AOC, FDR and the 22nd Amendment


"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was lambasted on Twitter and in the media for confusing the facts while waxing lyrical about the Democratic golden age of the 1930s and 1940s—but was she actually right?

“When our party was boldest, the time of the New Deal, the Great Society, the Civil Rights Act and so on, we had, and carried, supermajorities in the House, in the Senate. We carried the presidency,” Ocasio-Cortez said Friday while speaking on MSNBC with Chris Hayes.

“They had to amend the constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get reelected. There were so many extraordinary things that were happening at that time that were uniting working people,” she continued.

The New York congresswoman’s comments divided Twitter users, with detractors accusing her of fiddling with the facts around the 22nd Amendment and the fourth term served by 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt."  newsweek


I could read when I was four years old.  My father taught me using the comics section of the newspapers as a first text.  I particularly looked forward to Sundays and the multi-colored, multi-paged section.  Soo, pilgrims, I remember FDR's death and the banner headlines.  1945 it was and the specter of Harry Truman as president left a lot of people breathless.  It is true that there had been talk of the need to find a way to restore the Washingtonian tradition of not more than two terms for a president.  I remember listening to my parents discuss the matter while we sat around the giant wooden cabinet of the big living room radio of the time.

Roosevelt died.  His ill health had always been well concealed, so his death was unexpected.  The war was still a going thing in the Pacific and it was just ending in Europe.  Nuclear weapons appeared on the historical stage and after VJ Day hordes of servicemen returned home.  The country was busy but by 1947 someone(s) in Congress was ready to act in favor of the two term tradition.

The amendment passed in both houses of Congress and the ratification process was completed in 1951.  There was general bipartisan  agreement throughout the country.  There have been several attempts at repeal.  None have gained much traction.

Clearly, the country has not wanted the emergence of presidents who serve for life. 

AOC evidently has not bothered to inform herself of the basic constitutional history of the United States.  She insisted in the course of a media event that the Republicans in Congress had changed the constitution to prevent FDR's re-election.  How on earth did she get such an idea?

The Republicans tried hard to defeat FDR's desire for a fourth term in 1944 but the feeling was strong in the country that he had somehow magically ended the great depression, that he was the ultimate war leader and that was enough to re-elect him.

Why doesn't this woman who presumes to have a grand vision for the re-organization of our lives know the basic history of the country?  Why?

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