A One-Term President

It is now a virtual certainty. Barack Obama is a one-term President.  This opinion is not based on the comments, or rants, of any of his opponents.

There is an idea which, once it enters the conversation, is damning to any president. It starts with one phrasing from his supporters. They start to believe that the Presidency is a bigger job than anyone can handle.  The job is too big for their man.

The President’s opponents and those in the middle usually come to a contrary conclusion. It is not that the job is too big. The problem is that the man in the office is too small. America will not retain in the Presidency a man they see as too small for the job.

Richard Cohen, in a Washington Post article, has announced that the job is too big.

Obama presiding over the unpresidable (sic), the president overseeing the incomprehensible, the full panoply of meaningless power — Air Force One, Marine One, the limo, the motorcade, the briefcase with the nuclear launch codes — all amounting in this case to man railing against the sea, a somber lesson for us all. The spill goes on. The war goes on. The debt grows — and so, for too many of us, does denial.

Cohen has been a strong supporter of Obama. When a President’s supporter starts talking like this, what is a neutral voter to think? The last time we were discussing the overwhelming nature of the job was during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. He lost 44 states when he ran for reelection.

Carter started his presidency as the answer to what was wrong with America. He was the solution to Watergate era corruption. Obama was going to change many things wrong with America. In both cases, it is fair to say the expectations were too high.

The thing to watch is when, and whether, people start to laugh at Obama. With Carter, there was a picture and story of a rabbit attacking his boat. When the President starts losing respect, his reelection chances disappear.


  1. Dale – I saw Cohen’s column and, while I’m not ready to predict that Obama is a one-term president, it did strike ma as a Carterish comparison. The problem I have with Cohen’s characterization is that it presumes that Obama has squandered an opportunity to change policies, such as the perennial struggle in the Mideast between Arabs and Israel. Is it realistic to think Obama could have accomplished something that previous presidents could not? In short, I think Cohen’s critique presumes that Obama took office with more influence than he actually possessed.

    1. Matt,
      I agree we are not there yet with Obama. His problem is that, like Carter, the press pumped him up as the antidote to the “evil” before him. In Obama’s case, he added to it with comments like “We are the one we have been waiting for!” Also, the whole “change” thing promised to fix the problems of the world. Now he and we find out that the world is still the world.
      He has time to turn it around, but Cohen is not the only one saying this. If it continues, it will be a real problem.
      A passing note: we are seeing more articles about how he is keeping the press at arm’s length and limiting access. I have heard that the reporters near him daily are not all that thrilled with him. I would think that if the country starts to doubt him, the press could quickly become a very effective enemy. Do you remember how the Nightline “This is day __ of the Iranian Hostage Crisis” added to Carter’s problems?

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