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Obama's Death Wish

OK, that's a bit dramatic, but that was the first thought I had when I heard that President Obama told ABC News that "I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president."

For a guy with his education and his reputed smarts, that's a pretty dumb thing to say. America doesn't work that way.

The rule has been if you're a good president, you get a second term. If you're not, you don't. We simply don't do "really good" one-term presidencies.

Look at history, Who have been our one-term presidents? Could any of them be considered "great?"

George H. W. Bush. Done in one. History is being a bit kinder, but I remember that election cycle. He was fired. And there was a certain justification. (I speak as someone who voted for him both times, and lent my underage support to him in 1980.)

Jimmy Carter. 'Nuff said.

Gerald Ford. See Bush, above.

Herbert Hoover. Warren Harding. William Taft. And that's just the last 100 years.

Oh, yeah, there's one exception. One president who didn't get a second term, and he's the exception to the rule about one-termers being considered "great." Unfortunately, John F. Kennedy was assassinated -- and that fact tends to color people's perceptions of him a bit.

What Obama is doing is engaging in a bit of pre-emptive spin. He knows that right now his re-election bid is pretty shaky. Never mind that the election is almost three years away; Obama is simply incapable of seeing things in the long term. Low poll numbers today must be addressed today. When you live in perpetual campaign mode, everything must be done as if the election were tomorrow.

And governing? What's that?

Obama is running the risk of skipping the two possibilities he outlined, and falling into a far more common mold: the mediocre (if not abysmal) one-term president.

But that's OK. He's a winner, and winners write history. Or, at least, teach history. So he'll be seen as a "great" president, brought down by reaching too far and a bitter, reactionary, racist, bigoted opposition.

Sadly, that's about the best he thinks he can hope for.


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Comments (43)

If it is one thing I can no... (Below threshold)

If it is one thing I can not stand is a person with an outrageous ego. In this case, being a leader of a country is a very dangerous thing. We can not get rid of this man fast enough.
Only one being I know who walked on water and sure as hell was not this fool.
But, but....one good thing he did do, was wake up this country...that far left is not the way we should go. So, he served a purpose. Let's vote in the following elections to totally disarmed him so he is not able to do NOTHNG...just leaving.

His main problem is he is m... (Below threshold)

His main problem is he is making this all about him. He and the majority at one time, exalted him and his supposed abilities. Then when the rubber meets the road, it turns out there is no there there. He is an empty suit which means mostly he did not have any proven abilities to govern. Now the majority realizes this and he cannot get that back. His incompetence and ego has branded him. Unfortunately, he is still making this about him. ww

I think you're misinterpret... (Below threshold)

I think you're misinterpreting the Lackwit's statement. As I read it, he defines "really good" by whether or not he gets his agenda passed. He thinks that the choices are:

1) play it safe and get a second term, and be remembered as a fairly dull president;

2) go full speed ahead on his agenda, fail, and get thrown out in 2012 as a one-term failure; or

3) go full speed ahead, accomplish his goals, and get thrown out in 2012 as a one-term success.

Getting his agenda passed is more important than winning re-election. Only in the third case does he get his agenda passed. So clearly, option 3 is the way to go. Because his agenda is forever. Once done, it can't be undone.

"I'd rather be a really goo... (Below threshold)

"I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president."

He'll be a mediocre one term president. His ego will doom his agenda and his lack of experience and leadership will cap it. That and the fact that in just under a year and he'll be facing a conservative Congress and Senate.

Well, to be fair Warren G. ... (Below threshold)

Well, to be fair Warren G. Harding had a heart attack and died. Although that wouldn't have ruled him out if he'd been from Chicago, in Washington DC folks are very much against electing the metabolically challenged into office. (Yeah, yeah, damn breather prejudice and all that...)

One big problem w/Obama - as has been so well pointed out - it's all about HIM. It's about HIS legacy, HIS vision, HIS ideas - never about the PEOPLE and their ideas or vision - as ol' VIC used to say "He's the President - STFU and STHD." (Slightly paraphrased.) He was elected, so that was it.

