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Opinion | One and done: To be a great president, Obama should not seek reelection in


I can't believe this was in the Washington Post


President Obama must decide now how he wants to govern in the two years leading up to the 2012 presidential election.

In recent days, he has offered differing visions of how he might approach the country's problems. At one point, he spoke of the need for "mid-course corrections." At another, he expressed a desire to take ideas from both sides of the aisle. And before this month's midterm elections, he said he believed that the next two years would involve "hand-to-hand combat" with Republicans, whom he also referred to as "enemies."

It is clear that the president is still trying to reach a resolution in his own mind as to what he should do and how he should do it.

This is a critical moment for the country. From the faltering economy to the burdensome deficit to our foreign policy struggles, America is suffering a widespread sense of crisis and anxiety about the future. Under these circumstances, Obama has the opportunity to seize the high ground and the imagination of the nation once again, and to galvanize the public for the hard decisions that must be made. The only way he can do so, though, is by putting national interests ahead of personal or political ones.

To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012.
I’d contribute to the cost of adding him to Mount Rushmore if it meant getting him out in 2012.

In fact, I’d take a hammer and chisel and drag my fuzzy white ass up that mountain and help do it myself if it would convince him not to run in 2012.
I think you're missing the point of the article, Alaskan. :)
I think you're missing the point of the article, Alaskan. :)

Not at all, Henry not at all.

I was simply ignoring the article because it was so silly.

The theory advanced by the authors is that if Obama announced that he would not run for reelection, he would revert back into this uniting figure, rising above partisan politics and would be able to tackle the difficult problems facing the country. And thus would become a great President. The authors clearly suffer from Obama the Omniscient syndrome.

That theory suffers from so many contradictions with reality it is difficult to know where to begin. First all, history has shown that lame duck presidents (which is what Obama would immediately become) accomplish little of significance during their last two years.

Plus the focus of Democrats would immediately shift from governing to determining who would represent the Democratic party and all the posturing that involves. Rather than being a uniting figure, Obama becomes irrelevant. Any agenda that he wishes to set would be met with resistance by at least part of the Democratic Party. If he tries to move to the center, the left wing of the Democratic Party rallying behind one or more of the left wing potential candidates will resist. If he tries to continue with his leftist agenda, not only will it be blocked by the GOP, but centralists Democrats will resist with a “if we want to win in 2012, we need to govern from the center” manta. Far from “draining the poison from our culture of polarization” as claimed by the authors, it would increase the polarization within the Democratic party and do nothing to alleviate the left-right polarization within the country.

The authors state that non-candidate Obama would be able to counter the influence of special interests on the Democratic Party. This is nonsense as the Democratic members of the House and the Democratic members of the Senate who are up for election in 2012, will continue to act in their own self interest, meaning their own re-election prospects. Likewise, the special interests will act in their own self interest. Non-candidate Obama would simply be irrelevant in this equation.

The fact is, that Obama can pursue all the policies and the tone change that the authors call for by remaining a candidate and do it with Republican support because everything they advocate is supported by the Republicans and the center-right of the country. For example: “welcoming business leaders, Republicans and independents into the fold.” No one forced him to create an administration devoid of any business experience, nor did any one force him to continuously bash businesses all the while whining because of the slow growth of new jobs. No one forced him to cut out all Republican input into health care or to call Republicans the enemy. No one forced him to carry a tone of divisiveness in virtually everything he does or says or to listen only to the left wing of his party, turning off the independents. He did all of those things on his own.

The authors call for him to “reduce the deficit and get spending under control.” But candidate Obama can do that better than non-candidate Obama and no one forced him into his spending decisions. It was his adherence to leftist ideology and Keynesian economics that caused him to do that. While he will not be able, to stop the influence of special interests, he can at least give members of his own party some cover if they buck the desires of the special interests. But I don’t see that happening as his first two years, everything has been about the “business = bad, unions = good” ideology.

On foreign policy the authors say that he will be able to forge a course on Afghanistan “that responds not to the electoral calendar but to the facts on the ground.” But this is exactly what Republicans want and they have been supporters of the President on the surge and the use of drones. The artificial deadline placed on Afghanistan is the result of pressure from the anti-war element of the Democratic party of which Obama is a card carrying member. Freed of politics, non-candidate Obama would probably just pull out and please his ideological base.

Finally, contrary to the authors assertion, he does not need to run a “scorched-earth campaign” in order to win in 2012. By pursuing policies in line with the center-right nature of the country, truly working with Republicans and drastically changing his tone, he could win easily. He in effect ran a scorched-earth campaign in the mid-terms and that didn’t work out very well for him.

The fact is that the country was ready for a non-partisan tone and an end to racial divisiveness and true problem solving in 2008. Obama hasn’t delivered and he has only himself to blame.
Lame duck presidents are only irrelevant if they are unpopular. Obama moving to the middle, working with the newly-voted in GOP and forcing the crazies in his party to the center or be left out in the cold would make him popular. And it would be easier for Obama to prove to the right that he really means to move to the middle if he declines to run for re-election.

I'm not saying he should or shouldn't do it. I think it's an interesting idea though.

And while I do blame Obama for not delivering on his promise to bring a more non-partisan tone to Washington, I wouldn't blame only him. I'd say the hard-liners in Congress on both sides of the aisle get some blame too. Put more on the lefties, because they actually had the power, and with it the ability to end the cycle and they didn't. Obama was trying to govern with one hand fending off the right and the other fending off the left. He shouldn't have had to do that. Where I blame him is in not taking more control of Pelosi and Reid. Of not being better at getting them to fall in line behind him.

That is on him as the President and leader of his party. Perhaps the author of this piece thinks that without having to worry about getting his party's support to win a re-election Obama can better smack them around a little and get them to move with him to the middle.

Or he could just be on crack. Who knows? :)

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