Skip to comments.A 3rd presidential term for Clinton? Doug Powers defends 22nd Amendment against Bill's legacy search
Posted on 06/02/2003 5:15:18 AM PDT by RightWingReader
They say that all bad things come in threes, and Bill Clinton may soon set out to prove that this rule also applies to presidential terms.
The former president and megalomaniacal political lab experiment gone horribly awry is determined to find a way to liquify himself in order to seep through all the cracks in the system. Now he's saying that we as a nation might want to rethink that pesky little 22nd Amendment, which bars anyone from being president for more than two four-year terms. Clinton said that this change wouldn't affect him, but be "for future generations." (Pause for laughter.)
Everything affects Bill Clinton, and for a chronically narcissistic windbag, there's no such thing as "a future generation." Another reason we can be sure it would apply to him is because he said it wouldn't. Clinton is the Uri Gellar of verbiage, with words being his spoon. The "boy from Hope" lived to be president, and still does. Could he be again?
You can never count the guy out. In his entire political career, he's been like the villain in every B horror movie ever made. He's been bludgeoned, hacked, stabbed, beaten, sunk, burned and minced, but the wiser of his opponents have learned never to get smug and claim victory. They're well aware that there is never a satisfying ending to this movie, just a hand that pops out of the ground in angry denial, telling us that this story is "to be continued." It's "Friday the 13th, Part LXVII" meets "The West Wing."
When he first met his idol, John F. Kennedy, Clinton discovered his life's ambition. It was a natural attraction. Looking back, the similarities between the two men are uncanny. They were both elected young. Both had red-nosed brothers who drove while blootered-to-the-nines. Both were like horny Labradors in a roomful of legs, had back trouble (one aggravated by the hard, lumpy floormat in the limo while encouraging Marilyn to "ah lose ah some ah weight," the other pained by carrying all those monkeys on it), and each made news for having youngsters under their desks. They also both have an unfulfilled destiny; one real, one imagined.
Bill Clinton wants to chase this destiny further, and getting another crack at the Oval Office and its freshly double Scotch-Guarded Berber Stainmaster is the only way he can do it. It wouldn't be what's best for the United States, but that concern runs a distant second to doing what's best for Bill Clinton. He wants to do it, and that's all that matters. Desperate times call for desperate pleasures.
Another Clinton term would also help bring the world's joke writers more material. There would no doubt be more sexual scandal, crooked brothers-in-law traipsing through the dining room and getting KFC grease all over the tea service, attempts to rid the world of the global threat posed by aspirin via random firings of Tomahawk missiles at medicine factories, and the theft of so much boxed china that the living room looks like a pilfered Beijing cemetery. The Fort Marcy Park police would get some more overtime, and Air Force One would again log so much joyride distance that the nation could cash in the frequent flyer miles for a freebie trip to the Oort cloud and back. Then, on day two ...
The problem for Clinton is that he's constantly and continuously searching for a legacy that's not there, and he doesn't understand why. He tries to force it, but that only works on his helium-brained believers and certain chunks of Hollywood socialist residue who wish they had half of Clinton's acting talent.
History will record Bill Clinton as a joke, and a bad one at that. Clinton knows this, but doesn't understand that he's stuck in a mudhole of his own choosing. The quicksand of a legacy is unforgiving to those who wiggle too much, since that just makes them sink faster. The worst thing Clinton could do for the legacy he's trying to manufacture would be to seek a third term, after which all we'd find is a "Razorbacks" cap sitting on top of that quicksand.
The 22nd Amendment was put in place not because FDR was hogging all the terms, but because somebody was wise enough to know that at some point, a guy like Bill Clinton would come along and it might be a good idea if the Constitution saved us from ourselves. Sadly, the good ones are forced to go, but fortunately, so are the bad ones.
Doug Powers is a freelance writer from Michigan.
This Clinton guy sounds a little arrogant. Maybe a little power-hungry, too.
Who is this Clinton fellow I keep hearing about??
Let's repeal the 22nd. It's a stupid law anyway, and decidedly un-Republican. Do the Reps not think Bush could beat Clinton?
Worth saying again.
If we were a democracy, I would agree: "Let the people decide." However, we are a republic, with some democratic features. Overall, though, the US is about checks and balances and limiting the power of government. For 150 years, no president wanted to serve more than 2 terms (wisely following G Washington's lead). Then FDR threw that aside, during a historical period marked by Dictators for Life all around the world. I think the US was wise to pass an Amendment saying "We don't do that here."
"Stupid Law"? NOT
Made for ex-presidents just like the Schlick Meister.
On the contrary, I think it's very republican (small "r").
First, anybody gets stale in that job, usually about a year into their second term (if you want to promote a single term of 5 years for President, I'll sign onto that). Basically, being President is such an intense intellectual exercise, it's mentally exhausting. You use up a lot of your intellectual capital during your tenure, with no break to recharge it. You need to relax, to read and think, to write, and to exchange ideas and concepts with friends and allies. A President in office cannot do this -- he's surrounded by yes-men or people who want somethig from him. This effect increases in severity with time.
Second, we no longer elect a man as President, we elect a team of people. The same intellectual bankruptcy affects them as well, to a lesser degree, but more than that, ways of doing everyday business become ingrained, usually to the detriment of effective operations. The electorate is largely oblivious to this effect -- they just see things getting worse with time and assume it's the President's fault. In part, it may be, but mostly I think, it's the fatigue of the job on the myriad of people who make up the entire administration.
Third, nobody is indespensable. Presidential term limits re-enforces the idea that this job is not a career (or should not be, anyway) and that Presidents should take office, lead and accomplish one big thing or a few lesser things, and step aside. To me, that is the very essence of a republican tradition -- service for the common good and then stepping down. Eight years is enough for (and in some cases, of) anybody.
You hit the nail on the head. The fact that it should be such an intellectually exhausting exercise, is reason enough to squelch a third term for anyone, Democrat or Republican. Most CEOs can't sustain repeated success within a company; we shouldn't expect that any one administration can sustain long-term success with the rigors of a presidency.
There are relatively few CEOs in the corporate world who continue to be effective after as long as eight years on the job. Let's face it. If you can't implement your agenda in eight years, what makes any sane person think that another four or eight years will do the trick?