Hope and Change: Move to repeal presidential term limits started

posted at 5:00 pm on January 13, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Maybe I’m just being too cynical, but somehow I doubt that Rep. José Serrano introduced HJ Res 5 in order to allow George W Bush to run for a third term in office.  One week ago, the New York Democrat introduced a measure to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which provides the only term limit on federal office — the Presidency.  The amendment, added in 1951, restricts anyone from seeking a third term in office, and Serrano wants that repealed.

Why now?  Apparently, the notion of Hope and Change has overwhelmed Serrano to the point that he just can’t stand to see Barack Obama limited to two terms in office.  Never mind the fact that Obama has yet to start his first term, and no one knows yet whether he’d get re-elected in 2012.  Maybe it’s that New Deal vibe; Serrano may want to prepare the way for a more tangible comparison between Obama and FDR in 2016 and 2020.

Of course, a repeal wouldn’t just apply to Obama.  What other former President might decide he wants to return to the White House?  Someone who couldn’t quite close the deal by having his wife run for the office?

Normally, I don’t like term limits, but the office of the presidency has enough power to make the 22nd Amendment a reasonable limitation on it.  So far, no one has added themselves as a cosponsor to Serrano’s bill, but if any do, perhaps Democrats might want to explain why they suddenly have a yen for Hugo Chavez-style executives after screeching hysterically about Bush’s ideas of the “unitary executive,” which they completely misunderstood anyway.

Update: Via Amerpundit in the comments, I see that this is an ongoing effort by Serrano.  He introduced the same bill in 2003, when Bill Clinton would have been the obvious beneficiary.  Steve Benen wrote an interesting history of it at the time.


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The lack of term limits for the Senate and House are is the reason we have fools who believe they are entitiled to do as they please instead of the will of the people.

I completely support term limits: 2 in the Senate, 3 in the House.

madmonkphotog on January 13, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Well put. Term limits plus re-districting by a good Geography professional actually might bring government back to for and by the people.

Otherwise, its going to be business as usual and anyone with even half a brain can see what a great job is currently is being done by our elected leaders.

Rockman44 on January 13, 2009 at 5:54 PM

We don’t know that Obama will want more than two terms. We don’t know that he’ll even want a second one. Heck, who’s to say he won’t try for UN Sec in two years.

- The Cat

MirCat on January 13, 2009 at 5:56 PM

Go ahead and let it backfire when Obama gets beaten so badly after flushing America down the toilet that his replacement lasts four terms.

Grafted on January 13, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Sure would be funny if that was Sarah Palin. *evil laugh*

aikidoka on January 13, 2009 at 5:57 PM

The deeply disturbing factor in this event is that HE HASN’T DONE ANYTHING YET!!! Not now, not when he was a senator presidential candidate, not when he was in the state assembly, not when he was a community organizer street thug, not even when he was editor of the Harvard Law Review.

No matter what happens it will not be Obama’s ignorant, ham fisted, moronic responses that caused the difficulty. He was, is, and will remain THE MESSIAH who can do no wrong.

davo on January 13, 2009 at 5:57 PM

I used to oppose term limits, but not anymore. But hey, I might trade my opposition, and support repeal of the 22nd in exchange for the repeal of the 16th Amendment.

Buy Danish on January 13, 2009 at 6:00 PM

EXACTLY the wrong direction for the country.

Term limits are the biggest problem we have, because Congress is the biggest enemy the country has

I say…..put em all in prison, and then give em unlimitted terms. Obama should be first.

notagool on January 13, 2009 at 6:03 PM

Isn’t the Messiah supposed to reign on Earth for a thousand years?

Disturb the Universe on January 13, 2009 at 6:09 PM

Serrano ham (Spanish). Poblano chiles.

BigD on January 13, 2009 at 5:32 PM

Serrano chiles too. /Californian

Jim Treacher on January 13, 2009 at 5:37 PM

Thanks for almost killing me.

baldilocks on January 13, 2009 at 6:18 PM

And all of this before Obama is even inaugurated. This is really pathetic, and I hope a good solid backlash is on the way. I’m not willing to bet on it right now, though.

ddrintn on January 13, 2009 at 6:25 PM

If Obama’s first term is unsuccessful, Bill Clinton could challenge him in the primaries…

oddball on January 13, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Repealing the term limit on the Presidency is a step absolutely in the wrong direction. In fact, I am a very strong proponent for term limits for all of Congress! I would also support a bill barring ANY lawyers from holding public office!

