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End Presidential Term Limits?

Ex-Presidents Oval Office

New York University History Professor Jonathan Zimmerman argues in an Op-Ed at The Washington Post that we ought to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which since its ratification in 1951 has served to limit the time that one person can serve as President:

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.

One thing worth noting off the top about these discussions about repealing the 22nd Amendment is that it strikes me as unlikely that any such effort could succeed in today’s political environment unless it explicitly provided that it would not apply to the person currently sitting in the White House. Given the requirements for a 2/3 vote in Congress and the support of 3/4 of the states, it’s simply not practical to believe that you’d get bipartisan support for something that could potentially keep Barack Obama in office another four years, or longer, after 2017. The same would be true if the President were a Republican. Therefore, I’d expect that a repeal Amendment would only succeed if it included language providing that it does not apply to person serving as President at the time it’s ratified, much like the 22nd Amendment has language that provided it would not apply to whomever was in office when it was ratified. That would alleviate concerns of those on the right like Stephen Green about a third Obama term.

That said, repealing the 22nd Amendment isn’t a new idea, of course. In the opening years of President Reagan’s second term, some Republicans expressed the wish that The Gipper could run for a third term when 1988 rolled around. Notwithstanding the Lewinsky scandal, there was talk late in Bill Clinton’s second term along the same lines. Even some George W. Bush fans talked about it as the 43rd President began his second term, but that talk quickly faded as Bush’s popularity began to sink over dissatisfaction regarding the Iraq War and, later, the financial crisis that gripped his last year in office. In the end, though, that has all been talk. At no point during the 62 years it has been part of the Constitution has there been any serious movement in Congress or the states to repeal the Amendment, and sitting Presidents have mostly stayed out of the discussion, mostly no doubt to avoid being seen as someone desiring to hold on to power. There has been a single Congressman, Jose Serrano a Democrat out of New York City, who has introduced a bill to repeal the Amendment at the start of every new Congress starting in 1997 but it has always died with no action being taken after being referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Historically, of course, the United States effectively had a two-term limit on Presidents going all the way back to George Washington, who stepped aside after his Second Term ended in 1797, establishing a custom that soon became common place. It wasn’t until the 20th Century that anyone dared challenge that custom. That came in 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt, who had been out of office only four years, ran for the what would have been a non-consecutive third term in the Election of 1912, but only succeeded in splitting enough of the Anti-Wilson vote to put Woodrow Wilson in the White House. In 1920, Wilson himself attempted to maneuver the Democratic convention in such a way that delegates would potentially turn to him to run again even though he was seriously incapacitated, something that was not known either to most Democrats or to the nation as a whole. Additionally, there was some talk in the run up to that 1920 election about the GOP turning to TR, but his death in January 1919 precluded that from happening. It wasn’t until 1940, amid an ongoing economic depression and escalating crisis in Europe that a President successfully ran for a third term, and then a fourth in 1944, although as with Wilson few people knew just how ill Franklin Roosevelt was by the time he ran for a fourth term in office. Even with the 22nd Amendment, Harry Truman could have run for another full term in 1952 but he ended up withdrawing after performing poorly in the New Hampshire Primary, just like Lyndon Johnson would sixteen years later amid the Vietnam War.

Since then, it’s hard to say which Presidents would have had a realistic shot at a third term had the Amendment not existed. Eisenhower remained relatively popular at the end of his Second Term, but he had experienced several health issues during that term that might have precluded him from running even though he did remain relatively healthy until his death in March 1969. Perhaps both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton might have been successful had they sought a third term, although its worth noting that Reagan in particular was likely experiencing early symptoms of the Alzheimer’s that would be revealed to the world in 1994 and that Clinton experienced heart issues requiring bypass surgery during what would have been the final year of a third term had he been re-elected in 2004. So, perhaps, neither of these men would have stood for reelection a third time, although I honestly couldn’t see Bill Clinton turning down the opportunity had it presented itself.

