In the last one hundred and sixty-four years, the United States has patched up its Constitution twenty-two times. The latest patch was applied early this week, and it is a pity that a change so drastic as the Twenty-second Amendment should have been put through mainly as an expression of spite against an ex-President.
Congressional reaction to the amendment shows that it was mainly directed against President Roosevelt. Men who had fought Roosevelt for sixteen years were jubilant. Administration supporters, like House Majority Leader MacCormack, said the new rule was "fraught with danger for future generations of Americans."
Neither extreme is justified. The two-term limit is not, as Representative Joe Martin claims, a "victory over totalitarianism." Georgia has had a one-term limit on its governors, who have hardly been models of democratic statesmen. Nor will it destroy the freedom of choice between parties which is the important part of elections today.
The Twenty-second Amendment will limit personal choice. It will force presidents to pick their successors rather than try again for office. These are limitations which would have been better left for the voters to decide on merit in each individual case.