We're All Lame Ducks Now

Putin, Chávez: Ditch 22nd Amendment, curb oppressive, arbitrary term limit

From The New York Times Upfront, the magazine for teens:

The 22nd Amendment is antidemocratic. Term limits deny the nation the opportunity to re-elect successful presidents. If Americans are pleased with the performance of their chief executive, why force him out because of a fear of power? Our checks and balances system is strong enough to resist over-weening ambition.

The 22nd Amendment robs us of the most experienced people for the office. Why not let the American people decide if they want to take advantage of that service instead of risking the job on an untried leader?

The Amendment also reduces the political power of the president to unacceptable levels. The day after a president wins a second term, everyone knows he is an instant lame duck. At the moment of his highest experience and level of authority, the president's ability to shape the policy agenda is diminished because everyone knows when he is leaving office. Attention quickly shifts to speculation about a successor, and soon he can do little more than focus on foreign policy. Pressing domestic tasks end up waiting until after the next election.

One purpose of elections is to reward or punish leaders for their performance. Since second-term presidents will not face the electorate again, they have an incentive to use their discretionary authority without fear of retribution. In other words, they are less accountable to the public.

Term limits target a phantom problem, and the costs outweigh the benefits. The Framers were right to reject them, and so should we.

From: The Daily Kos, "Repeal the 22nd amendment"

Dear Republicans,

There's lots of things you've proposed doing to the Constitution in recent years. Modifying the 14th so fewer brown people are citizens; repealing the 16th amendment permitting income taxes; repealing the 17th amendment allowing direct election of Senators; restating the 2nd amendment so that all the judges understand it means that you can mount a chain gun on your F-150 if you so desire; and of course the fabled "life begins at conception" amendment.

That's quite a bit of tinkering with our foundational law, but you seem to believe it necessary. In the spirit of bipartisan cooperation and good feelings all around, I'd like you to consider my proposed tinkering: repeal the 22nd amendment.

The latest news stories on 'Repealing the 22nd Amendment': here.

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