Larry Sabato has an interesting article in Politico asking the intriguing question why any political party would want to have the presidency for two terms given the damage that does to the party in Congress and in the States:
The historical record is clear: A party surges when it elects a president, but goes into a roller-coaster decline shortly thereafter. Even if a party makes up significant ground in the president’s reelection campaign, by the end of the eight-year cycle, it is in worse shape, sometimes (as with Obama) much worse.
One wonders whether a party’s top elected officials would be quite so gung-ho about winning the White House if they focused on who is going to pay the piper.
Democrats and Republicans will give little attention to these grim numbers, of course, and as usual they will gear up and do whatever is necessary to take the big prize in 2016. Yet it should be a consolation to the eventual losers that at every other level of public office, they’ll almost certainly be better off in the not-too-distant future.
This is a rhetorical exercise, the obvious reason you want to control the White House it that you control the regulatory agencies, you appoint judges, and you set the foreign policy of the nation. That is heady stuff. But Sabato’s analysis is pretty damning on the effects of two terms in the White House and it calls into question the whole theory of Democrat inevitability as a permanent majority pushed by many on the left. Even successful presidents extract a price. For instance, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan:
Reagan had only smallish net losses over his term and Eisenhower had started swinging the pendulum back in his direction. What does it look like when a two term president is something of a mixed bag?
By this data Bush did a lot less damage to the GOP than Clinton did to the Democrats. How then, does the Lightworker measure up?
Keep in mind that this cataclysmic damage does not include whatever happens in 2016 and one has to assume that it will be a bloodbath but only on a smaller level than 2010 or 2014 simply because there are so many fewer Democrats to turn out of office. In fact, Obama has done about as much damage to the Democrats in six years as Nixon/Ford did in eight:
In the main, though, I thing Sabato makes a good case that too long in office sours the people on a party, sort of the the political equivalent of the aphorism “familiarity breeds contempt.” And if I’m fortunate enough to live so long I expect to see this cycle repeat itself though it is hard to imagine that the GOP could ever best Obama’s record. Because say what you will, being able to make Watergate look like a positive exercise in party building is one helluva an accomplishment.