But I think he's positioning himself for a 'graceful' exit. Declare victory, and run like hell.

I suspect he won't run for ... (Below threshold)

I suspect he won't run for a second term especially if the result looks in doubt. His enormous ego cannnot contemplate or accept defeat.

And yet:In hypothe... (Below threshold)

And yet:

In hypothetical head-to-head matchups, President Obama tops each of the Republican candidates tested.

By 47 percent to 35 percent Obama bests former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The president has an even wider edge over former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (55 percent to 31 percent), and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (53 percent to 29 percent).

Finally, twice as many people say they would vote for Obama (48 percent) as would back a candidate from the Tea Party movement (23 percent).

Of course, that poll was conducted by the ultra-liberal, ultra-left people over at Fox.


I made the mistake of readi... (Below threshold)

I made the mistake of reading the ABC article.

This stood out, referring to the health bill: " "I didn't make a bunch of deals...

Then the article mentions the "Task Force on Middle Class Families"
Is this man so removed from reality that he needs a task force to figure out middle class people?

Well, all told, I have to give him credit.
I can't stomach watching him give speeches anymore, nor do I believe a single thing he says. He'll be a one term disaster and from there, he'll be quite well equiped to work in the UN, the internationally renowned completely disfunctional institution that it is.

Warren Harding doesn't belo... (Below threshold)

Warren Harding doesn't belong on this list, since he died in office and never ran for re-election.

'Good' is a judgment call. ... (Below threshold)

'Good' is a judgment call. The question is 'good' by what standard ?

My take is that Obama's standard for what is meant by 'good' in this context is how far he can push the country towards his vision. That being one where the U.S. is more like 'other socialist nations'.

In other words, he knows what's best and he's hinting (trail balloon?) that he's not going to ram it down the citizens throat. However, he's being vague enough that he can claim he meant something else should that become necessary.

In hypothetical he... (Below threshold)
In hypothetical head-to-head matchups, President Obama tops each of the Republican candidates tested.
Check back in with us in two years, Rance, and let us know if that straw you're grasping still floats.
President Obama... (Below threshold)
President Obama told ABC News that "I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president."
I'd rather be an omnipotent multi-trillionaire than a monstrously endowed porn star, but neither of those things is going to happen (without surgery, at least) either.

Seriously, someone needs to tell Obama he'll have to improve 10,000% to even come close to "mediocre."

It would be great if he wou... (Below threshold)

It would be great if he would not run for reelection, that way the country would not be deemed racist for kicking his jug eared marxist butt out in 2012.

James K. Polk is often cons... (Below threshold)
Edward Sisson Author Profile Page:

James K. Polk is often considered by historians a great one-term President -- probably the only one. He did not seek re-election.

From Wikipedia: "Polk is noted for his foreign policy successes. He threatened war with Britain then backed away and split the ownership of the Northwest with Britain. He is more famous for leading the nation into the Mexican-American War, in which the US was victorious. He lowered the tariff and established a treasury system that lasted until 1913. A little-known candidate in 1844, he was the first president to retire after a single term without seeking reelection. He died of cholera three months after his term ended."

Guys,Would you ple... (Below threshold)


Would you please leave the man alone??? He says he wants to be a great one-term president -- and I think that would be great too.

I think he sees his poll nu... (Below threshold)

I think he sees his poll numbers going down and is just trying to cover himself in case it really does happen.

Also, I think he really just means "I'd rather do a bunch of stuff that makes the American people mad even though I think it is good for them in the long run, even if it costs me a second term," which actually isn't a bad sentiment - it's one that Bush held often when discussing a possible difference in how his actions are seen in the future as opposed to during his administration.

Edward beat me to it, but I... (Below threshold)

Edward beat me to it, but I was also going to mention Polk. Sadly enough, I originally learned of his success from a TMBG song.

We are starting to see the ... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

We are starting to see the liberals call for getting rid of the filibuster. With the aging of the justices on the SCOTUS, "O" wants to be ready to load up the court with "progressive, globalist, ultra liberal", justices. Without having to deal with the pesky Senate conservatives. This would be far worse than anything he could achieve through legislation. This would be "O"s legacy or, should we say, revenge against America for rejecting him and his policies. We can only pray that he doesn't get the chance to strap us with a liberal SCOTUS for the next 40 years.

