January 7, 2013
Is 2013 going to be the year of political insanity? We have only made it through the first week and thus far seen gun control bills, measures to raise taxes on 77% of Americans, and the list goes on. But the tour through the loony bin isn’t over yet, we have another attempt to consolidate power to the executive branch.
Last Friday, Democratic Rep. Jose Serrano of New York, introduced the bill H.J.Res.15 to Congress that would repeal the 22nd amendment. Basically the repeal would allow presidents to serve more than two terms and essentially become a dictator. As it stands, the 22nd amendment says, “No person shall be elected to the office of the president more than twice…”
Serrano’s bill states, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of United States to repeal the 22nd article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as president.” It should be noted, that he has submitted this bill several times over past administrations. Although some may regard this bill as an “unserious proposal” one could see the public warming up to the idea of a limitless term of office if it was applied to a well-liked president.
FDR was the last president to serve more than 4-8 years, before then it was an unwritten law to only serve for two terms. Even George Washington when urged to serve another term refused to do so at the end of his eight-year tenure. A statesman from Virginia named Richard Henry Lee said that having a lack of term limits is “dangerously oligarchic”. However, it wouldn’t be until 1947 that such an amendment would be created.
During George W. Bush’s administration, the former president in PDD 51 gave the executive branch absolute power over the other two branches of government during a catastrophe in a secretive Continuity of Government program. The executive order is not a new action but in the last three administrations they have been used to move the bar closer to an American dictatorship. To make matters worse, executive orders have to be renewed by each administration and to date no sitting president has ever vetoed one that gives them more power.
Whether or not H.J.Res.15 is taken seriously by Congress will be determined by how close we are to a situation that would activate a COG scenario. Currently the president already has the “right” by executive fiat to consolidate power judicially and legislatively unto himself, can control the distribution of food and products, availability of healthcare and medicine, marketing of gasoline, various forms of civilian transportation, and other invasive acts that violate the separation of powers and civil liberties. It is too early to say with any certainty when this could happen but it is important to keep in mind that the authoritarians have all the tools at their disposal. All they are waiting on is the right moment.