The problem with presidential term limits

As I was listening to the radio the other day, I became more and more certain that the Bush administration will start military actions against Iran.  This is because Bush and his cronies are lame ducks who don’t have to worry about public opinion.

In the sham called high school civics, we were taught that after FDR’s record four-term presidency, the two-term limit was imposed to prevent a popular president from “gaining too much power.”  However, if we re-think this, it becomes obvious that a two-term limit suddenly grants presidents the freedom of having no accountability to the public because they don’t have to worry about re-election during the second term.  Term limits are actually un-democratic because the public is not given a chance to keep the best person in office.  The lack of accountability also ensures that a president can take actions which will benefit the party rather than the public.  Bush has not fully benefitted from his massive expansion of presidential powers, for example, but somebody in the future likely can and will.

Furthermore, term limits may actually reinforce the two-party system because if a president was popular, we’ll be likely to vote for the same party’s candidate again, rather than an individual who more closely approximates the previous president’s stance on issues.  Those opposed will likely gravitate towards the other part best situated to contend for the position.

Two-term limits for presidents also could help ensure that nobody in that position can ever spearhead too many big changes to the status quo.

The two-term limit is an excercise in curtailing Americans’ democratic freedom to choose the best candidate for the job and allows the “lame duck” presidential administration to ignore public opinion and act without accountability.  I welcome all thoughts and comments on the subject.

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~ by Daniel on 28 June, 2008.

One Response to “The problem with presidential term limits”

  1. Unfortunately, you leave out the fact the President is but one of three branches of government. The President cannot act on his/her own. In order for a President to act in a careless and/or negligent manner, Congress would have to allow him/her and the Supreme Court would have to vouch for the constitutionality of the action(s). Given the current, polalized nature of our current system, the only way THAT would happen is if the President had a super-majority of like-affiliated people in both the House and the Senate.

    The two-term limit is a good thing to have. In fact, it should be expanded to incorporate both representatives and senators.

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