Sunday, April 15, 2007

Six Years and Out

Retired General Anthony Zinni was one of Tim Russert's guests on Meet the Press this morning. He said several interesting things.

He suggested that U.S. Presidents should be limited to one six year term. Once elected they should become "elder statesman". I think the idea is, they would remove themselves from partisan political debates. General Zinni was dismayed that more people knew the name of the White House Political officer (Karl Rove) than knew the name of the National Security Advisor (Stephen Hadley).

This was a theme echoed by Torie Clarke on This Week on ABC which generated a small discussion about the amount of partisan politics being pursued inside the White House.

The President lives in a world of politics so a political advisor will aways be needed to help garner political support for the President's policies, but is having a PARTISAN political advisor intimately involved in every decision in the best interests of the entire country? Why should the number one partisan political advisor have an office in the White House? And this certainly applies whether the President is a Republican or a Democrat.

One of the reasons this came up was the missing emails that might document Karl Rove's involvement in the recent firing of several U.S. Prosecutors. From this investigation we found out that at least some White House officials were given email accounts on the Republican National Committee's email server. The idea was that the government should not be paying for partisan communications. Of course, it also allowed this communication, where one end was in the White House, from being subject to retention and disclosure laws that apply to White House emails. I'm with Torie Clarke (if I correctly understood her position), if you work in the White House, any communications that take place there fall under the rules of the White House.

A President is elected and then spends 8 years trying to get re-elected. When he (or maybe someday, she) isn't working on their own re-election they are trying to elect or re-elect members of their party. I don't see how that can be good for the country.

I don't know how a President decides when to pursue policies that are best for the country and when to pursue policies that are best for his political party, but it has to make his decision making process more difficult. I think that would make an interesting question for our Presidential candidates. I doubt you would get an honest answer out of any of them, so the best answer will be the one with the least BS.

Six years seems like a long time for a single term, but people tend to re-elect a President. Six years doesn't sound too bad when you realize that Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, as bad as they were and are, were reelected.

How about a six year term with a referendum at the three year mark? There would be no opponent, just a vote as to whether the President will get three more years or would face a full election the during the fourth year.

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