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Opening Arguments

One and done

An intriguing idea:

Back in December of 2013 I wrote a piece called “Why One Six-Year Presidential Term Would Be Good for America.” At that time President Obama was struggling, wrapping up his fifth year in office with three long years to go.

Now as Obama closes in on year six, his presidency has gone from bad to worse, with widespread bipartisan agreement that his second term is shaping up to be an unmitigated disaster.

So imagine the collective national sigh of relief if next month Americans were poised to elect our 45th president.

Even President Obama would likely be relieved, in light of numerous reports that he has largely ”checked out” of the presidency and is looking forward to his post-presidency — with all the trappings and no real responsibility.

The strongest argument for one six-year term is the “second-term curse.” The last four two-term presidents – starting with Nixon and going forward with Reagan, Clinton, and Bush – all had difficulty in their second terms.

Resignation, scandals, impeachment, and total economic meltdown – was it just a coincidence that all four of these presidencies unraveled in years six through eight? (Reagan’s unraveled the least, but Iran-Contra was a huge distraction.)

Since the president is already limited to eight years, this doesn't seem like that radical a change. I can see a president free from political pressure being bolder and more imaginative. It's tempting to worry that we'd be throwing away a chance to remove a really bad president after four years, but, hell, it's not like we take advantage of that power.