The Spectacle Blog

Professor Zimmerman Really Does Want to End Presidential Term Limits: A Correction

By on 12.2.13 | 7:00PM

If you read today’s piece titled “Why I Want Obama to Run in 2016” you will know it was inspired by New York University history professor Jonathan Zimmerman’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post which argued that the 22nd Amendment should be done away with and President Obama should be permitted to seek a third term in the White House.

I asserted that Zimmerman wasn’t a genuine advocate for the repeal of the 22nd Amendment, but rather simply wanted Obama to be President for Life. I made this argument based on his advocacy for Obama in a Washington Post article he wrote the day after the 2008 election. I wrote, “Those aren’t the words of someone who wanted George W. Bush to seek a third term.”

However, when I returned home this evening I found an e-mail awaiting me from NYU’s Media Relations Department. The correspondence alerted me to an article Zimmerman wrote for the Christian Science Monitor in December 2006 in which he argued for the abolition of presidential term limits. Zimmerman writes, “That’s why we need to let Mr. Bush — and all future presidents — run as many times as they like.”

Now if one reads Zimmerman’s 2006 article and compares it with the article he wrote a few days ago (not to mention the article he wrote after Obama’s election), it is clear that he does not hold Bush in the same regard as Obama. Nevertheless, it is clear that Zimmerman wants to abolish presidential term limits regardless of whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House.

Prior to writing this piece, I had tried to find an article in which Zimmerman was OK with Bush seeking a third term. I could not and proceeded with the article as it is presently written. Clearly, I did not look hard enough. That’s my fault.

I will state that the final ten paragraphs of the article do reflect my views on the question of President Obama seeking a third term. But had I been more diligent the beginning of the article would have been written differently. For that I apologize to Professor Zimmerman for not accurately representing his views on presidential term limits.



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