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 The amendment, added in 1951, restricts anyone from seeking a third term in office, and Serrano wants that repealed.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.