All that said, I’ve got to say that Zimmerman doesn’t make a particularly strong case for repeal of the Amendment. He repeats the standard general arguments against Term Limits that we’ve heard for quite a long time now, and goes on to argue that, paradoxically, that the inability to run again in 2016 both increases and decreases Presidential power. In the end, though, it seems clear to me that eight years, or ten years in the case of a Vice-President who succeeds to the Presidency within no more than two years of the end of President’s term, is more than enough time for any one man or woman to serve in the highest office in the land. Indeed, given the extent to which recent Presidents have tended to gather more and more power into the hands of the Executive Branch that is then utilized by their successors, it is perhaps a good thing for the nation that no one person can serve for more than two terms. Indeed, I’ve come to believe that the concept of term limits should be expanded beyond the Presidency and into the House and Senate, but that is a topic for another day.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    I would actually prefer to see one six year term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. superdestroyer says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    That makes the president a lame duck from day one. Look at the issues Virginia has had because the governor is limted to a single term.

    What has been odd about President Obama is that he did not seem interested in developing someone who would be an heir apparent and would represent the third Obama Administraiton term. It now looks like the Democrats are more interested in a third Clinton Administration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Zimmerman is Exactly wrong…instead invoke term limits on Congress and the Courts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  4. Tony W says:

    I’m with Ron. A single term means that the president is free to lead, unencumbered with his/her own reelection concerns – and those of the opposing party who lose the argument that things are done to improve the chances of another term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  5. JKB says:

    From your brief history, it seems outside of TR, the hope for more than two terms is driven more by the minions hoping to retain power with a figure head.

    One thing that keeps the military agile is the turn over of command. Command is 24/7/365. One starts, corrects deficiencies, imposes a change of direction, introduces new life, then, in a very short time, you and yours have a vested interest so the agility wanes. Then a new guy takes over.

    And what about hope and change? Is it to become despair and stasis?

    Presuming no world war to reinvigorate the old and busted, 8 years seems to be 2 years to long

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  6. Todd says:

    Just in recent history, I’ve sometimes thought about how different the world today would be if Bill Clinton had still be President on September 11th 2001. First, would the attack have even happened? … and if it did, how different would the response have been?

    I’m going to be the contrarian (so far) in this thread.

    I think the 22nd is one of the more ill-conceived amendments to our Constitution.

    … and term-limits for Congress would be an equally bad idea. Unless there were also some way to impose term-limits on congressional staffers, all term-limits would do is move the real decision makers further into the shadows, and out of the public’s eye.

    We spend so much time and energy trying to come up with antidotes to the fact that once in office, it’s so difficult to get some of our politicians out. The problem is obvious: too few people actually vote. Therefore the solution is also obvious: compulsory voting (such as Australia has). Make our elected officials accountable to the entire electorate, not just those voters who are most motivated to be for or against them.

    All that being said, I do agree that repeal of the 22nd Amendment (or compulsory voting) is unlikely to happen any time soon. And in the case of modern day Presidents, I have serious doubts that many of the them would actually want to serve a 3rd term. I don’t know if anybody else noticed it in the same way, but I always got the impression during his final 6-12 months in office that George W. Bush almost seemed relieved to finally be done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  7. C. Clavin says:

    @superdestroyer:

    What has been odd about President Obama is that he did not seem interested in developing someone who would be an heir apparent

    Odd? Name all the other Presidents and their Heir Apparents.
    As usual you are full of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  8. @Ron Beasley:

    Given how the whole single term thing has worked here in Virginia, I’m not sure I’d agree

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Al Gore Jr for President Clinton. GHWBush for Reagan. Mondale even for Carter. You could even argued the JFK planned on being replaced with RFK.

