Four more years. 10 trillion more dollars in debt. And by the end of it, we’ll have a nuclear war in the Middle East and mandates forcing you to buy everything from electric cars to Michelle Obama’s trademark Soy and Asphalt pie.
The motives behind the Washington Post op-ed argument are… revealing.
I watch President Obama, whose approval rating has dipped to 37 percent in CBS News polling — the lowest ever for him — during the troubled rollout of his health-care reform. Many of Obama’s fellow Democrats have distanced themselves from the reform and from the president. Even former president Bill Clinton has said that Americans should be allowed to keep the health insurance they have.
Or consider the reaction to the Iran nuclear deal. Regardless of his political approval ratings, Obama could expect Republican senators such as Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and John McCain (Ariz.) to attack the agreement. But if Obama could run again, would he be facing such fervent objections from Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)?
Probably not. Democratic lawmakers would worry about provoking the wrath of a president who could be reelected. Thanks to term limits, though, they’ve got little to fear.
So Zimmerman’s argument is for lifting term limits so that Obama can intimidate Senate Democrats with a third term?
Nor does Obama have to fear the voters, which might be the scariest problem of all. If he chooses, he could simply ignore their will. And if the people wanted him to serve another term, why shouldn’t they be allowed to award him one?
Zimmerman confuses the people with the billionaire donors who stuffed Obama’s pockets full of money twice. I’m sure they will be happy to do it a third time. And Obama will pay them back with more taxpayer money.
We don’t have some sort of pure democracy where voters choose from a blank slate. We have a political establishment which chooses the prospective winner and the people who work for a living don’t always get their way against the special interests who bring their own people like Obama to power.
That was 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.
That would be selectively quoted in the term limits debate. Let’s try quoting the whole paragraph instead.
As for instance, on the ineligibility of the same person for President, after he should have served a certain course of years. Guarded so effectually as the proposed Constitution is, in respect to the prevention of bribery and undue influence in the choice of President: I confess, I differ widely myself from Mr. Jefferson and you, as to the necessity or expediency of rotation in that appointment.
The matter was fairly discussed in the Convention, and to my full convictions; though I cannot have time or room to sum up the argument in this letter. There cannot, in my judgment, be the least danger that the President will by any practicable intrigue ever be able to continue himself one moment in office, much less perpetuate himself in it; but in the last stage of corrupted morals and political depravity: and even then there is as much danger that any other species of domination would prevail.
Though, when a people shall have become incapable of governing themselves and fit for a master, it is of little consequence from what quarter he comes. Under an extended view of this part of the subject, I can see no propriety in precluding ourselves from the services of any man, who on some great emergency shall be deemed universally, most capable of serving the Public.
Elections worked differently in George Washington’s time so he was talking about a somewhat different process. Not one that could lead to an Obama. Though it did nearly lead to Aaron Burr.
Washington was not anticipating direct popular elections of the president. That is why he speaks of bribery and undue influence.
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
This is the kind of thing they were worried about. Not that a corrupt political hack would give away and accept bribes like crazy to sections of the common people and to wealthy men.
There’s little doubt that George Washington would have considered the current state of affairs in the capital named after him to be the last stage of corrupted morals and political depravity where factions raise millions and hand out bribes from taxpayer monies in the trillions to win political office.
Washington’s final point is that if the country has gone so badly downhill that the people just want a ruler, rather than self-rule, term limits won’t make much of a difference.
It’s not much of an endorsement of a third term for Obama.