How FDR’s Presidency Helped Save America; Provides Blueprint For Congress Can Bill Clinton Presidency Help Congress Impose Term Limits on Itself?

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Dec 2, 2017 No Comments ›› admin

By Ben Barrack

The FDR presidency represented a quantum leap for America toward statism and socialism. FDR was a progressive who shoved the country in that direction with his social programs. Such a person inherently craves power.

It was FDR’s attempt to acquire and hang on to power that paradoxically worked to the country’s benefit. Prior to his being elected, a standing rule had existed since George Washington decided not to run for a third term. That unwritten rule was that two terms was the limit for any president.

FDR broke that rule when he ran for a third term in 1940. No president had done so before him. He then went further four years later, winning reelection again in 1944, only to die in office soon thereafter.

The presidency of FDR ultimately led to the ratification of the 22nd Amendment, which states that no president can be elected to more than two terms and shall not serve more than 10 years in office.

Had the 22nd Amendment not been adopted, America would be a much different and worse place today. As a result, the body responsible for ratifying it should do the same for itself. Congress should amend the Constitution and enact term limits on all of its members. The sexual harrassment scandals ensnaring member after member should be the catalyst.

First, let’s have a look at what very well could have happened had FDR’s presidency not birthed a much needed check on power.

Post FDR Presidencies

The successors to FDR were all limited by the 22nd Amendment (except for Truman) but that Amendment didn’t directly defeat any of them until several years later. As such, it should serve as a roadmap for members of Congress.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Elected first in 1952, “Ike” was the first president restricted to two terms thanks to Congress (Harry S. Truman was grandfathered in but chose not to run). Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in his first term and reconsidered not running. It’s unlikely he would have run for a third term even if he’d have been eligible.

John F. Kennedy (JFK): JFK was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963, before completing his first term.

Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ): After being sworn in upon JFK’s death, LBJ chose not to run for reelection in 1968.

Richard M. Nixon: Nixon resigned during his second term in 1974 when impeachment and a removal from office was imminent.

Gerald Ford: Sworn in as president after Nixon’s resignation, Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Jimmy Carter: Carter lost to Ronald Reagan after one term.

Ronald Reagan: The 22nd Amendment’s first victim may have been Reagan. Though a popular president, Reagan was in his late 70’s at the end of his second term and had been beleaguered by Iran-Contra.

George H.W. Bush Reagan’s successor served one term and was defeated by the first president who was truly defeated by the 22nd Amendment.

America Saved by FDR’s Thirst for Power

If the 22nd amendment saved America’s bacon, it clearly happened after the defeat of George H.W. Bush in 1992. The man – along with his wife – who defeated him might still be president.

The United States has FDR to thank for not being cursed with a Clinton dynasty. “Slick Willy” had an uncanny knack for being at the heart of scandal but able to escape consequences. That is, except for one. Even then, he survived a blow. After taking advantage of a young intern named Monica Lewinsky, Clinton committed perjury. The House of Representatives impeached him. The Senate failed to vote Clinton out of office.

The mainstream media and the Democrats diminished the crime of perjury by saying it “was just about sex”. They collectively got Clinton off.

Years later, Clinton was asked by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough about a third term. Specifically, Scarborough wanted to know if Clinton thought he should be eligible for one. Clinton said yes:

An important nugget rears its head in that clip. Clinton starts with a premise that the reason for Presidential term limits had to do with the fact that people didn’t live as long when the 22nd amendment was passed as they live today. He avoided the real issue, which is the consolidation and accumulation of power.

He did so for a reason; it doesn’t play well with the public.

Here is an audio only excerpt from the exchange:

With each reelection, a president gains an advantage along with more power. Even when running for reelection after one term, the incumbent has a lot of tools and resources at his (or her disposal). Without the 22nd amendment, the accumulation of power with each election could become insurmountable. Incumbents learn where all the levers are and where all the bodies are buried.

The Real 2000 Election Controversy

The presidential election of 2000 was decided by 537 votes in Florida. George W. Bush won the state and thus, secured enough votes in the electoral college. His opponent, Al Gore, was Bill Clinton’s vice president. Gore won the popular vote.

Had Clinton not been encumbered by the 22nd amendment, he very well could have won a third term. Had he done so, the power consolidation would have been given a shot in the arm.

No doubt, someone high up in the Democratic Party hierarchy decided it would be better for Hillary to earn some experience as a U.S. Senator from New York before running for President. Ironically, that decision may have been the most ill-advised for Hillary supporters.

Had Bill won a third term, he very easily could have deferred to his wife in 2004, instead of running for a fourth term. In fact, if not for the 22nd amendment, the Clintons might just be handing off the reigns of power to one another every four or eight years.

That’s how Banana Republics operate. In Argentina, a now very corrupt country, the husband and wife team of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Nestor Kirchner handed the title of president over to one another for well over a decade.

What cannot be debated is how badly both Bill and Hillary crave the power of the presidency.

If not Clintons, then Obama

Even if history would have happened as it did without ratification of the 22nd amendment until 2008, let’s consider the election of Barack Obama.

In 2008, George W. Bush clearly had no interest in running for a third term. However, Obama was a staunch left-wing ideologue who thirsted for power perhaps more than the Clintons.

Toward the end of his second term, Obama declared that he would easily win a third term – if the law permitted him to run:

Here is the relevant audio from the video above:

Today, Obama continues working behind the scenes, to undermine his successor, Donald J. Trump.

Since the 22nd amendment was ratified, no two presidents have demonstrated the unquenchable desire for power more than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Fortunately, that same amendment has protected the country from an overdose of either of them. By extension, we should thank FDR for being wired similarly.

Sexual Scandals Rocking Congress

It was no doubt easier for Congress to put term limits on the presidency than it is for Congress to impose similar limits on itself. That doesn’t make it any less necessary.

When Bill Clinton perjured himself while under oath, the Democrats circled the wagons and protected him from justice. In so doing, they discovered a new playbook. If they all stuck together, each could get away with the same behavior.

Over the years, that’s largely been correct. However, there is one factor they didn’t consider: Slick Willy’s skill. While Clinton was protected by his party after his damning performance under oath, he was not protected from the 22nd amendment.

Clinton’s deftness emboldened members of Congress. Somewhere along the line, members became more insulated from scandal too, particularly Democrat members. Sexual transgressions and perjury did not come with consequences.

Conyers: Has been in office since 1965

The recent revelations that Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MN) are sexual predators is rocking Congress. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) have also been ensnared by similar scandals. To be fair, what Barton did – sexting with a consenting adult – was disturbing but not illegal. Conversely, Farenthold is said to have used a secret taxpayer “hush fund” to pay off an accuser.

All men should resign. Conyers has held office since 1965! If ever there existed a poster child for Congressional term limits, it’s Conyers.

Congress will never willfully cede power by imposing term limits on itself. However, depending on how deep these sexual scandals go, it could be coerced into doing so.

Constitutional Amendment XXVIII

America needs a 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. To make it more palatable to members of Congress, those in office at the time of its passage would be exempt, as was the case with the 22nd.

Here is the proposed text:

Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the House of Representatives more than six times, totaling 12 years. No per shall be elected to the office of the United States Senate more than two times, totaling 12 years, and no person who has held the office of Senator, or acted as Senator for more than three years of a term to which some other person was elected Senator shall be elected to the office of Senator more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of Representative or Senator when this Article was proposed by Congress.
Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

Though a very tall order, Bill Clinton’s presidency should do for Congress what FDR’s presidency did for his successors – limit them with a constitutional amendment.

FDR unwittingly saved America by seeking more power.

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