Sunday, September 07, 2008

Repeal the 22nd Amendment

The near-invisibility of President Bush at last week's Republican National Convention prompts in me the question whether we are better or worse off having the 22nd Amendment, which limits Presidents to two elected terms. In the narrowest sense, the roughly2/3 of Americans who are unhappy with President Bush can thank the 22nd Amendment for guaranteeing that he won't get a third term. But of course a very unpopular President would be unlikely to win a third term, and might therefore not even run for one, even absent the 22nd Amendment. That was essentially what Lyndon Johnson decided in 1968, even though he could have run again. Moreover, if Bush were eligible for a third term, and decided to seek one, then the Republican Party would have had to have had a public debate about whether to run on or away from his record. To my mind, that would have been much preferable to what the McCain-Palin ticket is actually doing: running to perpetuate most of the Bush policies but pretending that they are running to reform all that has gone wrong.

Of course, if there were no 22nd Amendment, so much else would be different (think of the "butterfly effect") that we wouldn't be talking about Bush at all. We might well be nearing the end of the third term of the Bill Clinton Administration (its first term having been delayed until 1997 by the fact that in this counter-history, Reagan would have gotten a third term too). Putting aside such case-specific speculation, systemically the 22nd Amendment contributes to the lame-duck effect, which, depending on how much you believe in accountability, is either a good thing (freeing up Presidents to do the right thing, political consequences be damned), or a bad thing (freeing up Presidents to do whatever the hell they want).

What can be said in favor of the 22nd Amendment? The tradition, started by George Washington and honored by every President until FDR, of not seeking a third term, was deeply democratic (in the small d sense). It prevented Presidents from succumbing to the corrupting effects of power over the long run. Once that tradition was broken (and some historians note that Presidents before Roosevelt would have broken it if their electoral prospects were better), giving the limit the force of law was arguably a wise precaution against tyranny.

Arguably, but not very persuasively. American political culture, more than the Constitution as such, prevents Presidents from becoming dictators. In many other countries in which Presidents face term limits, after all, they either change the Constitution when the limit approaches or engineer an end run, or both. Just ask Prime Minister Putin.

The other argument for the 22nd Amendment is the general argument for term limits: It's good to get fresh blood into politics and incumbency carries with it so many advantages that we must artificially cap terms in order to ensure regular turnover. This strikes me as a decent argument for term limits for members of Congress, who do benefit from incumbency, but a President will tend to get blamed for bad stuff generally in ways that Senators and Reps will not, and bad stuff happens often enough that we'll get changeover naturally at the Presidential level. Just ask Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.

Posted by Mike Dorf


Craig J. Albert said...

The 22nd amendment is an extreme version of term limits, because it prohibits consecutive greater than two elected terms, and also prohibits a non-consecutive third term. It the latter case, it differs from the term limits imposed by most state constitutions on their governors. Obviously, as a practical matter, in most instances there's a very long political route to the presidency, so that by the time someone was actually eligble to run for a third term, he or she would be so old and worn out that he wouldn't be good for the job.
But if the concern is one of putting old wine into new bottles (on second thought, make that stale beer in new cans, so that people don't label me some kind of Eastern liberal elitist) by taking old policies and wrapping them in new faces and new names, then maybe the real question is whether to switch to a parliamentary system instead. That way, the representatives and senators could decide for themselves (based on what they hear from their constituents) whether to ditch their leaders while preserving their policies.

heathu said...

There was a time when I also would have thought that American political culture, rather than the Constitution, prevents Presidents from becoming dictators. But the ease in which Americans have accepted the hallmarks of the world's worst regimes, including torture, prison without trial, and domestic wiretapping has made me rethink that assumption. We need to reconstitute some of the Framer’s generation’s preoccupation with ascendant tyranny; otherwise, we might get an American dictator far more easily than anyone might think.

egarber said...

In a way, I sort of see the 22nd as roughly parallel to a flag burning amendment.

