Second terms and three strikes

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

The poll became public, and the battle lines continue to be drawn as White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer made the rounds of last Sunday’s talk shows, defending President Obama.

“Here’s the cardinal rule … for all White Houses,” Pfeiffer said, “you do not interfere in an independent investigation, and you do not do anything to give off the appearance of interference in an independent investigation.”

Conversely, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the White House might not have commanded Internal Revenue agents to target conservative groups, but a “culture of intimidation throughout the administration” made them think it was acceptable. The president of The Associated Press says the government’s seizure of AP journalists’ phone records was “unconstitutional” and already has had a chilling effect on news gathering. Gary Pruitt, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said the Justice Department’s secret subpoena of reporters’ phone records has made sources less willing to talk to AP journalists.

Let’s have a president serve one, six-year term, be totally focused on the job at hand, and remove the time lost traveling around the nation for 18 months campaigning for the right to validate the first term with a second term.

Simply put, the power of the presidency, the desire to retain that power and the legacy of not being reelected creates far too great an opportunity to see overzealous subordinates cross the line and create scandals that distract the nation.

Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@newmarketpressvt.com or dan@denpubs.com.

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