Talk of Guiliani and an extended or third term: anyone else disturbed by this?

First off, I want to join everyone in commending Mayor Guiliani of NYC for the incredible display of leadership he is showing.

That said: I’m sorry but the law is the law. It’s unlikely that Guiliani will be granted an extension, or be able to run for a third term.

But the fact that it is even being considered bothers me. While it could be done leagally, I feel if it were done it would setting bad precedent.

Term limits are term limits. According to the article, it looks like many New Yorkers agree. If the government usurps the voters, it violates the most basic tenant of our democratic system: the ability to choose who runs our government.

Any thoughts out there?

I agree the law should be followed. I also think term limit laws are a horribly bad idea. But if it is the law it is the law.

Agreed. He’s apparently doing a great job acting as a calming agent for the public and helping them steer towards some resumption of their jobs and lives. But you do have to ask what the point is of ever putting term limits in effect in the first place if you’re just going to legislatively by-pass them at will. I’d really like for him to be given another high profile position where he can continue to employ these skills which are needed so desperately right now but if a term limit extension is to be considered, lets vote on it in a more objective environment… one where we’re voting on the issue and not for a person.

The most basic tenets, too. You’re right, this smacks of some banana-republic dictator trying to be declared President for Life, like Marcos did. The reasons for putting term limits in are still as valid as they ever were.

But legal precedent suggests Giuliani would have a good chance of winning in the US Supreme Court, if not in a democratic system.

Rudy, you’ve been doing great since 9/11. This does NOT help your legacy.

I’m reminded of the scene in Shakepeare’s Julius Caeser where Brutus makes the speech explaining why he had to kill Caeser, to preserve the Republic. Members of the crowd, in their enthusiasm, shouted “let’s make Brutus Caeser” - contradicting the whole point of the asassination.

I think it is just a temporary enthusiasm. It will pass.

I agree with the next Mayor giving Guliani a special post, perhaps as head of the recovery and rebuilding effort. That would a classy touch.

I should emphasize that Guiliani has not commented either way as to what his intentions are. I really think the right move should have been for him to stop the idea in it’s tracks right on the spot when it was first broached.

I think it’s unfortunate that he would even discuss this.

He’s elevated blowing political capital to an art form.

Then why shouldn’t New Yorkers be allowed to choose Rudy Giuliani again? If the voters should get to choose, they should get to choose anyone. Term limits don’t broaden choices, they limit them, which is why the Supreme Court stated that term limits placed by the states on candidates for members of Congress are unconstitutional. (U.S. Term Limits Inc. v. Thornton et al.) And yes, before anyone asks, I am in favor of repealing the 22nd Amendment.


We’re discussing the related question of Do New Yorkers like Mayor Giuliani? in a thread in MPSIMS (for now, at least). There are many interesting views of the Mayor there.

In my post there I discuss why I would not support a third term for Mayor Giuliani. Essentially, I find him to have a mixed record, and believe that he has acheived his agenda, leaving it time for the City to move on.

There is nothing inherently wrong with repealing the term limit on the mayor. While I’m personally in favor of terms limits, I acknowledge that they are a means to a result, not something necessary to democracy. In this particular case, I am admittedly bothered by the fact that term limits were put in place by referendum. This doesn’t give the law any greater legal effect, but it is something that should be given respect.

So, my opinion: the legislature should consider overturning term limits, but should do so only if they consider term limits themselves to be undesirable for the Mayor of New York City, not whether Guiliani should be Mayor again. They may well come to that conclusion.

I am in complete agreement that extension of Guiliani’s term should not be considered. At the set times, the electorate should retain the right to affirm or deny whether the current mayor should be retained.


Just because he has proven himself to be excellent in a time of crisis does not increase his qualifications for future political jobs. It might garner public support, of course (if he remains a “hero”) to give him some special job or let him be mayor for longer. But I don’t believe that his comportment during this tragedy means that he’d be good for any special governmental post, unless there is one that deals in tragedy 24/7.

His record as a mayor was mixed. That doesn’t change just because he’s handling this terrible thing so well. Hell, I’m great in a crisis, but you wouldn’t want to elect me dogcatcher.

