Back in the late 1940s, when Republicans were promoting the adoption of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it seemed that never again would the nation have so strong, so popular, so commanding a leader as "That Man," Franklin D. Roosevelt. And if one came along, Republicans wanted to make sure that such a person could never serve more than two terms as President of the United States.
The worm, as usual, turns. The amendment, which went into force in 1951, first prevented Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower from seeking a third term, should he have wanted to. Now it is effective a second time, barring Republican Ronald Reagan from running again.
The Republicans are right: The 22nd Amendment should be repealed. There should be no illusions, however, that this is a way to get Ronald Reagan to seek another four years in office.
Reagan, to his credit, began talking about repeal in press interviews some time ago. More recently the President has promoted the idea in public speeches. But, after tantalizing his audiences for a moment, he makes it clear that his proposal should not, and would not, apply to him. Nevertheless, Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (R-Mich.) has launched a campaign with the impractical and impossible goal of changing the Constitution in time to make Reagan eligible for a third term.