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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

For the record

This three-term thing is Bullshit. I like Bloomberg just fine. He's a good mayor. But term-limits are fucking sacred. Period. You get your time at the wheel, and then move on, like it or not. It's a part of the fabric of our system.


David Johnston said...

Totally disagree. The only reason we have term limits in New York - the only reason - is Ron Lauder hated Guiliani's guts, so he threw a shitload of money at a term limit campaign. Twice. Well-intentioned law. It doesn't work. Don't like 'em? Don't vote for 'em. Simple. But it's not a matter of freedom if the one you'd like to vote for is not allowed to run again.

Aaron Riccio said...

I've often considered both sides to this argument, and I've always wondered why, in a republic like ours, we institute term limits at all. It doesn't prevent nepotism, it doesn't halt corruption, and it makes little sense to bar, say, the President and the Mayor, but give Supreme Court Justices lifetime sentences, or infinite Senate and House seats. As David says, as long as people are informed AND voting, we should allow anybody to run and simply NOT elect them if they're no good. Then again, I'm Randish like that: give the best person for the job the job. Period.

Freeman said...

I think there's no such thing as a best person: there's a good system, and a bad system. A good system enforces limits on power. We say "The best person for the job" when we like the person in power. But we also elected George Bush twice (or at least once.) He wasn't the best person for the job, but he won the election. Thankfully, he can do eight years worth of damage, and that's it.

Is two-terms an arbitrary limit? Sure, essentially. But it's a limit, and its applied equally to everyone. Like them, don't like them, they get a certain amount of time, and they go.

It's a slippery slope. People don't always VOTE their own interests, or for the best individual.

A lack term limits causes a few problems. Look at Congress. They run perpetually and are therefore in a perpetual campaign. Their votes become triangulations.

Put that sort of toxicity into the executive branches of government and see what happens. Also, frankly, look at Congress to see how hard it is to remove an incumbent in power. If we didn't have term limits, we could easily have mayors for life. And to think that somehow the idea that the incumbent is chosen repeatedly because he or she has proven without a doubt infallibly good at his or her job is naive. To say the least.

We have to create a system that protects against abuse. It may not always award our favorite leaders, but it's hard to say that Bloomberg will be hobbled by only being Mayor for eight years. He's done good work. That's enough.

Ken said...

The desire for term limits is pretty arbitrary, and really doesn't mean anything: we crave them when the assholes are in power, yet we want to strike them down to give our favorite people a little more time in the sun. I generally like Bloomberg, so I don't have much of a problem with this desire to recind the law. At least, he's saying "I'll put myself up for election, let the voters decide once again." Don't want him in for another term? Give Bill Thompson your vote.