Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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One-Term McCain?

Ramesh claims that McCain would be the GOP’s strongest candidate in November and that he would make himself even stronger by pledging to serve only one term. It’s true that John doesn’t share Mitt’s or Rudy’s characteristic weaknesses; he’s not a Mormon and he’s been clear on being anti-ROE. But arguably the one-term pledge would focus attention on his (old) age, and his candidacy would focus the campaign on Iraq, which may not be to the Republicans’ advantage. And both Romney and Giuliani have that proven competence thing going for them; they’ve both been very effective executives.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Now that's silly: "vote for me and I'll be an ineffective lame duck!" (Recall Rutherford Hayes) "Bold" moves like that (including naming vice presidential nominees and cabinet spots)smack of desperation, make enemies, and end badly. Bad advice.

Plenty of GOP candidates ran in 1994 pledging that they'd only remain in Congress for a couple of terms. Does anyone have any idea how many actually kept their promise? My recollection is that very few did so.

Bizarre idea. Such a pledge is tantamount to adopting an early lame duck status. Ramesh's articles of late have left a great deal to be desired.

Louie's comment was a bullseye.

Professor Lawler, agreed. Mr. Moser, I believe many Republicans have kept their term-limits pledges. While I believe in keeping pledges, I don't believe in making this kind of pledge. Since Democratic congressmen and senators rarely make them, they amount to unilateral disarmament when our guys do it. The hard fact is that political activity -- and good policy activity -- benefit from experience in political practitioners. While a term-limited Congress might well be good, it weakens the GOP both in elections and on Capitol Hill when some of its members term-limit themselves and virtually none of the Dems do the same.
In the presidency, we should have a single six-year term. One-term-only pledges, especially since they're almost unheard-of in the history of the presidency, inherently lack credibility with voters and other politicians (though I believe one by McCain would be sincere). They also weaken the president's clout. Given that we are at war, in some sense, and given that the next Congress is likely to be Democratic, the next president (if a Republican) should have all the clout he can get.

They're drinking something pretty strong over at National Review these days.

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