When FDR died less than three months after he was sworn into office for his fourth term the country took a deep breath of relief. It wasn’t that he was unpopular for he was highly popular. That was the problem. He had just started his fourth term and his health was poor and if his health affected his ability to govern few in the country were pleased with the thought that Eleanor Roosevelt might be making presidential decision..
There was a legitimate fear that could happen. It had not been many years since the previous Democratic president also became ill in office. Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke on October 12, 1919, yet continued as president until March 4, 1921, almost a year and a half although he had been disabled by it. Essentially unable to carry on with his duties his wife took over. In effect she was the country’s president for 17 months prohibiting almost everyone from seeing him. She would take messages in to him and come back and tell the people seeking answers what she said he wanted done. As sick as he was, Wilson gave thought to running for a third term. It is hard to get the thrill of being president out of the blood.
The idea of the wives of presidents taking over the country did not settle well with most people. Nor did the idea of having another president serve four terms. Even worse was the idea of becoming like a banana republic where power remains in the hands of a few families for long periods.
FDR showed it was probable that a popular demagogue could get elected endlessly. This was something almost all feared To remedy the situation the twenty-second amendment to the Constitutional was ratified which limited a president to two elected terms. The idea was to get fresh faces into the office and deprive one small group of taking over the government.
Unfortunately it did not go far enough. It should have included close relatives of the president. The first breach of the spirit of that law was with the Bush father/son act. We saw how that worked out. As bad as it was the Bushes tried to take a shot again. The people by that time having had a hiatus shooed the third member of the family away.
Now we have a real breach in the spirit of law. Bill Clinton who had the hardest time leaving the presidency after his tawdry term — remember his news conference at the airport after Bush was sworn in — has used the powers and connections he assumed while president not only to get rich but to put the fix in so his wife secured the Democratic nomination so that she could to vie for the job of president.
Hillary has a great chance of winning. Now suppose she is not a well women. She will be one of the oldest persons ever elected to the position. Who do you think will be back in the saddle again should she be unable to function? That’s right, it will be Bill doing a third and possible fourth term.
With the Clintons penchant for secrecy if Hillary shed her earthly bonds we’d never know it until Bill governed secretly for a as long as he could. LIke Wilson’s wife he’d keep people from seeing the corpse. He’d have it hidden by one of his cronies. He would pretend to carry messages to the woman in the room and return with answers. He’d carry this out as long as he could. Then when it became impossible to keep up the facade he’d come on television biting his lower lip to tell us she passed away and was immediately cremated.
He’d then offer someone in better health to the Democrats as its next candidate for president, his daughter Chelsea. You have to hand it to slick Willy.