    Also, look at the number of Democrats who worked in the Clinton White House are now sitting in elected office. I have not seen the Obama Administraiton trying to produce a long term legacy. One could argued that one of the problem of the Bush Clan is that they were not interested in developing any talent that was outside the Bush Clan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. superdestroyer says:

    @Todd:

    Mandatory voting would not only make things easier for incumbent but it would move the U.S. closer to being a one party state than is occurring. Forcing the least informed, least intentive voters to vote would just mean that incumbent Democrats would be impossible to beat.

    If you really wanted to change government, get rid of the seniority rules in the House and Senate. Remember when the Democrats regained control of the Senate in January 200y and the committee chairmen were many of the same people (Byrd, Kennedy) who were chairmen in 1994. What is the point of voting in the a one party state if someone like Carl Levin has been in the senate for decades and will remain chairman of a committee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Zimmerman is Exactly wrong…instead invoke term limits on Congress and the Courts.

    I’ve thought about reasonable changes to Congress, and I’d change House terms from 2 years to to 4 years. Then with respect to term limits, I’d propose (1) to limit senators to to three 6-year terms, and (2) Representatives to four 4-year terms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  12. de stijl says:

    @JKB:

    One thing that keeps the military agile is the turn over of command.

    “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

    Military “agility” has zip to do with a new CIC every 4 or 8 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  13. Todd says:

    @superdestroyer:

    If you really wanted to change government, get rid of the seniority rules in the House and Senate. Remember when the Democrats regained control of the Senate in January 200y and the committee chairmen were many of the same people

    I think that seniority is a good thing, and the people who’ve been in the institution the longest should be the chairmen. In some ways, I’m probably more conservative (with a small “c”) than some of you who’s politics openly tilt to the right.

    As for this …

    Forcing the least informed, least intentive voters to vote would just mean that incumbent Democrats would be impossible to beat

    I do agree that at least in the short term, mandatory voting would probably benefit Democrats (doubt that would persist for more than a cycle or two though). But I’m not so sure about the idea that those who don’t currently vote are necessarily the “least informed”. A quick perusal of just about any politically themed website reveals that there are vast numbers of people who seem to be very “intentive” when it comes to the subject of politics, but are none-the-less not terribly well informed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. de stijl says:

    @al-Ameda:

    I’m predisposed to not like term limit proposals because I believe most of the state level restrictions currently in-place (and federal level proposals) place way too much power in the hands of unelected staffers, but your proposal of

    (1) to limit senators to to three 6-year terms, and (2) Representatives to four 4-year terms.

    is of a long enough potential time period that my usual issues fade away to a great extent. My first instinct is not to mess with it, but I wouldn’t object very hard if your scheme became law.

    Though, politically, passing a new amendment ain’t gonna happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. MM2 says:

    While I think that rescinding term limits is an impossibility at this point, and there are concerns about letting an incumbent stay in office for years and years (look at some of the senators who have been physically and mentally unable to perform their duties), I don’t think wild-eyed conspiracy theories from the likes of Stephen Green ought to be considered valid reasons to change the language. Change it to make the case that this is about voter choice, not the current incumbent, sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Hal_10000 says:

    It’s funny how these “we should get rid of the 22nd amendment” arguments surface whenever the writer’s preferred party is in charge and disappear once the other party is. Half the conservatives blasting Zimmerman were, six years ago, saying, “Boy, it would sure be nice if Bush could have a third term.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  17. superdestroyer says:

    @Todd:

    Senior just means that voting is just about totally irrelevant. No matter how many people turn out to vote in a red state, they cannot vote someone like Carl Levin out of office in Michigan. Senior just rewards voters to return the incumbents to office. Do you really want more elections where someone like Jesse Jackson Jr. was re-elected in Nov 2012 with ovetr 70% of the vote even though he was being treated for mental illness and was under indictment?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  18. de stijl says:

    @Todd:

    I’m probably more conservative (with a small “c”) than some of you who’s politics openly tilt to the right.

    I think it’s pretty funny that right now in America those folks who call themselves “Conservatives” are generally radical, and those who call themselves “Liberals” are little-c conservative.

