For several years, I've had my own particular view of how we should treat the presidency, which boils down to two basic precepts and a rewriting of the 22nd Amendment. First, there should be no term limits, and secondly, no one should be allowed to serve two consecutive terms.
There are a lot of good reasons for this approach, many of which are covered in an OpEd by Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen in the Washington Post, but their arguments are more than a little dulled by the fact that they're so Obamacentric. This may be a 'critical moment for the country', but there have been critical moments in the past and there will surely be many more in the future. Their positioning of the recent elections as a referendum on Obama, and enticement of him to be truly transformative give the game away. Or maybe it's the title that gives it away - "To be a great president, Obama should not seek reelection in 2012".
If that sounds like a FOX News wet dream, it may be because Caddell is a former contributor and Schoen is a current one. But they both want Obama to succeed, they really do. In fact, they "make this proposal with the deepest sincerity and hope for him and for the country". Look at all the great things that would happen in America if he would only say 'I quit'.
"By explicitly saying he will be a one-term president, Obama can deliver on his central campaign promise of 2008, draining the poison from our culture of polarization and ending the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity and common purpose."
Glory, hallelujah! He could bring us together and we could all just get along, if only he would leave! And then whoever was elected next would have a clean slate, in a world without the possibility of acrimony! As the two note, Obama once said "I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president", and the excellent news is that "He now has the chance to deliver on that idea"!!!!
"Forgoing another term would not render Obama a lame duck. Paradoxically, it would grant him much greater leverage with Republicans and would make it harder for opponents such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell - who has flatly asserted that his highest priority is to make Obama a one-term president - to be uncooperative."
Come on, you two knucleheads, I'm pretty sure you know exactly what the definition of a 'lame duck' is - a politician who is in the last two years of their term without the possibility of reelection. It tends to be a highly unproductive period for a presidency because everyone is posturing in anticipation of an open field election. Just what is it about that sort of atmosphere that would tempt Mitch McConnell to be cooperative? Oh, there's more, but let me just go straight to the glory that awaits Barack Obama in January 2013...
"He walks away from the White House having been transformative in two ways: as the first black president, yes, but also as a man who governed in a manner unmatched by any modern leader. He will have reconciled the nation, continued the economic recovery, gained a measure of control over the fiscal problems that threaten our future, and forged critical solutions to our international challenges. He will, at last, be the figure globally he has sought to be, and will almost certainly leave a better regarded president than he is today. History will look upon him kindly - and so will the public."
The heavens will open up and angels will sing! I know, I'm thinking the same thing as you - Obama would have to be crazy to not quit now.
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