New Rules for US Presidents

esh_gaApril 4, 2012

I found this to be of interest:

Visiting the Jefferson Memorial in Washington never gets old to me.

Not only is it architecturally stunning, but the quotes on the four panels surrounding the sculpture of our third president stir a profound sense of patriotism and spiritual clarity inside me.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

"Almighty God hath created the mind free."

"God who gave us life gave us liberty."

And then there's my favorite:

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind."

That quote goes on to talk about the importance of having a fluid Constitution, one that reflects the society of the time as opposed to "the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

It's really quite profound when you think about it: a founding father granting future generations permission to make changes to a document with the ink barely dry on the original. And we have taken Jefferson up on his suggestion, such as granting women the right to vote.

But that tends to be the nature of most of the biggest changes that have been made to the Constitution: affecting the rights and behavior of citizens as opposed to the structure of the government itself.

Today, given how money, special interest groups and technology, including electronic media, have diseased the entire political process, I believe it's time we considered some sweeping changes.

And I believe those changes should start at the very top -- the president. There are three ways America can make the presidency better equipped to respond to the 21st century world.

The first would recognize that the functioning of the federal government is impeded by a president's bid to run for re-election. So how can we change that? We start by eliminating second terms.

When you think about it, the first year is spent operating under the previous administration's budget, and part of the third and all of the fourth are spent running for re-election. Essentially we give a new president about 18 months to focus on creating meaningful policies. A good chunk of the rest of the term is spent fundraising.

But what if we were to amend the Constitution so that each president gets only one six-year term? He or she spends five years focused on governing without handwringing over a bid for re-election.

The second change: a requirement that no person could be elected president without prior military experience.

But it just seems logical that if you're going to be called commander in chief, there should something tangible on your resume to suggest that title has been earned and not handed to you by a super PAC. It was our 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said, "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can."

The third change I would like to see may seem small, but it's a long overdue amendment: Raise the age of eligibility to run for president from 35 to 45 -- and cap it at 70.

And in this same vein, it would also make sense to establish term limits on members of Congress, and cap the amount of money one can spend on elections.

If we all take a look around, we'll see a good chunk of our political process has been kidnapped by career politicians and lobbyists, working to serve each other more than the American people. In order to rescue this process we must do what Jefferson encouraged us to do -- adapt.


And I believe such changes should -- no, need to -- start at the top.

Some very thoughtful points. And hopefully not partisan so it is something we could all discuss?

Here is a link that might be useful: source

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I will agree with you on this. The four year term is too short. A six year, one term only, makes more sense. This running for re-election is not the best way to run a business, it's more like buying votes.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 2:27PM
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I have thought that for a decade, Agnes.

A six year service for all elected political officials, with the inabililty to campaign for anyone or make any statements about those who run to replace them, either party - nothing. Keep the win as pure as possible - they win, they go in for six years and do the job and nothing but - then leave and let the next guy, whoever it is, whatever party it is, do the campaign attempt for same. The party could help promote the next guy, those doing the jobs couldn't even comment on the people running or the platforms they were running on.

Couldn't run again for the same political office again for six years.

This includes all congressmen and senators.

It would go a long way in more effective governing.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 2:40PM
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There are so many things I would like to see changed when it comes to how our governmental processes work, it wouldn't be worth my time to write them all out. It might end up looking more like a book!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 3:02PM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

For some, 4 years is too short. For others it's 5 years too long.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 10:20PM
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I have thought that it would be a good thing if they had to run without the backing of a political party. But I really don't see how that could happen.

But suppose, just suppose for fun, that a guy (or gal) had to run on what HE or SHE really thought and not what some group thought would bring in the most votes.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 10:43PM
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But suppose, just suppose for fun, that a guy (or gal) had to run on what HE or SHE really thought and not what some group thought would bring in the most votes.

That would be great, agnes.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:21AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Maybe we could take TV out of the equation and we vote like the Voice.

You vote without seeing what they look like. I think without the visual you listen closer. I do that sometime when I want to remember something. I close my eyes and say repeat the comment and try to blank out the face that was associated with the comment.

I do that alot with Romney because he has a look that is so stiff I block out what he is saying.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:03AM
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When you talk about changing terms you need to think about some of the unexpected effects. Any president in his first term has the possibility of a second with possibly his party in charge in congress-it is that equation that fuels alot of the powerbroking that goes on between parties-the usual horse trading that has not been going on these past few years-then in the very first part of a second term a president has a short period of effectiveness and then goes into Lameduckness-if you have one term presidents you still get Lameduck syndrome but you would get it in the one and only term-so you arent going to get your extra effective years after all. Congress works by trading favors-and when they wont trade favors nothing works.

I really disagree with the idea that a president must have military service.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

Some presidents spend one year as the president and four or more years as the candidate.

Six years would end that campaign trail and wasted money, and allow the president to actually govern instead of campaign.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Yes, Congress works by trading favors. We all know this.

Is this the best way to run a county?

What would happen if somehow we elected people that did what was best for everyone, rather than just those in their little section of the USA?

The first clue that such a thing was happening would be that maybe taxes would drop a little and the Government would spend less money doing less things.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 2:13PM
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As long as they don't already have the beginning stage of Alzheimer's, everyone around them knows it, and covers up for it while running for his second term, I'd say that the average president probably gives at least 2 1/2 years of his best efforts, however good or poor those efforts might be.

After that, I agree that the campaign for a second term begins, even while working.

That is why I support a six year term, period - unable to even comment on anyone at all running anywhere at all. Do the best job he/she is capable of doing, go home. It's enough time to get some things of real value accomplished, and at the worse case scenario (ie: the Bushjr/Cheney years), not so long that damage can't be repaired.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 2:30PM
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