    Moreover, people are not aware that this is true.

    Maybe if we went with Reactionary and Establishmentarian as the party names things would make more sense. I don’t think the Rs or Ds would go with that language change, though.

    We have one party that is dead set against anything that even smacks of liberalization and and one party that wouldn’t mind that, if you all get together and agree, that maybe it wouldn’t be a totally horrible idea to see what would happen if we opened things up just a little bit. We can go back if you hate it. #PleaseDon’tCallMeUnamerican #SupportIraqWarOrTheyllCallUsPussiesForever

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  19. Pinky says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Also, look at the number of Democrats who worked in the Clinton White House are now sitting in elected office. I have not seen the Obama Administraiton trying to produce a long term legacy. One could argued that one of the problem of the Bush Clan is that they were not interested in developing any talent that was outside the Bush Clan.

    You’re exaclty right on this. It’s not simply about grooming a presidential successor. It’s about filling the Cabinet with rising stars, and working with the House, Senate, and governors to boost the party. And presidents have been falling short on this lately. That’s one of the reasons that we’ve got such lousy leadership in Congress.

    It was, I think, Clinton who lost sight of this. He pushed the whole “Cabinet that looks like America” thing and didn’t bring in people whose careers were on the rise, or people whose careers he could put on the rise. Cuomo, Gore, and that’s about it. At least he did campaign for his party’s candidates, though. Bush II got comfortable with one primary advisor, and I think he enjoyed knowing that Cheney wasn’t trying to position himself for future office, so he didn’t have to worry about divided loyalty. By 2006 and 2008, people didn’t want him campaigning with them. Now, Obama has taken it a step further. No real breakout stars in his Cabinet, and he’s largely disengaged with Congress. He’s leaving a vacuum.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. Woody says:

    @Pinky:

    You know, part of this might stem from the rising stars themselves. It’s probably much safer to build one’s own brand that is tangentially attached to a party rather than be cast as “more of the same”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. ernieyeball says:

    The problem is obvious: too few people actually vote. Therefore the solution is also obvious: compulsory voting (such as Australia has).

    Here we go again. All USA Citizens shall vote in all elections or be punished! This will cure all that ails the American political system. The Federal Government, the State Governments and all the Little Governments from New York City (pop. 8,300,000) to the Unity Point School District #140 in Makanda Township Illinois (pop. 4353) will have to pass laws that force their Citizens to cast a ballot in every election or be punished. Including the political party primaries that determine candidates for office.
    My first question is what sanctions will pressed on Citizens who refuse to be coerced by such intimidation? Fines? Imprisonment?
    Second question?. Will the punishment for not voting in the Presidential contest be equal to the punishment for not voting for the Mayor of Quinter Kansas?
    Third. Will we fill the County Jails with Jehovah’s Witnesses after every election day or shall we give them a pass and not force them to cast ballots in violation of their religious beliefs?
    Of course if they are exempted I can be too since voting violates the tenents of my religion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  22. Todd says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Reading about the Australian system, the fines are apparently relatively small (like $20) … but it’s enough that they have substantially more participation than many other countries. To me, the main benefit would be that we’d change from our current system where some factions seek to do everything they can to discourage (some) people from going to the polls, to one where it would be the law that they’d have to make it as easy as possible for everyone to vote.

    If everybody has to vote anyway, there’d be no real advantage for partisan election officials to try to make it harder for some, than it is for others.

    Elections shouldn’t be won or lost by “exciting the base” or “depressing” the other side’s turnout.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. Instead of ending presidential term limits, we need to enact congressional term limits, along the lines of no more that, say, 4 terms for Reps and 2 for Senators.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  24. ernieyeball says:

    @Todd: I don’t care what they do in Australia. I live in the United States of America.
    So this is what we base our laws on? They do it in some other country so it’s a great idea!
    Why don’t we apply this thinking to our DUI laws.
    How about public lashing? They do it in Saudi Arabia to drunk drivers. That sounds effective. Why don’t we do it here?
    This will have to apply to all elections in all juristictions won’t it? Including the Republican and Democrat Party primaries. Just how is that going to work?
    I’m still waiting to hear what would happen if I don’t vote and refuse to pay the fine?
    Will certain religions be exempt? Who will determine this? Some government board of approved religions?

