The Collective
Thursday, July 2, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the (and from a friend’s Facebook status) I note the following: No term limit for President Obama?

A resolution, H.J. Res. 5, was introduced into committee on January 6, 2009 which seeks to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, thus removing term limits for U.S. presidents.

Yes, you read it right. Democrat Representative Jose Serrano of New York wishes to allow unlimited terms for President Obama.

The author, Ann Miller, links this to Obama’s statements on the Honduran coup:

According to an AP report, Obama stated, “We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president there. It would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backwards into the era in which we are seeing military coups as a means of political transition rather than democratic elections,” he added. “The region has made enormous progress over the last 20 years in establishing democratic traditions. … We don’t want to go back to a dark past.”

What’s he afraid of? Why would Obama side with a tyrant rather than the people of Honduras? Could this “precedent” be a threat to his future plans?

Yes, she has uncovered a conspiracy! Back in January Obama and Serrano cooked up a plan to remove term limits so that they could exploit the Honduran coup! Pretty heady stuff.

(BTW, why is it that everyone who talks about tyranny in Honduras finds absolutely nothing wrong with militarily ousting an elected president?)

Back to Serrano’s resolution, it should be noted that 1) such resolutions are not unusual and 2) they mean almost nothing.

Serrano, for example, has tried this before: he proposed H.J. Res. 11 on January 7, 2003. I should be noted that that was during the Republican administration of George H. W. Bush. Serrano’s motivation was likely to allow Bill Clinton to run in 2004, but the bottom line is that it would have also allowed Bush to run again in 2008. As such, Serrano is hardly engaged in a conspiracy to (back to Hill) “go the way of the Venezuelan dictatorship.”

For that matter, others have proposed repealing the 22nd Amendment in recent memory. In February of 2005 a bi-partisan group proposed H.J. Res. 24. I have read of other such attempts, but have not looked them all up.

Beyond any of that, and to point #2 above: just because someone in the House or Senate suggests a constitutional change, does not mean that it will ever go beyond much more than a suggests. There have been thousands and thousands of such suggestions made over the decades and yet only 33 have made to become formal proposals and or those 28 have been added to the constitution (10 of which were the Bill of Rights). As such, it is a rather long ways from the fantastical dreams of a member of congress to an actual amendment, so those worried about repeal of the XXnd Amendment can breath easy.

And, I hasten to add, that we went for over a century sans term limits on the presidency, and yet no dictator took over.

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