Thursday, August 14, 2014
The 18th Amendment prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages, which is why the era before its repeal was known as Prohibition.
Around the same era other nations also experimented with the Prohibition of alcohol, to results equally successful as the American Prohibition.
I do not know if any other nation has experimented with an amendment like America's 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The 22nd Amendment limits American presidents to two terms.
There is no limit on the number of terms a congressperson or senator can be elected to.
The 22nd Amendment was passed by a vindictive Republican Congress on March 21, 1947, with the requisite number of states ratifying the amendment on February 27, 1951.
Harry S Truman is the last president to whom the 22nd Amendment did not apply.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been elected President four times, the only president in history elected more than twice.
The two term precedent had been set by George Washington, with most subsequent presidents following Washington's two term lead. Until we got to the period of Ulysses S. Grant, who was president from 1869 to 1877. Then in 1880, after returning from Europe and finding his reputation restored, Grant tried to get the nomination, which instead went to James Garfield.
Grover Cleveland served a term, from 1885 to 1889, then lost his bid for a second term to Benjamin Harrison. Cleveland then returned to the White House, defeating Harrison to win a second term from 1893 to 1897. Cleveland tried for a third term but lost the nomination to the silver tongued orator, William Jennings Bryan.
After the assassination of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt became president, then was elected in his own right in 1904. Teddy declined to run in 1908, but did try to get the Republican nomination again in 1912, but failed, so Teddy started up a third party which came in second to Woodrow Wilson's win and President Taft's worst defeat of a president in U.S. history, coming in third.
This brings us to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only president to be elected to more then two terms. Roosevelt's third term nomination came in 1940, with his third term beginning in 1941.
Had the 22nd Amendment been the law in 1940 America would have lost Franklin Roosevelt as president, just as the Nazi peril was at its flood height, with France occupied and the Battle of Britain under way.
At one of the most perilous moments in American history, America would have had to elect a new president. What if America had elected the 1940 equivalent of George W. Bush? The outcome of World War II would likely look totally different than the world we know now.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is regularly ranked by historians at the top of lists of America's Greatest Presidents. Depending on who is making the list it is always Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt in the top three.
So, the Republicans of the 1940s, not being all that different from the wrong-headed Republicans of the 2010s, thought it a bad thing that Franklin Roosevelt was elected four times.
Among the Republicans more idiotic reasons that they thought presidential terms must be limited to two was that allowing a president to be elected over and over again raised the specter of a monarchy.
In the early days of America, back when the Founding Fathers were working on the new law of the new land, worries about a leader becoming an entrenched monarch were a concern, due to having just fought a Revolutionary War against the British monarch.
By what means could an American president being re-elected more than twice result in a monarchy? He somehow morphs into one of those North Korean Kim mutants passing down the North Korean dictatorship to a favored son?
If a president getting elected more than twice was such a dire problem that it required a prohibiting amendment, how is it that prior to FDR no president had managed the feat of getting elected more than twice?
To further illustrate the idiocy of the 22nd Amendment let's look at the presidents who followed FDR.
Harry S. Truman could have run again. He likely would have lost to Dwight Eisenhower. Thus no need for a 22nd Amendment.
Dwight Eisenhower served two terms, was ready to retire, having suffered serious health issues whilst president. No need for the 22nd Amendment.
John F. Kennedy had no chance for a third term for obvious reasons, but may have easily been elected to two more terms had he not been assassination and had he retained his phenomenal popularity. No need for the 22nd Amendment.
Lyndon B. Johnson got elected in the biggest landslide in history, seemed destined to go down in history as one of the great presidents. But, the Vietnam War intervened, with the chaos of the 60s ensuing and LBJ choosing not to run for a second term. No need for the 22nd Amendment.
Richard Nixon got elected twice, but there was no need for a 22nd Amendment to stop Nixon from running for a third term.
Gerald Ford, a president who got the job without being elected, tried to get elected in 1976, but was thwarted by Jimmy Carter. No need for the 22nd Amendment.
Jimmy Carter was unable to win election to a second term. No need for the 22nd Amendment.
Ronald Reagan won two terms, and probably could have easily won a third and fourth term, except he was old, his health was failing and he was happy to retire to his ranch. Again, no need for a 22nd Amendment, even with an extremely popular president.
George Bush got elected to one term, failed in his bid for a second. No need for the 22nd Amendment.
Bill Clinton, elected twice, suffered through impeachment nonsense courtesy of the Republicans. May have been able to win election a third time. Which makes Bill Clinton the first president since the 22nd Amendment was ratified who may have had his time as president cut short due to the wrong-headed 22nd Amendment.
Which leads to George W. Bush.
Had Clinton been able to run a third time America may have been spared the folly of George W. Bush and his two terms as president. With George W. Bush there was no need for the 22nd Amendment, due to the fact that by the time the election of 2008 came around the majority of Americans had come to the realization they'd made a big boo boo electing George W. at the start of the new century.
And now we have Barack Obama, near the half way mark of his second term. I really do not think the 22nd Amendment is needed to keep Obama from a third term.
Methinks the 22nd Amendment needs to be repealed. The 22nd Amendment makes every re-elected president a lame duck. What if another FDR comes along, right when we need him, with the wrong-headed 22nd Amendment preventing Americans from re-electing him?