    Elections shouldn’t be won or lost by “exciting the base”…

    If getting out the vote is not “exciting the base” I don’t know what is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  25. Todd says:

    @ernieyeball:

    I think you’re being a little hyperbolic.

    I’m looking at this as more of a burden to Secretaries of State than necessarily to voters themselves. if registering to vote is compulsory, then it stands to reason that States will be obligatd to make registering (and voting) as easy as possible.

    I don’t care what they do in _____. I live in the United States of America.
    So this is what we base our laws on? They do it in some other country so it’s a great idea!

    A great many of our country’s current problems can probably be attributed to exactly that attitude.

    On a lighter note:

    Why don’t we apply this thinking to our DUI laws.
    How about public lashing? They do it in Saudi Arabia to drunk drivers. That sounds effective. Why don’t we do it here?

    You picked the wrong example. I despise drunk drivers (and I can honestly say that at 44 years old I have never driven drunk in my life). So I can (without hypocrisy) say that public lashing for drunk drivers sounds like a dandy idea to me :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  26. Franklin says:

    I’m with those who would rather add term limits to everything else. Aside from the other arguments, I don’t like the fact that incumbents have such a massive but unnatural advantage in both money and name-recognition.

    However, I believe term limits should only be to limit *consecutive* terms. That way, you can compare the person to his or her successor, who would then be on somewhat equal footing for the future campaign.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  27. superdestroyer says:

    @Todd:

    If everyone is voting, there will probably be little partisanship in the elections. Most elections will just be like Chicago city politics where the clouts and establishment decide who will gets to have the (D) next to their name and thus, who will win.

    Since the U.S. will soon be a one party state, there will not longer be much interest in partisan elections and be no point to getting excited about who is eligible to vote or not. What is odd is how progressives get excited about measures to limit voter fraud but never think about how few competitive elections most people vote in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  28. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Do you really want more elections where someone like Jesse Jackson Jr. was re-elected in Nov 2012 with ovetr 70% of the vote even though he was being treated for mental illness and was under indictment?

    I understand your point, however in Minnesota, voters continue to re-elect Michele Bachmann and she probably should be treated for some kind of mental illness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  29. Tyrell says:

    A third term is preposterous. I can’t think of one president in my lifetime whose second term did not turn into a disaster. Only Truman should have been re-elected. Carter was a fine Christian man, but faced several problems including a phony gas “shortage” and the Iranian disaster which gave people an image of the US being pushed around by radicals. President Obama can not afford any more glitches, scandals, fumbles, disasters, fiascos, or errors in “judgement”. He might as well go on an extended farewell tour of Manchuria, Outer Mongolia, Transylvania, East Germany, and Timbuktu. Or the Democrats will have as much chance in 2014/2016 as a large Coke does in New York City or an honest election does in Chicago.
    “The night they drove old Dixie down…Rachel come quick, there goes Robert E. Lee” (Baez)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  30. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Franklin: Since you brought it up, I read an article in The New Republic many years ago where the author claimed that the early constitutions or statutes of the first 15 or 20 states contained restrictions on terms. In general and early on, it seems that it was illegal to run for office in 3 consecutive elections for which one might run for office. This seems like a workable compromise to me. Another change that I would like to see is current office holders leaving the position in which they currently serve to run for President or Senator or whatever on speculation. Put some skin in the game guys.

