There are many ways to govern at the executive level. When we’re talking about the POTUS, axioms about bucks stopping are the daily reality. Often times, you’ll see a leader praised for ignoring widespread public sentiment and pressing forward in the face of growing protests. At least you’ll see that leader praised by people who agree with the policy matter in question. President Bush and the utter and complete reversal of fortunes in Iraq are an obvious, glaring example.
I’d like to point out at this juncture that had W heeded public sentiment and a certain junior Senator from Illinois said junior Senator would have a whole heap more on his plate in the form of distracting-from-his-domestic-agenda war questions as Iraq continued its descent into a radically Islamisized Iranian proxy and breeding ground for terror. See there? I agreed with W’s call at the time and now can point to our success in Iraq as Exhibit A when arguing the US foreign policy would be best served by doing the exact opposite of what Barack Obama suggests.
Kind of like betting against a team or horse that Al Bundy bets on.
Back in 2008 Candidate Obama promised voters the moon while presenting them a facade of post-partisan, post-racial harmony. President Obama rolled into the White House with – pending a recount in Minnesota which subsequently installed a 60th Democrat and begat the Franken Curse (Minnesota sports fans shall taste only disappointment for as long as Al Franken is in the Senate) – a filibuster-proof majority and his media fluffers proclaiming the death of Conservatism and a prolonged new
Liberal Democratic progressive majority era. So Captain Bullshit ordered “Hard to port!” and set about the hard work of turning America into the socially-engineered redistributionist paradise he’s always dreamed of but kept absolutely f$%^ing secret from voters because they wouldn’t have put the “real” President Obama anywhere near the Oval Office in a million years.
What’s the old gag? Folks, this is the greatest country in the world! And if you elect me president I promise to go to Washington and change everything about it!
Presented without any underlying context…
President Obama, buffeted by criticism of his massive health care reform bill and election setbacks, said today he remained determined to tackle health care and other big problems despite the political dangers to his presidency.
“I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” he told ABC’s “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview today.
This is the new, tough, Fightin’ Obama. Doggone it, he’s fighting…well, somebody who isn’t focus-grouping well right now…for you. Throw in a dash of Principled Obama, too. Popularity be damned, he’s going to show some backbone and cram this monstrous, unpopular health care bill down our throats.
If you’re of a sort who wants Congress to pass a health care bill no matter how grotesquely it abducts, tortures, sodomizes, eviscerates, dismembers, burns, buries, and urinates on factual accounting principals and legislative transparency you’re probably jumping out of your chair cheering on Obama as he sticks to his guns in the face of partisan opposition. As Dr. Egon Spengler so aptly put it, the door swings both ways.
But I come not today to speak of “policy” or “polls”, I come to speak of “history”. Specifically the historical possibility of being a “really good” one-term President. It seems to me that something pretty unusual would have to happen for a one-termer to be considered “really good”. I’m not a presidential historian, but I’m hard pressed to recall a one-termer that could be considered even mediocre. Unless.
Historians (like most professional academics) are largely Liberal. Academia is even more p.c. than the media, right? So I’d wager that most “history” is popularly interpreted through a left-leaning lens. So through their eyes something that has squandered trillions and had disastrous effect like LBJ’s “War on Poverty” is “significant” ergo “really good”. Less a matter of effectiveness than magnitude. Medicare got seniors – the most reliable voters – on the gravy train. Now the big enchilada is almost within reach. The federal government assuming control of America’s health care system and ensuring it’s distributed fairly.
Think historians would consider that “really good”? Save a few years in the Illinois statehouse and 18 months in the US Senate professional academics are all Professor Obama has ever known. He’s hiding behind the curtain of history. How can you rate a presidency until you’ve had time to examine it from afar? Snap judgments of George W. Bush aside, a presidency must be aged like fine wine before it is judged.
Rather than a mediocre two-term president is a nice backhanded slap too. You’re thinking Bush but you’re way off, Kimosabe – that jewel is aimed at Clinton. Obama figures he’s the guy that’s going to get the health care ball over the goal line where Clinton and Clinton failed. It’s just that big of a deal to the left. As much as you want to keep our insurance if you like it, they want to control just exactly how much health care you’re permitted purchase and at what price. Plus about 50% off the top, but that’s a whole other column.
Barring a tragedy like JFK (and I’m not saying he was “really good”) it’s hard to see any one-termer being rated a “better” president than any two-termer. Now of course someone’s out there right now talking about how honest to God Jimmy Carter ranks higher as a president than Andrew Jackson. Barring some seismic shift in the overall trajectory of the country – and socializing our medical system would qualify to those who write history – Barack would be considered a failed president. Frankly, I’m happy to see him take on an “It’s better to burn out than fade away” mentality and supernova quickly. Dishonesty and duplicity will only get you so far when you’re in a popularity contest. Once you start deliberately ignoring public opinion you’d better be sure you can actually win the battle.
W had the greatest fighting force in the history of mankind leading his surge in Iraq. Obama has Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel, and the Davids. Only history will tell us if they were both lame ducks when they dug in their heels.