Presidential Term limits

Discussion in 'Politics & Law' started by ysabel, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    Give them too much time and presidents may "gain too much power"; give them too little time and presidents won't be able to fully implement their programs because it also takes time to establish one's rule and "fix" the mistakes of the predecessor/s.

    Right now our president is elected to a 5yr term (it used to be 7yrs). We don't have term limits but it's currently being proposed to have maximum of 2 consecutive presidential terms.

    Do you agree with term limits? What would be an ideal limit for a president to stay in office?

    I've read two interesting points about this. First, "a two-term limit suddenly grants presidents the freedom of having no accountability to the public because they don’t have to worry about re-election during the second term". Second, "It's better to get only one shot but longer than 5 years to eliminate the re-election campaign that begins the second a first term president is elected."


  2. Kazmarov

    Kazmarov For a Free Scotland

    It's a balance between two main factors here:

    Firstly, we already have term limits in place. They're called elections, as President Bartlett once said on The West Wing. The people should have every right to choose who serves them and for how long.

    However, the other side of the coin is that incumbency is a very powerful force, and thus politicians do not face each other on equal ground if one candidate can serve indefinitely. Also, it allows them and their machine to infiltrate more and more of the government, including the election system.

    Which one do I value more? I believe the first one is true, but that the second is a very pressing reality. Thus I approve of term limits for presidents or executive leaders, but no other officials.
  3. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    I love West Wing.

    Just curious do you have terms for other officials right now - house/ senate?

    FDR has served the most in the US, does his long term helped him be a better president (or does it have any effect at all)?
  4. Rectify88

    Rectify88 Registered Member

    I definitely approve term limits for Presidents. As for the other Officials I think that there term should end with each president, however with notice form the new President I think he should decide witch ones to let stay. At least this pertain to just the cabinet; Or does it pertain to State Gov't as well?
  5. micfranklin

    micfranklin Eviscerator

    Term limits can be good or bad depending on who's sitting in the seat. It can be good because, take for example, Bush and the current administration. After everything that's gone wrong with them once this second term is up, there's no more of them to deal with.

    On the flipside, it can be bad. Take Truman for example, he did very productive things for the country and the world.
  6. Elf1

    Elf1 Registered Member

    Term limits should apply to all politicians.

    Current model is as follows...

    1. Make 10 promises (platform) which to get elected.
    2. Only half-heartedly attempt 2 of them.
    3. Make a passionate plea that your work isn't yet done, and need to be reelected to complete the 8 other items you failed to even attempt to get done.
    4. Repeat cycle.

    Too many politicians are career politicians. I think they lose touch with the general population and become elitists, it is a club of sorts. It isn't about representing people, but it protecting the power they got from being elected.

    2 or 3 attempts, and if you succeed at your 10 promises, you get a nice pat on the back. If you haven't done those 10 things, then it is obvious you are a waste of time, effort, and money, and someone knew needs to get in power to get things done.
  7. Kazmarov

    Kazmarov For a Free Scotland

    No, the Supreme Court ruled that unconstitutional in 1993. We do have term limits on many state officials, however Congress members can run indefinitely.
  8. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    French Presidents have never run for more than two terms, although there is no term limit, is that correct? Mitteirand served for 14 years (two terms), Chirac for 12 years (two terms, a 7yr one and a 5yr one), do I remember that correctly?

    So it seems although no term limits exist, your Presidents know when to quit.

    In Germany, that's different. We don't have a President directly elected by the people, but our Chancellor is elected by the parliament (much like the PM in Britain). And we don't have term limits. Some of our Chancellors didn't know when to quit: Best example is Helmut Kohl, who served 16 years, from 1982 to 1998. He even attempted to run for a 5th (!!!) term in 1998, but was diselected.

    In the end, he had completely lost touch with the ground -- he considered himself natural leader of the country, so he even broke the law by illegally collecting money for his party, enabling secret bank accounts in Switzerland and so on. In 1998, he had become highly unpopular, and his party urged him not to run for a 5th term, but to nominate someone else instead. But he was too full of himself, ignored this criticism and against all odds, against the polls, he ran again and thus ruined the career of his "crown prince" (Wolfgang Schäuble), who would have had a chance of winning, had he ran instead of Kohl again.

    You also see it in some German states that Prime Ministers sometimes lose touch with the ground this way, when serving too long (like Biedenkopf in Saxony, after 13 years, or Stoiber in Bavaria, after 14 years -- called the "Helmut Kohl syndrome" by commentators). They become a problem for their own party, they lose a clear view on themselves and somehow consider their office their god-given position. They fail to build up a good successor, but surround themselves with "yes-men" only.

    So yes, I am strongly in favor of term limits.

    I'd say 10 years is a good limit. That would be 2.5 terms in Germany (due to the parliamentary system, a Chancellor can be exchanged within a term, like in Britain).

    By setting the limit to the middle of the 3rd term, the problem would be avoided that the Chancellor is no longer liable to the public in the 2nd term, because he cannot be re-elected anyway.

    I agree this may become a problem. But it can be qualified when the political system is not focusing so much on the person, but more on the political party he belongs to: In a parliamentary system (like Britain or Germany), the people doesn't vote for the PM or Chancellor, but for his or her party. So a leader in his 2nd term would still have to watch out for his popularity, because he doesn't want to damage his party's chances in the following election.

    I guess that's less so in the US, where the person of the President is much more disconnected from the image of his party, than in other countries.

    This argument seems too anti-democratic to me. With the same argument, you could say "why having elections at all? They just keep the leader from running the country sufficiently."

    Now it may be true that campaigns often are populist, and they keep politicians from taking unpopular, but necessary steps. But rather that, than too few checks of the office by the people, IMHO.
  9. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    LOL, during Bonaparte's time there was a term limit. So he decided to be Emperor instead... :lol:

    Thanks for sharing about Germany's system. I had no idea about it before.

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