    As to Todd’s proposal–frankly, I think that paying $20 or so for the privilege of not voting for the yahoos we have running for office in my state (and nationally) seems reasonable. Of course, in my case, I’m pretty well disenfranchised anyway. My state’s laws provide that absentee ballots can be sent out by regular mail even to foreign countries–2 days to 8 weeks in Korea and must be delivered back to the capital before election day in order to be counted.

    Did I mention that half of the mail that people report sending gets returned to them as undeliverable?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. Kylopod says:

    It wasn’t until the 20th Century that anyone dared challenge that custom.

    Ulysses Grant sought a third (nonconsecutive) term in 1880, though he wasn’t nominated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. ernieyeball says:

    hyperbole: exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

    I mean to be taken literally when I ask what punishments are to be meted out to violators of these new Federal, State and local statues that will force citizens to the polls in all elections. Are these to be civil transgressions or criminal acts?
    I think it is reasonable to consider if citizens will be forced to vote or be punished regardless of their religious beliefs.
    If it is hyperbole to ask how the several governments will compel citizens to cast ballots in the primary elections of political parties they may not want to support, I stand accused.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  33. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Bachman won with 50.5% of the vote. Not exactly the same thing as Jesse jackson Jr being elected in 2012 with 71% of the vote even though he has been committed and was under indictment.

    Why do so many progressives want more elections like Jesse Jackson Jr and fewer elections like Michelle Bachman?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  34. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Why do so many progressives want more elections like Jesse Jackson Jr and fewer elections like Michelle Bachman?

    You know, it’s always a good time for another “are you still beating your wife?” question.

    Actually, I want fewer elections that result in victories for people like, say Michele Bachmann, Ted Cruz, Reps. Larry Buschon (R-IN), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), David Roe (R-TN), Randy Weber (R-TX), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), Roger Williams (R-TX), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Bill Flores (R-TX), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Sam Johnson (R-TX), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Mike Conaway (R-TX), Thomas Massie (R-KY), or any number of other House Republicans.

    And I don’t care what the margin of defeat is for those people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  35. Tony W says:

    @Tyrell:

    A third term is preposterous. I can’t think of one president in my lifetime….

    Each of those presidents you cite spent (or are spending) their second term knowing they cannot stand for reelection. Under the proposal to add a third term, this would not be the case – by definition.

    But let’s take your argument on its face. Do you mean to imply we’d get two productive terms and one rife with scandal and controversy? Or if we went to a single term would they all be that way? What blame/credit does the opposition party get?

    BTW: I noticed that you forgot to mention Iran Contra in your “Carter == Obama” attempt – just an oversight?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. Paul Hooson says:

    I wish they would have eliminated term limits during the Clinton Administration. Regardless of Monica-gate, he was still the best president of my lifetime. I would have voted for him for president for life. The country was better off to quit when it was ahead and skip Bush & Obama…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  37. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Once again, thank you for admitting that you want a one party state where only one party can determine policy or governance. It is amazing that progressives who claim they are super intelligent and motivated by data just want representatives like Jesse Jackson Jr because they will automatically vote for bigger government, higher taxes, more social engineering, and more ethnic/racial set asides.

    It is amazing that progressives want to determine exactly what people can go with their lives and want the government to treat ethnicity/race/gender as the most important issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  38. superdestroyer says:

    @Paul Hooson:

    Of course, what progressives refuse to admit that one of the keys to the Clinton Administration being the closest the U.S. has ever gotten to havng a libertarian president is that Clinton threw the congressional Democrats under the bus and made deals with the Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  39. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Once again, thank you for admitting that you want a one party state where only one party can determine policy or governance. It is amazing that progressives who claim they are super intelligent and motivated by data just want representatives like Jesse Jackson Jr because they will automatically vote for bigger government, higher taxes, more social engineering, and more ethnic/racial set asides.

    Once again, thank you for extrapolating my comments into a theater of the absurd exercise. Nobody does it better.

