Two leading Democratic strategists have concluded that President Barack Obama should not seek re-election in 2012 – in order to be a great president who delivers on his promise of change that he made in 2008. In an op-ed in The Washington Post,
Douglas Schoen and Patrick Caddell argue that Obama will produce only gridlock in the next two years if he governs with one eye on re-election.
Why? “It is clear, we believe, that the president has largely lost the consent of the governed,” they write. “The midterm elections were effectively a referendum on the Obama presidency. And even if it was not an endorsement of a Republican vision for America, the drubbing the Democrats took was certainly a vote of no confidence in Obama and his party. The president has almost no credibility left with Republicans and little with independents.”
Obama can seize the high ground, the pair argue, but only if he realizes that he cannot make the hard decisions necessary while appeasing his liberal base.
“Obama can and should dispense with the pollsters, the advisers, the consultants and the strategists who dissect all decisions and judgments in terms of their impact on the president's political prospects,” Caddell and Schoen write. They point out that Obama once told an interviewer that he’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.
Announcing that he was a lame duck would, paradoxically, they argue, make him stronger in dealing with conservative Republican as well as rogue regimes like North Korean and Iran. He could make hard choices, and send the message that he’s not fooling around in order to win another four years in the White House.
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