HOT BLAST: How about a seven-year term for U.S. president?
May 06, 2013 | 2904 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
I'm a sucker for good letters to the editor, and one in last Sunday's New York Times got me to thinking.

The writer, Nick Browning of Lexington, Mass., made a case for amending the U.S. Constitution to change the term for presidents from four years to seven. His premise is that election cycles are too short and that a longer term would make presidents more accountable and effective.

Fire away with your criticisms. I'm sure they are many.

Nevertheless, Browning wrote, "Our current political cycles are too short and too much dominated by the exhausting critiques of an omnivorous media, more desperate for gossip than wisdom. Political opposition has become a nonstop competitive enterprise rather than a principled dialogue. Would we not be better served by some structural changes to our very old system?"

He added, "And then we must trust that we have made a wise choice. We would allow the man or woman in the office to mature in the job, and disentangle that person from preoccupations with a second term."

Grant that anyone's entitled to their opinion, and that even Browning's opinion is grounded in logic and fact. He's right that the current political cycle is dominated by partisanship and preparing for the next election. The countdown to 2016 has already started, by the way.

But if you think either Congress or the American people are prepared to accept a fundamental change in how the presidency is shaped, well, you're likely mistaken. The presidency has been a four-year term since our nation began, and it wasn't until after the FDR years that we changed the term limits to two.

Nevertheless, it's an interesting, if not impossible, discussion.

-- Phillip Tutor

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