    I’ll save you the time and pose the question that you REALLY want to ask me:
    (Me as) superdestroyer: “You’re a typical progressive, so, in a Democratic primary, would you vote for Hitler or Hugo Chavez?”
    (Me as) al-Ameda: “well my first choice is always William Ayres, however, since he’s not a candidate this time I guess I’ll vote Independent this time.”

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  40. wr says:

    @Tyrell: ““The night they drove old Dixie down…Rachel come quick, there goes Robert E. Lee” (Baez) ”

    I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy the new and fresh ways you keep coming up with to be wrong on just about everything. But this is over the line. I know that Joan Baez has a lovely voice, and she has used it in the service of great causes over the years, but she did not write “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” It was written by Robbie Robertson and performed by The Band (lead vocal: Levon Helm) and first appeared on their album The Band in 1969.

    If you don’t know this album, you need to check it out now.

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  41. Grewgills says:

    @ernieyeball:

    I don’t care what they do in Australia. I live in the United States of America.
    So this is what we base our laws on? They do it in some other country so it’s a great idea!
    Why don’t we apply this thinking to our DUI laws.
    How about public lashing? They do it in Saudi Arabia to drunk drivers. That sounds effective. Why don’t we do it here?

    Because Saudi Arabia is exactly like Australia and looking at things that have worked in other Western democracies is exactly like taking cues from religious tyrannies.

    I mean to be taken literally when I ask what punishments are to be meted out to violators of these new Federal, State and local statues that will force citizens to the polls in all elections.

    Todd answered that and I see you had no response other than to double down.

    If it is hyperbole to ask how the several governments will compel citizens to cast ballots in the primary elections of political parties they may not want to support, I stand accused.

    It is hyperbole to compare a $20 dollar fine for failing to participate in national elections, probably built as a tax, to public lashings. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

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  42. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:

    If everyone is voting, there will probably be little partisanship in the elections. Most elections will just be like Chicago city politics where the clouts and establishment decide who will gets to have the (D) next to their name and thus, who will win.

    Yep, compulsory voting will immediately turn all of the SouthEast and MidWest blue. You are brilliant!

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  43. Grewgills says:

    @Tyrell:

    I can’t think of one president in my lifetime whose second term did not turn into a disaster.

    All of the two term presidents I was alive to remember* were better in their second terms than their first.

    * Reagan, Clinton and GWB are the ones I was politically awake for. It’s too early to tell on Obama

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  44. superdestroyer says:

    @Grewgills:

    It would probably turn Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia blue along with making Virginia and Florida deep blue. And if those states turn blue, the U.S. is a de facto one party state.

    Virtually every voting change proposed by the Democrats is designed to turn the U.S. into a one party state and make elections irrelevant. The real question is why are progressives so excited about national politics a game for clouts and insiders?

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  45. Todd says:

    @superdestroyer:

    It would probably turn Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia blue along with making Virginia and Florida deep blue.

    So basically what you’re saying is that if all citizens (including those with darker skin) voted, the Democrats would probably win. So if you’re a white southern Conservative, it’s perfectly logically to do everything you can to ensure that as few of the “wrong” type of people as possible come out to vote.

    I actually understand (without necessarily agreeing with) those who are genuinely fearful of a more liberal government in the government in the future. But the correct way to address that fear is to try to convince more people that the Conservative vision is the right path to follow … not trying to prevent those who currently believe differently from voting.

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  46. Todd says:

    @ernieyeball:

    I think it is reasonable to consider if citizens will be forced to vote or be punished regardless of their religious beliefs.

    I don’t believe that anybody would be “forced” to vote. As I said, just from a cursory reading of how they do it in Australia, it’s estimated that possibly as many as 10% of citizens still fail to register, and some portion of them pay a small fine. I’m not sure if countries who currently have compulsory voting provide a religious exemption, but I personally wouldn’t be at all opposed to that. Again, to me, “compulsory” voting wouldn’t be about compelling citizens to vote, so much as changing this ridiculous attitude that some currently have that it’s “ok” to try to discourage some citizens from even going to the polls.

    If it is hyperbole to ask how the several governments will compel citizens to cast ballots in the primary elections of political parties they may not want to support, I stand accused.

    As long as we’re talking about “fantasies” (which let’s be clear, I don’t think there’s any chance we’ll actually have compulsory voting), I’d get rid of all (at least public financing for) party primaries. Instead, all Federal elections would us a nonpartisan blanket primary to determine which candidates are on the general election ballot.

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  47. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Virtually every voting change proposed by the Democrats is designed to turn the U.S. into a one party state and make elections irrelevant

    Virtually every change proposed by Republicans is intended to suppress the vote of Democratic Party constituencies – why is that of no concern to you? Also, speaking of making elections irrelevant – in the case of the 2000 presidential election Republicans used Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court to wrap that one up.

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  48. superdestroyer says:

    @Todd:

    Non partisan primaries would just turn the U.S. into a one party state. One would have to beat the incumbent twice. Such a system would just give the clouts and insiders even more power since the media would have a larger influence in a system where there is limited funds for challengers. If you want many more elections of Jesse Jackson being re-elected with 70+%, then make things nonpartisan.

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  49. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    If the Republicans were really trying to limit the voting of blacks and Hispanics, then there plan has been a massive failure. The left’s push to get blacks excited about voter registration laws has caused a huge increase in the turnout of blacks. Of course, the voter ID laws may be ensuring that the Democratic voters are at least voting in the correct precinct. It has also cause a lot of people to actually think about their government issue IDs.

    Of course, the push by the left has also made progressives look like hypocrites it claiming that single payer would be great (while requiring everyone to get a government ID) and claiming that blacks and Latinos are incapable of understanding government regulations to get government issued IDs.

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  50. Steve V says:

    @Paul Hooson: I think he would’ve won pretty easily too. If I recall correctly his approval ratings had gone up pretty high toward the end of his term. Gore managed to campaign to a tie with GWB; Clinton would’ve run away with it.

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  51. ernieyeball says:

    @Grewgills: Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    Yes.

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  52. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:
    So your hypothesis seems to be that
    1. the Republican party represents maybe 25% of eligible voters to the Democrats 50%+ of eligible voters.
    2. that voting currently disproportionately represents the white male conservative base
    3. that soon this will end as more and more non white people vote, turning America into a one party state
    4. this is a bad thing
    It would follow that you think we would all be better off if these white christian males maintained strongly disproportionate representation. It seems you like to see a return to white male property owners being the only ones allowed a vote.

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  53. ernieyeball says:

    @Todd: I don’t believe that anybody would be “forced” to vote.

    No. They will just be fined if they do not go to the polls. Well I guess that’s OK. Of course if I were Amish I would like to make the decision for myself without the threat of another (federal, state and local) “tax” levied against me for abiding by my religious convictions.

    How many Amish cast ballots?
    Voting is typically not prohibited outright, and the decision to vote is left to the individual in most congregations. http://amishamerica.com/do-amish-vote/

    Did not realize “we” were talking about “your fantasies.”
    I have a fantasy too.
    Maybe our elected representatives could stop pandering to their constituents
    and start governing.

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  54. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    If the Republicans were really trying to limit the voting of blacks and Hispanics, then there plan has been a massive failure. The left’s push to get blacks excited about voter registration laws has caused a huge increase in the turnout of blacks. Of course, the voter ID laws may be ensuring that the Democratic voters are at least voting in the correct precinct. It has also cause a lot of people to actually think about their government issue IDs.

    If Republicans ACTUALLY cared about voter fraud (in-person voter fraud is statistically negligible) they would propose laws to “fix” the one place where voter fraud is actually probable – Absentee Ballots. However, as we know, Republicans won’t go anywhere near THAT, because absentee voters have tended to be conservative voters.

    If I might summarize – you prefer that voter fraud be done to the favor of conservative voters, and not to the favor of liberal voters – right?

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