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Despite Ocasio-Cortez Claim, Presidential Term Limits Proposed Well Before FDR

By Luis Arellano

Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez may need another history lesson. The rising Democratic star appeared confused about the presidency of her party’s iconic leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and constitutional history.

“They had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get reelected,” she said at an MSNBC network event last week.

The 22nd amendment limiting all future U.S. Presidents to two-terms was passed by Congress in 1947. However, the idea of limiting the presidency to two terms well-predate the 20th with Congress considering the issue as early as the 18th century.

To defend her claim, Ocasio-Cortez has said that Newsweek and the National Constitution Center supported her view. However, a new blog post today from the National Constitution Center (NCC) sought to clarify that as a non-partisan institution the NCC took no side in the ongoing debate.

Historians agree that the 22nd amendment was passed to codify the two-term tradition set by George Washington and adhered to by every president who followed him until FDR, who won a record four terms.

The NCC article points out that the first proposed amendment to create presidential term limits was submitted to Congress in 1788 by Rep. Thomas Tucker — the year after George Washington left office.

Washington’s message was that the president was not a king who ruled for life. A message that has resonated with American lawmakers down through the centuries.

“The National Archives’s “Amending America” project shows that presidential term limit motions appeared in Congress greater than the next 140 years regularly,” wrote Scott Bomboy at the NCC website “with the first possible amendment submitted to Congress in 1788 by Thomas Tucker.  In his 1897 report to the American Historical Association, Herman V. Ames listed 125 versions of presidential term limit amendments proposed to Congress between 1788 and 1896.”

FDR had been dead by then for nearly two years, having died on April 12, 1945, in the first months of his fourth term in office when the 22nd Amendment was passed.

Surprisingly no one in the audience commented on the slip, and video recordings show audience members nodding in agreement that the amendment aimed to curtail the power of the Democrats. In fact, President Truman was explicitly exempted from the two-term limit but, decided not to seek election in 1952. Theodore Roosevelt, who finished President William McKinley’s term after his assassination in 1901, and then won re-election in 1904, did not run in 1908 but did seek what would have technically been a third term in 1912. However, he did so without the consent of the Republican Party. Mounting a third-party effort for the presidency he lost a three-way race to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

“Interesting that no one in the audience seems to gasp when she makes the error,” wrote David Boaz, the Executive Vice President of The Cato Institute in a tweet following Ocasio-Cortez’s statement.

Ocasio-Cortez has refused to apologize for the slip, pointing out that Newsweek and the National Constitution Center have seemingly bolstered her obviously false claim – if the sole aim was to block FDR‘s re-election the point was moot in 1945 – by saying that people opposed to FDR, first proposed the amendment. Prior to the amendments’ adoption, Republican presidential candidates in 1940 in 1944 did call for term limits (as had the Democrats in 1912 given ambitions of the another President Roosevelt) by 1947 however the FDR issue was moot as deference to Washington took center stage. The amendment was not ratified by the states until 1951.

Ocasio-Cortez’s knowledge of American history and government structure have been criticized in the past. She notably confused the three branches of the federal government in 2018 with the two chambers of Congress ( the House and Senate).

Source: American Media Institute

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One Comment

  1. One day AOC isn’t going to have Saikat Chakeabarti and Alexandria Rojas (Justice Democrats) there to tell her what to say to the Truth. You know; One equals One? The Truth Truth? What’s she gonna do? Blame them? Yup – to no affect!

    Every human being is “aware” of truth. We are so hard wired into it that even when you argue that “truth is relative” you make an absolute out of relative truth – especially if you argue the point to ALL truth. In other words you cannot tell a lie unless you have some truth to tell it about.

    Heaven and hell are colloquialism – in the human mind. The reality of these States of “being” are arguably unimaginable but of the two hell is completely incomprehensible. We have no grasp of WHAT it is like to exist without Truth – absolute truth! But when the Truth tells you; “depart from Me!” you will be permanently separated from absolute truth without even the grounds to rationalize relative truth. You will be literally LOST from Truth!!

    Not many of you will grasp this horrendous, inexpressible condition! Most of you will rationalize it away – which, truth be told – is WHAT human being do when they cannot grasp the Truth But every Lie-Monger is going to find out first hand! If you don’t believe me, step off of a tall cliff and rationalize your way out of the results!

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