there, and then read and listen to how fast these people in the democrat marketing office try to reverse public opinion. They are very good at this. They use a number of techniques besides blaming Bush, they have a cornucopia of tools they know works. George H.W. Bush had an 81% approval rating, but you run out there all day every day saying “12 years of Reagan Bush!” and harp on a non-existent recession, and bingo, you can reverse or change public opinion.

    The entire Obama campaign of 2008 convinced enough people Obama was something that he wasn’t, and not something you thought he was.

    Pay attention!

« Front Page | To Top
« | »