OK, why should a law enacted directly by the people not be given at least equal, if not greater, respect than a law created by the sometimes-unfaithful employees the people hire to handle the more mundane work? The Legislature is playing with fire politically, in both the narrow and broad senses, if they try to overturn that law, or any other referendum law.

And politically naive. The next mayor will have enough trouble consolidating his authority without an emotion-inspiring competitor around, especially one who is eligible to run again in 4 years. That’s especially true if the next mayor is a Democrat (Hevesi had a wide lead in the polls, as I recall).

Yes, Giuliani has done a fine job in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. But that phase will be past, and the phase of managing the rebuilding of the city will be underway, even before the change of office. An entirely different set of skills will be required, and the voters of NYC should be trusted to pick the candidate they think will do the best job in the rebuilding phase.

*Originally posted by ElvisL1ves *
[QUOTEAn entirely different set of skills will be required, and the voters of NYC should be trusted to pick the candidate they think will do the best job in the rebuilding phase. **[/QUOTE]

As long as that person isn’t a two-term incumbant?

I don’t know about repealing term limits, but I think you can make an argument for a postponement of the next election for a few months or even a year. New York is still in rough shape, and emotions are high. That’s not really conducive to a good, effective election. It might not be a bad idea to wait until spring or summer next year for a new election.

Well, first of all, I did say it should be given respect. Butcha know, this is one of those things where the amount of respect demanded depends on your leanings. A few years back, the D.C. voters rejected a referendum to institute a bottle/can refund-return program. Should the D.C. Council thereafter not consider implementing such a program, which (I presume) has beneficial environmental effects? Or in a more infamous case, the California voters approved Proposition (I forget the number), that prohibited illegal aliens from getting governmental services. Should the California legislature have left that one alone (and should the ACLU have refrained from challenging it in court)?

Absolutely, the Legislature is playing with fire if they overturn the NYC term limit law. (Caveat - most members aren’t from NYC, so the fire wouldn’t burn them directly). And yes, they should tread carefully. But they shouldn’t refuse to consider changing the law simply because it was enacted by referendum.


P.S. As you may tell, I’m torn on the issue. So don’t take my posts as being in favor of repealing the term limit - just that the idea shouldn’t be rejected out of hand. Wishy-washy, I know, but that’s where I am right now.

Guiliani is a big proponent of term limits. However, this heinous action, on the day of the primary vote, is highly unexpected. Guiliani is many things, but he does act on behalf of the city as a whole. As it is, it is probably too late for him to be a candidate, write-in or not. It is probably better that he doesn’t run, and look like he is abusing the high approval he has now, in favor of the city for the short term, and of his political outlook in the long term.

The tasks of cleaning up, rebuilding, and bringing businessess back to the World Trade Center are highly focused and demanding tasks. Guiliani as a hands-on mayor will be way too focused on this project at the expense of the rest of his duties. I say separate this project temporarily from the rest of the mayoral duties, and have him head the rebuilding project, while stepping down as mayor.

I’m not happy about Guiliani trying for a third term (I’m not a New Yorker, so what the hell does my opinion matter?), its a bad idea to ditch term limit laws simply because a short term crisis has come up and the current leader has done a fantastic job up to this point. They should give Guiliani an office as “Head of Relief Clean Up and Rebuilding” or some such once his term is up.

Personally, I’d like to see Guilani run for President. I can’t say how he’d do, but when he was up there at the podium giving those press conferences in the wee hours of the morning after the disaster, I kept saying to myself, “Damn, he looks a lot like FDR.” So at least he can look Presidential.

I hadn’t realized you were speaking in the purely political sense. My impression, given that you’re a lawyer, was that laws created by the unwashed masses should get less legal respect than those created by the elite priesthood, and it was that attitude I was questioning.

My answer to your examples, btw, is yes, the hired legislative branches should not ignore their bosses’ instructions. The reasons you cite for possibly doing so are political ones, to be decided in the political arena, and there is no more representative political arena than the entire voting-eligible populace.

*Originally posted by Tretiak *

The very same people put the NYC term limit law in place, for other very good reasons. Look at the whole picture, just like they did.