Letters to the Editor. Politics -- American style
As I read your article on the two-term limit on the presidency I wondered if there isn't something to be said on the positive side [``2-term presidents,'' Sept. 19]. Several states and many local authorities have caps on how long governors or other elected officials can serve. There seems to be no move to eliminate these limitations. The 22nd Amendment only codified a tradition which had been observed for almost 150 years. Charlotte Saikowski tells us in ``Reshaping the Supreme Court'' (Sept. 18) that over the years the court ``has generally supported the expanding power of the presidency.'' It follows that what clout a second-term president loses with the possibility of a third term eliminated is at least partially balanced by this pattern of decisions. If we want to be protected against the long ``reign'' of a president whose chi ef asset might be, for instance, a talent for exploiting the modern media world, we might think twice before abolishing the two-term limitation. James K. Penfield Longbranch, Wash.
Your otherwise excellent story on political campaign reform contains the old canard that ``the airwaves are public property'' [``Trying to make presidential elections more compelling and less expensive,'' Sept. 20]. Far from it. Airwaves, except those generated by public entities, are the creation of private entrepreneurs. They are the product the station operator sells. To grant politicians free access to these airwaves is confiscation without compensation.
Since we all abhor the expense of electronic campaigns, perhaps a better solution is to ban all broadcast political advertising, paid for or not. From a moral and constitutional standpoint this is repugnant, but at least it spares us from the hucksterings of politicians. H. L. Gatchell Jr. San Pablo, Calif.
Until we can convince people that registering and voting can make a difference, we have no hope in raising the voting figures significantly.
Also, raising the limits on individual contributions to whatever amount you want probably won't make much difference. It is easy to get around the thousand-dollar limit. More important is the checkoff system on the 1040 tax form, which the President wants to eliminate. This method provides millions of dollars for the presidential campaign and helps offset its high cost, while it also keeps candidates from dipping further into the till of pressure groups. J. T. Moore Ponca, Okla.
Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''