I recently told my son that I would not be surprised if there was an effort to rescind the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- the one that limits a President to two terms – now that the Democrats have a lock on Congress and a potentially popular President.
The tradition of two terms was established by George Washington, who appreciated the risk of a President amassing too much power by a life time in office. That is the manner of despots, not (small d) democrats.
It was a good tradition and one that was honored out of principle until a (big D) Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt (right, in cape), recognized and seized the opportunity to become America’s dictator – well almost. His authoritarian lust was stopped by what was left of the democratic spirit and by the Creator, who called FDR home before he could complete his quest for power.
Realizing just how close we came to an omnipotent President, the Congress passed the 22nd Amendment. The Amendment legislation was supported and signed by the man best able to see close up the corrupting influence of prolonged power, FDR's own Vice President, Harry Truman (right). Many of those who supported FDR’s policies endorsed the Amendment. It was a close call for America, and they knew it.
Since Democrats tend to be the party of power over principle, one could anticipate that the temptation to institutionalize their advantage and status would manifest itself in a number of ways – and perpetual power for a President is one of them.
Rising to the occasion is Congressman Jose Serrano (left), a New York City Democrat (which says a lot). He has introduced legislation that would abolish the term limit for the President – not just a President, but for HIS President, Barack Obama. It is a flagrant attempt to seize power for his party, nothing more … nothing less.
Serrano’s desire to prolong the tenure of the head of state maybe explains, or is explained by, his unwavering support and affection for Cuba’s long time dictator, Fidel Castro. Serrano obviously has no respect for the “liberty” portion of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
This is such a bad idea that I would hope his constituents would throw him out of office at the very next opportunity. Unfortunately, his overwhelmingly Hispanic district returns him to Congress by margins that have exceeded 90 percent.
I think any member of Congress who signs on as a co-sponsor of this awful and dangerous legislation should be bounced … and any member who votes for it. These are people who have a dangerous lack of appreciation for the safeguards that have preserved our basic liberties for more than 200 years.
Washington was wise and noble to propose the limit on himself and his successors. When voluntary compliance failed, the Congress was wise to include the protection in the Constitution.
This is an issue upon which President Obama must be very clear and convincing in his opposition. Any equivocation should bring down an avalanche of negative public opinion. At least I sure hope so.