A stupid op-ed from WaPo:
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.”
Which is as stupid today as it was then. Presidents will be obeyed and respected based on their character and what they do for the nation. Respect can be lost, and accepting obedience can be replaced with grudging obedience, disobedience, or outright defiance depending on the president.
…the argument of our first president, who is often held up as the father of term limits. In fact, George Washington opposed them. “I can see no propriety in precluding ourselves from the service of any man who, in some great emergency, shall be deemed universally most capable of serving the public,” Washington wrote in a much-quoted letter to the Marquis de Lafayette.
And Washington would’ve burned the city named after him to the ground for the actions of the Obama administration in arming narcoterrorist cartels and hushing it up, in targeting citizens for political reasons with the IRS, and leaving an ambassador to die in Libya while smuggling weapons to Al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria. Washington may still agree with his statement then in theory, but that would require a moral people of politically interested citizens, an uncorrupted voting system, and parties that were not rooted in socialist redistribution and Marxism – an ideology that didn’t exist in the late 1700s. As the Daily Caller notes in picking apart the WaPo op-ed:
Zimmerman is untroubled by the prospect that long-term control of executive apparatus, along with the natural advantages of incumbency, might smooth the way for continuing rule by a president regardless of genuine popular will. The Obama Internal Revenue Service targeted the president’s political enemies before the 2012 election. The history of presidents for life in other nations shows ever-growing popular votes for the incumbent that in most cases masked widespread popular discontent.
The bureaucracy that existed in Washington’s time was miniscule in comparison to what we have today. The unelected bureaucrats were few in number, and the legions of regulators simply did not exist. While Washington’s theory may still hold up, it doesn’t address the problems that the Daily Caller bit notes. The ever-growing popular votes for the incumbent are also often indicators of widespread voter fraud by dictators who will never relinquish power. With institutions like ACORN actively engaged in voter fraud, and Democrats demanding that voters never have to show ID – so they can engage in more fraudulent voting, there is a great threat of political leftists simply taking over through manipulation of the electoral systems – even by outright controlling who counts the votes.
Zimmerman at WaPo goes on:
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.
Economically, people were suffering under it. And if you were an American of Japanese descent, he was vividly proven right.
Zimmerman at WaPo continues with more voices from supporters of camps past:
“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?”
The people of Minnesota didn’t want Al Franken, but they got him anyway, due in part to illegally voting felons (which the Democrat party favors… because they vote Democrat). The people of many states don’t want the dead or nonresidents voting… but they do anyway.
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.
“It’s time to put that power back in the hands of ACORN and the Democrat party. Republicans thought about the idea, just like ending the filibuster, but we opposed it then as tyranny, but now we’re okay with it because we think we’ll win and dominate you with a reign that will last 1000 years. The effort went nowhere because no way we’d let Reagan be around for another four years, but it’s a good thing now because Obama has an 8 year incumbency and all of the bureaucracy to target his enemies so he can win and be president for life. Barack Obama should be handed re-election just like Hugo Chavez and citizens should be allowed to vote for him – or be targeted for opposing dear leader. Anything less diminishes our party power and you’re a bad person if you disagree with me.”
That’s the real crux of it.
Washington is correct, given a population of moral citizens who are politically-interested yeoman farmers, an uncorrupt voting system, and no savage oppression of the citizenry with a massive bureaucracy. In his time, it would work. In his time, the federal government existed on customs, tariffs, and duties, not a progressive income tax administered by a ruthless, unaccountable, politically-driven bureaucracy.
Washington’s ideal worked up until the New Deal’s economic policies dragged a harsh market correction in 1929 into a decade of misery and liberal fascism. Washington faced with the situation of 200 years of advancement in society would probably look at it and say: “If we restore civic virtue in the American people to what it once was, we should have no reason to preclude ourselves from retaining the service of any man the public requires, but as the current system is largely incompatible with such widespread virtue, I understand the necessity of limiting consolidation of power by one man and one party, lest tyranny take firm hold and our Constitution be trampled further.”
Followed by: “What do you mean I can’t carry a modern rifle on the streets of my own city?”
Update: Looks like this idea has been bounced around a bit more. Jazz Shaw at HotAir covers a few more folks’ discussions of it.