Monday, June 09, 2008

Times Right on Term Limits

We aren't always in agreement with the editorial wisdom of the NY Times, in fact the areas of agreement are few and far between. The paper's editorial today on a third term for the mayor is, however, on point for us: "We opposed term limits when New York City voters first approved them in 1993. (They were reaffirmed in 1996.) Term limits are undeniably seductive. They seem to promise relief from mediocre, self-perpetuating incumbents and from gridlocked legislatures in places like Albany. They also diminish democracy, arbitrarily deny choice, reduce accountability and squander experience."

At the same time, the Times agrees that changing the law for one man wouldn't be appropriate: "As good a mayor as Mr. Bloomberg has been, we are wary of changing the rules just to suit the ambition of a particular politician — in this country or any other. Mr. Bloomberg, should he want to continue his public service, would make an excellent prospect for other important offices."

We'll take issue with the Times' "good mayor" premise, but its point is clear: if we're going to change the term limits law it must be done on strong good government premises, not because of the need to perpetuate any one person in any one office. Or, as we have put it, the mayor should, "go in good health."