GFW on January 13, 2009 at 6:32 PM

Why now? Apparently, the notion of Hope and Change has overwhelmed Serrano to the point that he just can’t stand to see Barack Obama limited to two terms in office.

As amerpundit notes, Serrano proposed the same thing in 2005: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Jos%E9-E.-Serrano. Your discussion of Obama is completely off base.

tneloms on January 13, 2009 at 6:36 PM

Seriously… This cannot be allowed to happen. I don’t imagine that they have the votes in any case… but it’s not something to be taken lightly.

Karmashock on January 13, 2009 at 6:37 PM

Once the term limit is repealed and the Dems have expanded their voter fraud, intimidation and truth squads,,,, then you throw in the Obama National Security force and a full Marxist Obama Supreme court,, only God will be left to save this nation. It will be over. America will become a true police state. No Republican will ever win an election again,, the ACORNS and lib courts of the nation will ensure that. Obama will be dictator for life, unless another Marxist/Dem dictator unseats him.
This is where our wonderful Republican leadership,,, and Bush’s new tone has brought us. The Democrat party is evil. They are the new Nazi’s. It’s right there in front of us,, we are watching it all unfold and we can barely believe it.
William Ayers once said that 25,000,000 million die hard capitalists will have to be put to death in America after their revolution, because they won’t submit to re-education.
Search it out for yourself.
I am an American! I love our constitution! I love our flag! I love our bill of Rights! I love America and I love the liberty she has brought untold hundreds of millions!
We have to start winning local elections now! this nation will only be saved by the grace of God, a willing people and from the ground up! Screw the media! Screw the polls! Screw all the predictions that it’s over for Republicans! Get out there and run for an office or support someone good that is running!! Then, if you are a praying man or woman,, start praying!!

JellyToast on January 13, 2009 at 6:48 PM

JellyToast on January 13, 2009 at 6:48 PM

Unfortunately most Republicans and Americans are more concerned that Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house (she didn’t say that-Tina Fey did), how much the RNC spent on Sarah’s wardrobe and if Bristol gave birth to Trig. As the expression goes, while Rome is burning the people are immersed in bread and circuses and completely ignoring who set the fire. In America’s case it is Obama. I didn’t know that Ayres said that about 25m capitalists having to be purged. Could you please tell me when he said this?

technopeasant on January 13, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Democrats always protecting the Constitution.

jukin on January 13, 2009 at 7:11 PM

Hmmm. With term limits gone, Bill could run again… The Bill and Obama show — how cool.

droofus on January 13, 2009 at 7:25 PM

Repeal it? Hell, expand it!

SouthernGent on January 13, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Are you ready for Phoenix King Obama?

ZK on January 13, 2009 at 7:33 PM

Congress introduces. State legislatures must ratify.

progressoverpeace on January 13, 2009 at 5:28 PM

Yeah, we keep missing that part, don’t we? When you break the country down by voting precinct, I don’t think Obama has the mandate his sychophants imagine him having. Besides, I recall someone trying to introduce this during the Clinton years as well.

The 22nd Amendment, in my opinion, will never be repealed, no matter who is in office. FDR pulled it off during a World War. Obama would have to go out and start one, or maybe let our intel fall down on the job until we get into one against our will. And even then, I’m not so sure.

manwithblackhat on January 13, 2009 at 7:40 PM

technopeasant on January 13, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Here’s the quote:

I bought up the subject of what’s going to happen after we take over the government. We, we become responsible, then, for administrating, you know, 250 million people.

And there was no answers. No one had given any thought to economics; how are you going to clothe and feed these people.

The only thing that I could get, was that they expected that the Cubans and the North Vietnamese and Chinese and the Russians would all want to occupy different portions of the United States.

They also believed that their immediate responsibility would be to protect against what they called the counter-revolution. And they felt that this counter-revolution could best be guarded against by creating and establishing re-education centers in the southwest, where we would take all the people who needed to be re-educated into the new way of thinking and teach them… how things were going to be.

