The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Talk of Obama Not Running in 2012 . . . in Chicago?


In the first Morning Jolt of the week, a look at a crazy, supremely unlikely scenario that’s starting to get some mainstream attention:

Withdrawal Pain for Obama? Not Going to Happen.

On Sunday  Steve Chapman wrote in the Chicago Tribune that “Obama might do his party a big favor” by not seeking reelection.

I suspect Chapman believed putting forth this idea would stir discussion and buzz, rather than any belief that the man who spent most of his adult office running for one office or another would actually embrace this option.

There is good news for the president. I checked the Constitution, and he is under no compulsion to run for re-election. He can scrap the campaign, bag the fundraising calls and never watch another Republican debate as long as he’s willing to vacate the premises by Jan. 20, 2013. That might be the sensible thing to do. It’s hard for a president to win a second term when unemployment is painfully high. If the economy were in full rebound mode, Obama might win anyway. But it isn’t, and it may fall into a second recession — in which case voters will decide his middle name is Hoover, not Hussein. Why not leave of his own volition instead of waiting to get the ax? It’s not as though there is much enticement to stick around. Presidents who win re-election have generally found, wrote John Fortier and Norman Ornstein in their 2007 book, “Second-Term Blues,” that “their second terms did not measure up to their first.”

Funny thing about second terms; no matter how bad the past few have been, every new president wants one. I refer you to that line from Clear and Present Danger: “They want what every first-term administration wants — a second term.”

The Yid with Lid finds this significant: “Its not a big deal when I suggest to Obama that he consider not running for reelection, or you hear it from Republican pundits on TV News/Talk shows.  It’s even no big deal when unnamed Democrats whisper that the President has no chance of winning and should give way to a Democrat with a better chance of winning. But when a member of the editorial board of one of the President’s hometown papers make the suggestion in print, then it becomes big news.”

The Crawdad Hole sees the appeal: “If Obama quits he won’t have to face losing his last campaign. He will still be the historic first black POTUS, and history will likely be kind to him because he inherited a mess even Hercules would have trouble cleaning up. If he is reelected he is unlikely to get any significant policy victories, and even if the economy recovers before he leaves office it will be lost in the shuffle of the race to replace him. No matter what happens Obama will always be a lifetime member of a very exclusive club. He can spend the rest of his life reading speeches and playing golf.”

He nicknames the plan, “Fore More Years.”

Still, why shouldn’t Barack Obama leave his job involuntarily? That’s what happened to so many Americans during his presidency.

Tags: Barack Obama


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