Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pattern of Tyranny: Hugo Chavez, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Bill Clinton

What do each of those individuals have in common? Each of them over the past several years has been associated with term limits abolition for presidents.

Hugo Chavez already has the coveted "president for life" job. Argentinian President Fernandez de Kirchner this week seemed to float a trial balloon in her country about amending their "outdated" constitution. Bill Clinton suggested that the term limit amendment be lifted in this country recently.

The executive branch has an advantage over the legislative in this key area. At the most, every eight years, the executive gets swept clean of its political officers. Even presidents from the same party tend to want to have their own people, avoiding the messes caused when John Adams and Harry Truman held over officials. Turnover in office reduces the amount of corruption that can settle in.

Congress operates without term limits. Invariably, human nature takes over when a person in power gets comfortable. They cut corners, ignore rules here and there, and probably are as surprised as anyone else if they end up scandalized.

President Washington feared more than most the concept of "president for life." He saw it as upsetting the balance established between the branches of government, leading to the establishment of what Madison called "the tyranny of the majority." The president has the most to gain by somehow purchasing or otherwise appeasing the majority at the expense of the minority. And the majority rarely see infringements upon their rights.

Presidential term limits are necessary for the continuance of good government. Congress should consider them as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment