Bloomberg Goes for Three

September 30, 2008

Capitalizing on the impression that he’s the right guy to steer the ship in a financial meltdown, Michael Bloomberg is likely to try to remove rules preventing him from running for a third term. I’m with Yglesias in yawning about this. Term limits are fundamentally undemocratic. Of course, that’s not enough to say that they’re a bad idea. All democracies have plenty of provisions that prevent 51% of the people from getting what they want in a wide range of circumstances. Some of these provisions are obviously a good idea, eg the Constitution. Others, I’m not so happy about, notably unchecked legislative power for the Supreme Court.

Like Yglesias, I don’t have particularly strong feelings about which camp term limits fall in, but I think the default position should always be to oppose anything comes between the voter and what he wants – unless we’re going to go all out and establish an enlightened despotism, of which I am of course in favor, provided we choose the right despot. So until someone gives me a compelling argument for why term limits are necessary, I’m inclined to think we shold scrap them.

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