Posted On: Monday - November 30th 2020 9:58AM MST
In Topics:   History  Liberty/Libertarianism  Dead/Ex- Presidents  Morning Constitutional
(Continued from Amendment XI, Amendment XII, Amendment XIII, Amendment XIV, Amendment XV, Part 1 on Amendment XVI, Part 2 on Amendment XVI , Part 3 on Amendment XVI, Amendment XVII, Amendment XVIII, Part 1 on Amendment XIX, Part 2 on Amendment XIX, Part 3 on Amendment XIX, Amendment XX, and Amendment XXI)
It's been a month exactly since Peak Stupidity's last morning Constitutional, and let me tell you, the Doc's not happy with that at all! Here's Amendment XXII:
Section 1Amendment XXII is the only Amendment to the US Constitution that looks like it was created on behalf of one man. It was neither created to help this man nor to punish him, as in a retroactive Bill of Attainder. No, the 22nd Amendment was made because one President, the Socialist Franklin Delano Roosevelt was not satisfied with "serving" as head of the Executive Branch for only 2 terms (8 years), but well after the fact.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.
Those of us who got some real non-SJW schooling back in the day know that one thing Americans can be really proud of is the decision of President George Washington, our 1st one, to not run for office for a 3rd term. As the General who had won the War of Independence for the colonists just a generation before, he had the popularity to keep on going, like an elected monarch. By stepping away from office, Mr. Washington showed the new nation what its new government was all about.
I'll write a post on this, as it's half-way written in my head already, but back in President Washington's time, the office really was a position to serve in. After all, these yeoman farmers had lots going on at home, and to move away from the homestead for years, without a King Air or "Essential" Air Service, he'd have had much to worry about and he'd have been leaving his normal life entirely behind. The office didn't involve running an empire back then, so the power trip was not likely the same.
From our sometimes-biased but trusty Constitution Center interpretation page:
Surprisingly, many of the Framers—including Hamilton and Madison—supported a lifetime appointment for presidents selected by Congress and not elected by the people. That would have made the presidency what Virginia’s George Mason called an “elective monarchy,” however, and when this was put to a vote it failed by only six votes to four.This time, the writers really don't have a whole lot to say about this Amendment. This one could be called just "housekeeping" language, but it's a little more than that.
There were no term limits for any office written into the US Constitution. The idea was truly that those in office were public servants and wouldn't want or need to stay for decades It was simply a convention, not any law, that the the US President would stay in office 2 terms max., until FDR came along. Franklin Roosevelt, a big piece of the New York power structure, was first elected President in 1932*, beating out Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover by 54.5% to 39.5% of the popular votes (472 to 59 EVs).
FDR won another landslide victory over R-Al Landon, with 61% to 31.5% (523 to 8 EVs) in 1936, because, the guy was supposedly getting us out of the Great Depression that whole decade**. We had to keep all that going, I guess. Then, by next Presidential election, in 1940, war was not necessarily imminent, but there were plenty of people who wanted it to be. (I'll leave that part of history to guys like Pat Buchanan and Ron Unz.) Roosevelt won an unprecedented 3rd term in 1940 election by 55% to 45% (I've been rounding to the nearest 1/2%) (449 to 82 EVs). Americans just had to "stay the course" or something. I'm guessing that's the kind of thing they were told.
Of course, by November of 1944, the Commander in Chief had us winning the war in Europe, with still a 6 month stretch of battles to go, and the war in the Pacific was on-going. You can't ditch the guy then, right? I don't agree, of course - the guy's not a General - those guys will still be doing the same job either way. After all, now with wars running for near 20 years, we switch Presidents multiple times, and just continue the "spreading of Democracy".***
Anyway, in 1944, the Presidential election was actually a slight bit closer of a race, with Roosevelt defeating R-Thomas Dewey by 53.5% to 46% (432 to 99 EVs). Look at this Wiki page for lots more detail on all of these.
That's the history, and one can see why some in the Congress and the public (of whom the majority of still voted for the guy for term4!) had had enough. What surprised me just now in looking at the dates, is that this Amendment was not even passed until March of 1947 and not ratified until February of 1951. The action in Congress was during President Harry Trumans' first term, and the ratification was in the middle of his 2nd term. One can see by the 2nd clause, looking like it's directed to help FDR, was written to help Harry Truman instead, who wanted another term that would have gotten him 11 and three-quarters years in office, had he not been beaten in the 1952 early primary in New Hampshire and promptly bailed out. (Of course, he'd have probably lost against Ike anyway - Ike beat D-Adlai Stevenson by 55% to 44% (442 to 89 EVs)). Hey, they tried for you with clause 2 of Section I, Harry, now go home.
It seems that the Congressional voters for the bill, the State legislators that voted for ratification, the writers of the interpretation page, and we at Peak Stupidity are/were all in agreement that Amendment XXII was a good one. That's what, only about 2 now, and really, Amendment XXI was nothing but a repeal of another real dud.
I guess those "public servants" in Congress and the State legislators are more civil than your current era bloggers, such as yours truly. Were I on any of these committees, I would have added a Section 3:
And fuck you, FDR, you Socialist asshole!
PS: That Section 2 of this Amendment is the same language as in 3 others: Amendments XVIII, XX, and XXI all had this language, as did the aborted ERA (hence the abortion of it). That's a good idea for the modern age, when politics is just all pervasive and goes on and on ... They all have the same 7-year limit, as, if we can't decide by then, maybe it's not some brilliant idea after all.
* As a Democrat candidate VP, Roosevelt lost the Election of 1920 to Peak Stupidity's favorite, Mr. Calvin Coolidge. who was the VP running mate of Warren G. Harding. Damn I wish I could have been there nearly a century ago, pulling the lever for my man Silent Cal back in '24!
** It just got worse in 1937 again. I will add, to be fair, that some say that if President Roosevelt hadn't implemented some of the Socialist policies, the US may have had a real time preventing Communists from taking over. I dunno...
*** Think about this: There have been 3 Presidents as Commander-in-Chiefs of the (undeclared) war in Afghanistan, 2 of them for 2 terms!
[UPDATED later on 11/30:] Per Mr. Blanc's correction, that 1920 race was the Warrent Harding defeat of James Cox. Roosevelt v. Coolidge was on the Vice-Presidential side. * Footnote corrected. Thank you, Mr. Blanc!