Peter Lemiska
Does Obama really want a second term?
By Peter Lemiska
August 14, 2010

As Barack Obama's poll numbers continue to spiral downward, many are beginning to doubt his chances for re-election in 2012. Some are even wondering if he really wants a second term. The wildly popular Glenn Beck suggests that Obama's reckless spending and radical agenda in the face of overwhelming public opposition is laying the groundwork for Hillary Clinton to take over in 2012. In June of this year, Peter Ferrara, former Associate Deputy Attorney General, wrote a piece in the American Spectator, predicting that Obama would resign in disgrace before the next presidential election, citing, among other things, the Sestak affair.

And it's not just wishful thinking by conservatives. In July, A. Peter Bailey, liberal activist and former associate editor of Ebony magazine, wrote an editorial explaining why Obama will not seek re-election. He argued that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are unpopular, unsustainable, and must be ended, but that no black president could bring the troops home without "shrill invective from propagandists in the press." And for that reason, he postulates, Obama will likely step down in 2012, allowing his successor, presumably someone with close military ties, to bring our troops home.

Three interesting theories, but without a crystal ball, it's all just conjecture. Besides that, opinion polls can change in an instant, and two years is an eternity in the political arena.

That said however, there are some signs suggesting that Obama might not be up for another presidential campaign.

First, of course, there is his abysmal approval rating. The Rasmussen Poll indicates that his approval index has gone from +28 on January 21, 2009 to -22 on August 11, 2010. And according to the Gallup Polls, after 562 days in office, Barack Obama's approval rating of 45%, was lower than Lyndon Johnson's, at 69%. Johnson, of course, continued to slide in the polls, reaching a low of 38%, before announcing he would not seek re-election. Obama is not there yet, but he's on the right track. Only the most committed or foolhardy would launch a campaign leading to almost certain defeat. Obama has shown himself to be neither.

And there's something else he must be considering. There is the likelihood that the Republicans will re-take control of the House, and possibly the Senate, in November. If that happens, Obama's carte blanche will be revoked, and having already accomplished much of what he set out to do with this Democratic Congress, he might very well decide to pack it in.

Beck is absolutely right about one thing. Given his apparent indifference to public opinion and his steadfast determination to impose his far-left agenda, Obama seems to know that his window of opportunity is closing. Like the man in the glass booth at the carnival grasping for dollar bills swirling around him, he seems to be scrambling for whatever he can get his hands on in the last two years of office.

And his sequential vacations, which are becoming his hallmark, do nothing to change that perception. All of those golf games and extravagant outings may be nothing more than an effort to make the best of a good situation. Every job has its perks, after all. But they also provide an escape from the pressures of the job. As a community organizer in 1988, Obama might have pondered the possibility of one day occupying the Oval Office, but he could never have imagined the awesome responsibilities and crushing demands of that office. His aversion to press conferences, his life behind teleprompters and Robert Gibbs, his vacation addiction, his amateurish handling of the Gitmo detainees, the abject indecisiveness he demonstrated regarding the troop surge in Afghanistan, all point to a young man who is floundering, who is simply over his head. He has become the Peter Principle personified. And despite his unbridled arrogance, he knows it; and he knows that he may not be able to tread water for another four years.

In January, he told Diane Sawyer, "I'd rather be a really good one-term President than a mediocre two-term President." The polls show where he stands in his first term. In his mind, however, he's been a resounding success. Without mentioning the cavernous debt he created, he relentlessly flaunts his health care bill, his stimulus package, his bailout of the auto industry, and the rest of those socialistic and unpopular self-proclaimed, "successes" that, incidentally, could never have been achieved without a collusive Congress. But by defining himself as a "really good one-term President," he could return to a comfortable private life with dignity, and after the full impact of his agenda begins to take effect, he can blame his successor.

No one can know if Obama will find a way to turn those negative numbers around, or how he will deal with them if he doesn't. So while he compares himself to Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, and even Reagan, it should not shock anyone if one day next year he joins the ranks of a handful of other Presidents, and echoes those famous words of Lyndon Johnson: "I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President."

© Peter Lemiska


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Peter Lemiska

Peter Lemiska served in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Secret Service. Following his retirement from the Secret Service, he spent several years as a volunteer for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Like most of his contemporaries, he's always loved his country, and is deeply dismayed by the new and insidious anti-American sentiment threatening to destroy it. He's a life-long conservative, and his opinion pieces have been published in various print media and on numerous internet sites.


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