I asked, well, what’s going to happen to those people that we can’t re-educate; that are die-hard capitalists. And the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated. And when I pursued this further, they estimated that they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these re-education centers. And when I say eliminate, I mean kill. 25 million people.

I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees from Columbia and other well known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.

And they were dead serious.”

– Larry Grathwohl, former member of the Weather Underground

Disturb the Universe on January 13, 2009 at 7:44 PM

LOL,…
Hell,..just rename America while your at it,..who’s gonna stop them.

christene on January 13, 2009 at 7:47 PM

Jimmah Carter licks his lips in anticipation.

a capella on January 13, 2009 at 5:04 PM

He never got a second one. He’s still eligible.

Esthier on January 13, 2009 at 5:11 PM

Carter’s four years just seemed like eight.

backwoods conservative on January 13, 2009 at 7:49 PM

Perhaps this guy needs a real FDR lesson. For Obama to fully be FDR, he will have to be both racist (to the point where he signs off, over the objections of the director of the FBI, on an executive order placing in “relocation camps” all people of a certain ethnicity), and of the opinion that an unused weapon is a useless weapon (to the point where he orders the DOD to test several versions of an advanced weapon against the civilians of a nearly-defeated adversary at war with us).

One hopes that there are many ways in which Obama will NOT be FDR.

unclesmrgol on January 13, 2009 at 7:52 PM

Um, well, ah, um, the cure for someone who don’t wanna get to steppin’ when their term is over is a well placed 30.06 round from a Garand. What next O’Chavez? Prez for life? Seriously folks, this guy is consuming oxygen my Bloodhounds could be using. I wish he would just go away already.

GlocknRoll on January 13, 2009 at 8:06 PM

Ha! My prediction cam true, and The Messiah is not even officially Anointed yet!

hadsil on January 13, 2009 at 8:50 PM

To Mr. Serrano:

The question of Presidential terms limits is settled law. Live with it.

(See Abortion: Supreme Court Justice Confirmation Hearings).

BobMbx on January 13, 2009 at 9:02 PM

The 22nd Amendment, in my opinion, will never be repealed, no matter who is in office. FDR pulled it off during a World War. Obama would have to go out and start one, or maybe let our intel fall down on the job until we get into one against our will. And even then, I’m not so sure.

manwithblackhat on January 13, 2009 at 7:40 PM

Nah, ACORN on steroids would do the trick.

ddrintn on January 13, 2009 at 9:17 PM

thank god we have a limitation for the white house … this country could never have taken 1 more minute of George Bush much less 4 more years. Want to make an argument against the current presidential term limitations just point to your experience with Mr. 28 percent for the last 8 years. Did you Obama haters already forget about Mr. Bush? He is the most qualified to be the worst president in our lifetime.

Monkei on January 13, 2009 at 9:18 PM

On his website banner is the Bronx Zoo. Enuf said.

Let this jack-butt get another slice of his 15 minutes.

Jose, you’re no Jack Bauer!

HotAirJosef on January 13, 2009 at 9:22 PM

Hey monkei boy, go play with yer butthole cuz yer boi oblahma is make make Ole Bush look like Joan of Arc. By the time he gets done disassembling the U.S you will be in a re-ed. camp over a spit with a fork in your azz, sizzling above a mighty rightous fire, wanker.

GlocknRoll on January 13, 2009 at 9:46 PM

Jose Serrano doesn’t want a President. He wants a caudillo.

Trust me on this one.

newton on January 13, 2009 at 10:16 PM

I think a bunch of Republican congressmen should talk this bill up like crazy, maybe even co-sponsor it. All the Democrats would be thinking “Whaaa the fffuuu–er on second thought–if they like it so much, maybe we’d better not do it.” They’re such dil-doze (gotta avoid that comment moderation), they’d fall for the old reverse briar patch shtick in a heartbeat. Obama will be verrrry luck to get re-elected once. He’s going to drive this country right into the freakin’ ground.

smellthecoffee on January 14, 2009 at 12:09 AM

thank god we have a limitation for the white house … this country could never have taken 1 more minute of George Bush much less 4 more years. Want to make an argument against the current presidential term limitations just point to your experience with Mr. 28 percent for the last 8 years. Did you Obama haters already forget about Mr. Bush? He is the most qualified to be the worst president in our lifetime.

