Two longtime political pollsters/operatives Douglas Schoen and Patrick Caddell are suggesting that president Obama voluntarily not run for a second term. Schoen and Caddell both have long histories of serving Democrat party interests and so their recent column in the Washington Post entitled One and Done: To be a great president Obama should not seek re-election in 2012 should be seen as a serious crack in the Obama dam.
If this cracks spreads – and it appears to be spreading rapidly according to the 2010 election – Obama could possibly be induced to quit or may be forced out by a primary challenge from Hillary Clinton or some other top Democrat figure.
The idea that Obama should step aside certainly must come as a bombshell to Obama and his inner circle. After all he was a darling of himself, the progressive left, the Harvard left and the Ancient Media with one rabid Newsweek commentator literally comparing him to God . But the smoke from the 2010 election has barely cleared and already many people are looking not just at potential 2012 Republican presidential challengers but at the very viability of Obama himself.
Obama certainly can look for solace at Bill Clinton’s mid-term losses in 1994 and Ronald Reagan’s low approval ratings after two years. But Obama has many more serious internal problems than either – not to say that the external problem of the Soviet Union was not extremely serious for Reagan.
The unhappiness of many Americans with the direction of the nation, for instance, and the widespread ascendancy of anti-government Tea Party groups is a clear call for change from the Obama agenda.
The Caddell/Schoen article cites an Obama interview with Diane Sawyer in which Obama said that “I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.”
There is a third option, however, which seems increasingly likely: Obama could turn out to be a bad one-term president who will be remembered as un-fondly as Jimmy Carter has been.
Schoen/Caddell says that the nation faces gridlock for the next two years under a Republican House majority and that America can ill afford more gridlock after the 2012 election. So they are suggesting that Obama announce that he will not seek re-election in order to do two things: Free himself from re-election pressures so that he can get things done in a bipartisan manner before 2012; and clear the White House for a less confrontational structure in Washington after 2012.
‘that the president has largely lost the consent of the governed. The midterm elections were effectively a referendum on the Obama presidency…. The best way for him to address both our national challenges and the serious threats to his credibility and stature is to make clear that, for the next two years, he will focus exclusively on the problems we face as Americans, rather than the politics of the moment – or of the 2012 campaign.’
This is strong language coming from long-time operatives who worked for Carter (as Caddell did) and Bill Clinton (as Schoen did), and both of whom are acutely aware of the pressures on a president. And Caddell obviously knows a thing or two about a presidency in crisis.
‘Obama can restore the promise of the election by forging a government of national unity, welcoming business leaders, Republicans and independents into the fold. But if he is to bring Democrats and Republicans together, the president cannot be seen as an advocate of a particular party, but as somebody who stands above politics, seeking to forge consensus.’
Can Obama do that?
Not likely because he would have to become something that he never has been – a consensus builder.
Coming from roots as a community organizer in Chicago, Obama does not have it in his history to deal with dissent or compromise. Chicago is not a city built on conciliation and open dialogue but on subjugation to one-party rule. And from his life under the spell of communist mentors like his own sympathizing mother, his radical leftist Indonesian stepfather and Frank Marshall Davis, he built up a blindered mindset that is resistant to challenge.
In addition Obama’s hard-knuckles Chicago–style of governance, manifested in the health-care bill, has alienated millions of Americans, putting him in a type of jeopardy that may not even be ameliorated by compromise.
Obama’s life history also has raised questions from the start. His African/Muslim roots again have re-opened the question of whether certain politicians outside the caucasian/Christian/American model can appreciate or respect the founding principles of America, or only are willing to serve parochial racial interests.
‘Given the influence of special interests on the Democratic Party, Obama would be much more effective as a figure who could remain above the political fray. Challenges such as boosting economic growth and reducing the deficit are easier to tackle if you’re not constantly worrying about the reactions of senior citizens, lobbyists and unions.’
And ‘remaining above the political fray’ in this case means announcing that he will serve only until 2012 and have no fixed allegiances between now and then.
‘If the president adopts our suggestion, both sides will be forced to compromise. The alternative, we fear, will put the nation at greater risk. While we believe that Obama can be reelected, to do so he will have to embark on a scorched-earth campaign of the type that President George W. Bush ran in the 2002 midterms and the 2004 presidential election, which divided Americans in ways that still plague us. ‘
Meanwhile, politico.com reports that only 26% of Americans believe that Obama will be re-elected in 2012. That is a very low number for a president who came into office with approval ratings over 65% and a messianic self-image enabled by a sycophantic media.
Says the politico.com article by Mark Penn:
‘In contrast, those who say that the President will not be re-elected see the country as headed in the wrong direction by 82 percent, the economy in the wrong direction by 81 percent and overwhelmingly want repeal of healthcare at the top of the agenda. Among the quarter of the public that sees his re-election as probable, they see the economy turning around by nearly 3 to 1. They are the outliers of the electorate, suggesting that the President has a lot more work to do to get back on track for a second term.’
Obviously Obama now is in serious political jeopardy. It is a feeling that has been growing over the last year, but the noise of the mid-term election often drowned it out. Now that the national stage is quieter and Americans are reflecting on November 2, more and more people are focusing on the actual prospects of another very young and very partisan American president, and not liking at all what they see.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can read excerpts from my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.