First of all, WildWillie is... (Below threshold)

First of all, WildWillie is right: It's all about him.

There is a tendency in Washington to believe our job description, of elected officials, is to get reelected. That's not our job description. Our job description is to solve problems and to help people. ... I don't want to look back on my time here and say to myself all I was interested in was nurturing my own popularity."

[emphasis mine]

Secondly, the statement is a crock. He's running the most political administration ever -- even worse than the Clinton White House. He failed to deliver on health care because he let the House and Senate write the bills while he made pretty speeches. After Brown's election, he left Washington to go to Ohio to make a speech to promote himself. And when he decided that his Presidency was really in trouble, he made a change in his cabinet by bringing in his top campaign advisor into the White House. His administration is all about posturing, message, and appearances. If he spent half the time that he's currently spending on promoting himself actually governing and administering, he'd be much more effective. Thank God his ego will never allow it.

And finally, mediocrity for this President would be a huge improvement. He's making President Carter look brilliant.

when Laurence Olivier died ... (Below threshold)

when Laurence Olivier died someone said: "Every actor in the world just moved up one slot". He was arguably the best actor who ever lived, and however good you were compared to all the actors of the world you just got one better!

Barry Obammy has ensured that every previous President moves up one slot in the rankings! No matter how BAD you were (Jimmah), Obammy has made you look better!

Rance: "And yet:In... (Below threshold)

Rance: "And yet:

In hypothetical head-to-head matchups, President Obama tops each of the Republican candidates tested."


In the summer of 1980, just prior to the Democratic Convention (which would renominate Jimmy Carter), Edmund Muskie was polling 9 points ahead of Jimmy Carter and was polling even with Reagan.

How'd that work out?

Go ahead Rance, content yourself with polls done today about hypothetical matchups 3 years down the road.

Considering what is happening now and is likely to happen in November, I can understand why you would be doing everything in your little power to drive the conversation onto another subject.

Oh, and 3 months ago, that Scott Brown guy was running 30 points behind Martha Coakley.

Nope, nothing wrong with the Dems. Everything is juuuuuuuuust fine. (....walk away slowly while whistling......)

Hey Barry! To paraphrase B... (Below threshold)

Hey Barry! To paraphrase Billy Clinton, define "really good".

He's gotta struggle on his ... (Below threshold)

He's gotta struggle on his hands just to achieve being a mediocre one-termer.

Who sez Carter isn't servin... (Below threshold)

Who sez Carter isn't serving a second term?

Any chance of parole for Si... (Below threshold)

Any chance of parole for Sirhan Sirhan?

A lot of Americans would li... (Below threshold)

A lot of Americans would like to see Barry resign NOW or get impeached.

Drago,From Jay Tea... (Below threshold)


From Jay Tea's post:

"He knows that right now his re-election bid is pretty shaky."

Fox News says that right now, they're not.

Maybe in the next 3 years, the GOP will find someone who can beat him, but right now, the polls say they don't yet have that person.

Rance, I telling you he is ... (Below threshold)

Rance, I telling you he is not even going not run. His ego is not going to take the chance. But you go ahead and hold on too your lib delusion of the the worst president since Carter(he did'nt get a 2nd term)...and notice that they are both Democrats.

We already know what he thi... (Below threshold)

We already know what he thinks is "really good". He's given himself a B+.

I concur with wolfwalker! I... (Below threshold)

I concur with wolfwalker! In this case I read/hear good as getting his terrible agenda enacted. The statists then have control and our wonderful experiment in liberty will come to a dismal end.


As lifetime President O's "one term" would be endless in his lifetime. Hmmm.

"Check back in with us i... (Below threshold)

"Check back in with us in two years, Rance, and let us know if that straw you're grasping still floats."

It won't be two years.
In 6 months, when summer is here and jobs aren't, the conservative blogs are going to get a lot of new conservatives who were former Democrat Obamaphiles and they'll be screaming at the people who still support Obama.

