When Michael R. Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, stepped to the microphone last Thursday at City Hall to announce that he would probably run for a third term even though he was limited by law to two terms, he was framed by a huge portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the New York delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
Hamilton, an aristocrat, businessman and the nation’s first Treasury secretary, argued at that convention that, absent corruption, officeholders should be allowed to serve as long as they chose — for life, even. His fellow founding fathers decided that was a bad idea.
As for Mr. Bloomberg, a packed press corps asked whether there wasn’t something undemocratic about his effort to persuade the City Council to whisk away term limits — which the public voted for twice — and engineer a third term. Sure, he likes the job, and sure, he’s very good at it, but there is that will-of-the-people thing.
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