Pin It
Favorite

Trail Mix 

Bing Crosby on the single six-year presidential term

click to enlarge art17729.jpg

Must Be Some Kind of Record

Quick, guess how many different Republicans have led in the presidential polls since the race started? (Hint: It’s a lot.) Bonus points if you can name them all. Find the answers at the end of this column.

One Term or Two?

Little-known fact about Spokane’s own Bing Crosby — as a student at Gonzaga High School and later the University, he excelled at elocution and debate. In those days, they held public speaking contests, and according to the school magazine, Gonzaga (which was published between 1910-22), Crosby showed early signs of captivating an audience in 1919 at St. Aloysius Hall when he recited Poe’s “The Bells” to great acclaim. He finished his evening, Gonzaga documents, in a debate over whether the president should be limited to a single, six-year term.

When I read that passage in Gary Giddins’ A Pocketful of Dreams, it felt like déjà vu. I’ve been thinking about that same thing for years.

So have a lot of people, it turns out. The idea actually predates Bing — by a lot. It was brought to a vote during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and failed. Jimmy Carter and a dozen other presidents came to embrace the reform. Even de Tocqueville saw America’s future when he commented that “the desire to be re-elected is the chief aim of the president.”

Think about it: You are elected president, and instead of the 18- to 24-month honeymoon, it would be more like four or five years. Without the hyper-partisanship of a looming election, a president could actually take some tough stands and get some work done. Especially after a term like this, where opponents in Congress have sat on their hands, it might be time to reconsider this change — which has been proposed in Congress hundreds of times since 1826.

Not everyone agrees. In 1986, the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. argued against the idea in the New York Times. “A single six-year term would release presidents from the test of submitting their records to the voters,” Schlesinger wrote. “It would enshrine the ‘president-knows-best’ myth, which has already got us into sufficient trouble as a nation.” He also pointed out that George Washington thought America should not, by law, deny itself good leadership.

Crosby, for the record, argued against the single six-year term in his debate all those years ago.

And the Answer is…

Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney. Each of these 11 people polled the highest nationally among Republican presidential contenders at least once starting in the spring of 2009.

  • Pin It

Speaking of...

  • Recall and Response
  • Recall and Response

    The attempt to remove Spokane Mayor David Condon from office may be a long shot, but he isn't taking any chances
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Ugly Breakup
  • Ugly Breakup

    The long-running rift between the mayor and the city council president just got worse
    • Jun 9, 2016
  • Beggs for a Solution
  • Beggs for a Solution

    In the three months Breean Beggs has been on the council, he's pitched out-of-the-box ideas for some of the city's stickiest problems
    • Jun 2, 2016
  • More »

Latest in Comment

  • Class Act
  • Class Act

    Seeing through money differences can build relationships focused on fairness
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Don's Ultimate Con
  • Don's Ultimate Con

    Trail Mix: Trump's birther problems and Johnson's polls
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Transparent Motives
  • Transparent Motives

    One candidate's an open book; the other is shrouded in secrecy. Guess which one isn't transparent enough
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 6

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • After the Deluge
  • After the Deluge

    Cleaning up Trump's hot mess is going to take some heroic leadership
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • <b>From Crimson &#10;to Purple</b>
  • From Crimson to Purple

    Bob Gregory was a Spokane-bred Cougar through and through; now he's prowling the sidelines for the Huskies
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • Staying Engaged
  • Staying Engaged

    From the Mayfair Cafe to Central Park
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Chasing Whales
  • Chasing Whales

    Let's focus less on courting big companies and focus more on nurturing big ideas
    • Feb 5, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation