Frequent viewers of cable TV news have recently seen President Obama on the midterm election warpath. The return of the noticeably grayer former president was succinctly summarized this past weekend by the New York Times headline, “Once Reluctant to Speak Out, an Energized Obama Now Calls Out His Successor.”
The NYT piece also referenced the former president’s popularity: “A poll by CNN this year found that 66 percent had a favorable view of him, far more than those who approve of Mr. Trump’s performance in office.”
Whether or not one is an Obama fan we can all agree that once again, he has mesmerized the media, resulting in Trump vs. Obama split-screen coverage. Both presidents rallied thousands of faithful activists with polar opposite messages neatly described as: “The country is great again because of me” vs. “The country is going to hell because of him.”
It’s clear that Obama relishes being back on center stage as the most popular Democratic leader without any competition. For that, he can thank the #MeToo movement which has thoroughly diminished the campaign presence of former big-dog, William Jefferson Clinton by virtually locking the 42nd president in a Chappaqua kennel, oh, I mean mansion.
Two political observations come to mind.
First, the Democrats’ (and the media’s) enthusiasm for the “return” of an “energized Obama” only further accentuates the leadership void plaguing the Democratic Party heading into the 2020 presidential season. How ironic that starting around 2014 then-President Obama did not encourage or support his loyal Vice President, Joe Biden to run for his proverbial “third term” in 2016. Instead, Obama tapped Hillary Clinton and the rest is history.
And now Biden, who would turn 78-years-old in 2020, has emerged as the Democrat “frontrunner.” But does anyone seriously think that Biden will win the nomination of his party with voters that look increasing less like Biden in age, sex, and skin color?
My second political observation is combined with a historical thank you.
After closely watching former President Obama on the campaign trail, I firmly believe that if not for the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting the president of the United States to two elected four-year terms, that he would run in 2020 to eliminate the “former” in his current title. And, given the media’s well-documented “slobbering love affair” with the 44th president, it is likely that he could win.
In the past, I have written about the 22nd Amendment because I find its passage and ratification a fascinating fluke of political history. Hindsight proves that it was through the narrowest window that Republicans — reacting to Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four victorious presidential elections — were able to pass an amendment that dramatically altered the course of the presidency, and ultimately the nation.
The math behind this achievement speaks for itself.
From January 1933 until January 1995, the Republicans controlled Congress only twice for a total of four out of 62 years. In 1947, during one of those years, the 80th Congress in session from January 1947 to January 1949 passed a bill that later became the 22nd Amendment. Not until four years later on February 27, 1951, was the presidential term-limiting amendment ratified by the required three-quarters of the states.
Decades later, would a relatively young president like Bill Clinton have run for his third term in 2000 if not for the 22nd Amendment? My answer to that question is “yes.”
Would Obama have run for his third term in 2016? Again, my answer is not only “yes,” but “heck, yes.”
The glee that Obama recently displayed on the midterm stage while holding court and basking in the limelight, could not be contained. Watching him, I thanked the 1947 Republicans.
However, today I read new 2020 poll research by Axios showing that former First Lady Michelle Obama when matched against President Trump, defeats him by a margin of 55 to 42 percent. Then I asked myself, “Should there be a constitutional amendment that also limits First Ladies to their husband’s two four-year terms?”
This proposed 28th Amendment could be called, “28 and #MeToo.”