Someone said that conservatives are Liberals who have been mugged.(by reality)
If Obama runs in 2012, the GOP will be able to run a turnip as a Presidential candidate and win in a landslide, Obama is that bad and will be that much reviled.

That B+ was really a D- tha... (Below threshold)

That B+ was really a D- that he modified. Just like he modified his work experience during his constant campaigning (i.e., NONE). I think he will run again only because he likes to hear himself talk, and what better way to get all that exposure he so desperately needs?

The "name a republican" gen... (Below threshold)

The "name a republican" generic question is foolhearty. No issues have been discussed and more importantly, no one has reminded the american people of all the promises Obama lied about. Put them together, plus the two terrorists attackes, and he is toast if he ran against Mark Foley. ww

Public Policy Polling on Ja... (Below threshold)

Public Policy Polling on Jan22 has Mike Huckabee with a 45-44 advantage over President Obama [!?]. Mitt Romney is second best, trailing Obama 44-42. (Got to be within the margin of error.) But Romney's favorability is 36/32, and he's the most popular Republican among independents (41/32).

Too early to draw conclusions except the obvious one: Obama isn't doing well.

"In hypothetical head-to-he... (Below threshold)

"In hypothetical head-to-head matchups, President Obama tops each of the Republican candidates tested."

**I'm sure Coakley also topped candidates early on.

"I'd rather be a really go... (Below threshold)

"I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president."-Obama quoted in article

Then JT says: "For a guy with his education and his reputed smarts, that's a pretty dumb thing to say. America doesn't work that way."

JT: Are you employing "dumb" as a weasle word in allowance for the hole in your argument?

I mean, reeeaaally.
Your choice, for you, yourself, in alternate universe:

A) One term as Good US President?...Yeoman, Against the Odds, Profile in Courage, etc.
B) Two terms as Don't-Let-the-Door-Hit-You-In-the-Ass-On-the-Way-Out Prezzznit?

No need to answer the obvious.

Also, by your article, you seem to imply that Obama is virtually throwing in the towel when it seems he's just temporizing.

Spiderman temporizes all the time!

Also, your implicit faith in the Wisdom of the Electorate as qualifier of worth:
1-term defeat=(Carter)=BAD
1-term retirement=(Obama?)=???
Inchoate, JT.

PS Grover Cleveland was a very good 22nd & 24th president. (Indiana stolen in '88 by Republican machine.)

rance "Fox News says t... (Below threshold)

rance "Fox News says that right now, they're not."

Funny how the obamaphiles turn to Fox when it's convenient.

Didn't you get the obama memo, Fox isn't a "news organization," so why are you using it as a source?

But that's OK. He's a winne... (Below threshold)

But that's OK. He's a winner, and winners write history. Or, at least, teach history. So he'll be seen as a "great" president, brought down by reaching too far and a bitter, reactionary, racist, bigoted opposition.

I can live with that.

I like Taft. :^P... (Below threshold)

I like Taft. :^P

And don't forget Polk...

If we say (just to get rid ... (Below threshold)

If we say (just to get rid of him) he's a great President with one term...he would change his mind and run for another term.

He is not to be trusted on anything.

While most of the post is u... (Below threshold)
Ken Hahn:

While most of the post is undoubtedly true, I think you can name four one term Presidents who were, if not great, at least very good. John Adams, John Quincy Adams, James K Polk and Calvin Coolidge were all above average Presidents. Polk and Coolidge declined to run for reelection, so they may not fit your criteria.

John Adams is getting favor... (Below threshold)

John Adams is getting favorable reassessment by historians, but, like Bush 41, he was fired for cause.

Mediocre? Fat hope... (Below threshold)


Fat hope!

0zero's very best hope is that he will see out his single abysmal term.

And my money is on the perfect storm formed after the "Democrat's" coming November routing by the combination of his loathsome and fearsome 'spouse's' palpable rage, hatred and contempt for him and his own classical Clinical Narcissism will force his resignation and that he'll be gone by September of 2011.

"Presidential" pretender Biden, anyone?







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