Stop the Madness
Lo these many years later I can't think of any reason this could be a bad thing.
Think about this. Wouldn't it be great if a new President would not reduce the role of his office to being headquarters for a 4-year re-election campaign? And wouldn't it be cool if the opposing party in the House and Senate would not spend most of a president's term actively undermining any and all presidential initiatives in the preparation for the next election campaign? I've always found it fascinating that, save for maybe parts of year 1 in a president's first term, everything else is political showmanship having nothing whatsoever to do with the good of the country at large.
It's the fault of both parties. The first year of a new presidency is just an introduction to the job, a little jabbing on both sides but mostly dancing around getting warmed up. The second year the president actually acts like a president, good or bad. Trying to do stuff. Not so concerned about how this will play in the next election. But then, blammo. Just two years in, and it's time to start looking at the next campaign. On the one side, the president starts going out of his way to do things uniquely partisan, obviously not of the opposing party's agenda. And the opposing party, on the other hand, starts working the other side just as tactically. It gets only worse into year 4, and leading up to the election there is a complete freeze in accomplishment of any kind. So 75% of the presidency wasted. Three years of partisanship to determine the incumbent party during the next 4 year fight.
In the case of a six year, decidedly "lame duck" term, the incumbent president would never ever be a campaigning candidate. How sweet would that be? And lest you think the president would merely be a wild-eyed supporter of his Vice-President and spend a good couple years making him look good, I have a couple of responses.
1. Yeah, right. There is no way that a president limited to a single term, of any length, would waste any of his precious political capital on anything but his own legacy. Even if he did spend time supporting his brother-in-arms, it would probably occur in the final 6 or 10 months leading up to the election during the course of his otherwise busy schedule. That's perhaps 8% of his White-House residency, if it were a 6-year term. The other 92% would be spent, I don't know, working with Congress, trying to leave a superlative impression in his only shot in the big-leagues. You know, trying to be a great president, not a strong incumbent candidate.
2. Usually the VP is the proverbial enemy held close to the vest. (This current Top Two, Bush and Cheney, is by far the most brotherly I've ever seen in my lifetime. But this is an anomoly.) For the most part, at convention time, the VP candidate is usually chosen by the party nominee from a short list of his most ardent opponents in the primary season. It makes for a strong ticket but only by combining two people with quite different positions. A successfully elected president, come the 5th or 6th year of a single term, would have no more interest in supporting his VP than any number of fellow party members.
Well, like I said, it was all a long time ago so this is not a re-hashing of a thesis. It's not even a good recollection of one.