Monkei on January 13, 2009 at 9:18 PM

Umm, Jimmy Carter was in my lifetime, and he has a firm grip on the Worst of All Time title. But anyway, I get the feeling that Obama will make GWB seem like a mixture of Washington and Lincoln before it’s all over with.

ddrintn on January 14, 2009 at 12:26 AM

Your Little Red Book of Brother Obama’s Sayings And Cliches has been ordered and will arrive COD within the week.

The Ministry of Political Thought and Education

moxie_neanderthal on January 14, 2009 at 12:44 AM

Congress introduces. State legislatures must ratify.

Yeah, we keep missing that part, don’t we? When you break the country down by voting precinct, I don’t think Obama has the mandate his sychophants imagine him having.

manwithblackhat on January 13, 2009 at 7:40 PM

Well, there’s also the possibility of a Constitutional Convention, too. In that case, all bets would be off.

progressoverpeace on January 14, 2009 at 1:41 AM

Sure would be funny if that was Sarah Palin. *evil laugh*

aikidoka on January 13, 2009 at 5:57 PM

…a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

Unless moose and caribou get the right to vote your wish will always be a fantasy

ddrintn on January 13, 2009 at 6:25 PM

try reading the updates

Bradky on January 14, 2009 at 5:44 AM

The deeply disturbing factor in this event is that HE HASN’T DONE ANYTHING YET!!! Not now, not when he was a senator presidential candidate, not when he was in the state assembly, not when he was a community organizer street thug, not even when he was editor of the Harvard Law Review.

davo on January 13, 2009 at 5:57 PM

What do you mean, he hasn’t done anything yet? He managed the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and spent $160 million on stationary test scores, and funneled hundreds of millions of state money to slumlords, and have you seen all those well-fed rats? The Chicago PETA people are jumping for joy in the Barackopolis! Oh, and he managed to secure $700 million in foreign aid to America from George Soros! /sarc

Steve Z on January 14, 2009 at 9:20 AM

Obama will not be re-elected. That’s all.

adamsmith on January 14, 2009 at 9:30 AM

How about term limits for those dopes in Congress?

What else can you say about a house who’s approval rating is half that of the “most unpopular president”?

budorob on January 14, 2009 at 9:32 AM

only God will be left to save this nation.

And I wonder if He’ll see anything worth saving. Although, He did agree to save Sodom and Gomorrah for five righteous men, and He saved Ninevah after they repented. Maybe there’s still hope for us, and I dont mean the kind Obama brings.

abcurtis on January 14, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Normally, I don’t like term limits…

As a Massachusetts native and current internee, I can attest to the fact that the electorate is too lazy and too stupid to use the franchise appropriately so that term limits becomes an absolute necessity. To believe otherwise is pie-in-the-sky idealism.

thegreatbeast on January 14, 2009 at 12:58 PM

I hate to burst the morons bubble but we’re not going to make it through B. Hussien Obamas first term. His policies are going to create a world wide depression that’ll be far worse than any ever seen. I look forward to the day the citizens of this country storm capitol hill and string up about half the people in office.

TrickyDick on January 14, 2009 at 1:31 PM

No doubt there will be some hidden clause or amendment barring Republicans from exceeding the two term limit, should this somehow pass.

It appears to me that the Socialist Democrats have almost sealed their dictatorial powers over America.

LewWaters on January 15, 2009 at 2:35 AM

should this somehow pass …

I’d say the repeal is at least 50-50. The Democrats clearly have the numbers to ram something like this through both houses of Congress, reaching the 2/3rds majority with the help of girlie men Republicans who won’t oppose anything to benefit the Chocolate Jesus for fear of being called racist.

Democrats run enough state legislatures to get the required number within seven years as well, especially since 2010 looks even worse for Republicans since they refuse to stand for anything conservative and instead become even more “me too” to The Messiah.

God help us.

pdigaudio on January 20, 2009 at 12:12 PM

To anyone who’s serving in our armed forces: you should be watching this like a Predator. As horrible as it is to say this, the day may easily come within your lifetime when you will have to decide if the President has usurped power and must be stopped.

I hope and pray that this nation will survive the next decade in one piece.

Dark-Star on November 20, 2009 at 8:28 PM

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