I often argue that amending the constitution to ban flag burning would be an effort to coerce nationalism. That smacks of being anti-American in my view, because what makes our brand of loyalty unique is its voluntary nature. As soon as you try to enforce that loyatly via law, it's not sincere anymore among the people; it no longer emanates from the heart.

It seems to me that a similar dynamic exists on the term limit front. I like to say that we already have term limits: it's called an ELECTION. Elections are pure and sincere, whereas term limits can be seen as a form of coercion. So to me, just like with amendments to ban flag desecration, term limits sort of defeat the purpose.

Obviously, the constitution is anti-majoritarian in a lot of ways, so my point only goes so far -- but here, I think it's valid.

Anonymous said...



A片,色情,成人,做愛,情色文學,A片下載,色情遊戲,色情影片,色情聊天室,情色電影,免費視訊,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊聊天室,一葉情貼圖片區,情色,情色視訊,免費成人影片,視訊交友,視訊聊天,視訊聊天室,言情小說,愛情小說,AIO,AV片,A漫,av dvd,聊天室,自拍,情色論壇,視訊美女,AV成人網,色情A片,SEX





Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

免費A片, ut聊天室, AV女優, 美女視訊, 免費成人影片, 成人論壇, 情色交友, 免費AV, 線上a片, 日本美女寫真集, 同志聊天室, 聊天室交友, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 色情網站, 辣妹視訊, 美女交友, 微風成人區, 色美媚部落格, 色情影片, 成人影片, 成人網站, 免費A片, 上班族聊天室, A片,H漫, 18成人, a漫, av dvd, 一夜情聊天室, 微風成人, 成人圖片, 成人漫畫, 情色網, 日本A片, 免費A片下載, 性愛, 成人交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人貼圖, 成人電影, 成人, 中部人聊天室, 080中部人聊天室, 成人貼圖, 成人小說, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人遊戲, 微風成人, 愛情公寓, 成人電影, A片, 情色, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 做愛, 成人遊戲, 成人影城, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 寄情築園小遊戲, 色情遊戲, 成人網站, 麗的色遊戲, 色情網站, 成人論壇, 情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 言情小說, 愛情小說, 色情A片, 情色論壇, 自拍, 癡漢, , 俱樂部, 豆豆聊天室, 聊天室, 色情影片, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊交友90739 情人視訊網影音視訊聊天室 免費視訊聊天室 視訊聊天 視訊交友 美女視訊 視訊美女 視訊 免費視訊 免費視訊聊天 視訊聊天室 辣妹視訊 一夜情 色情a片 aio交友愛情館 情色電影 情色視訊 色情遊戲 色情 情色小說 一葉情貼圖片區 色情小說 色情聊天室 情色交友 成人論壇 成人網站 色情網站 情色論壇 小高聊天室 女同志聊天室 6K聊天室 080苗栗人聊天室 080聊天室 聊天室尋夢園 UT男同志聊天室 男同志聊天室 尋夢園聊天室 UT聊天室 聊天室 豆豆聊天室 A片 成人電影 成人貼圖 嘟嘟成人網 美女交友 本土自拍 成人交友 成人影片

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to get some last chaos gold and the lastchaos gold is given by my close friend who tells me that the lastchaos money is the basis to enter into the game. Therefore, I should buy last chaos gold with the spare money and I gain some cheap lastchaos gold from other players.

Anonymous said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,制服店,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,兼差,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,日式酒店,舞廳,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店小姐,理容院,日領,龍亨,學生兼差,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,經紀 彩色爆米花,經紀人 彩色爆米花,酒店傳播,酒店經紀 彩色爆米花,爆米花,童裝,童裝拍賣,童裝大盤,童裝寄賣,童裝批貨,酒店,酒店,童裝切貨,酒店,GAP童裝,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工

Anonymous said... .
[url=]puma shoes[/url]
[url=]chaussures puma[/url]
[url=]nike air max ltd[/url]

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店經紀, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店工作, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀,,

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...