Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One-Hit Blunder?

The landscape of politics is like Michigan weather---wait five minutes and it just might change.

With that in mind, it would appear to be folly to try to ascertain what might happen in the presidential election of 2012---the upcoming mid-term elections notwithstanding.

President Obama will be halfway through his term this January, believe it or not. He might also be halfway through his ONLY term.

I want to believe in the Obama Administration; I voted for him, after all. My thought at the time of the 2008 election was that Obama was the right president at the right time---just like Reagan was probably right in 1980, Kennedy was right in 1960, and Eisenhower was probably right in the 1950s.

But you can only be the right president at the right time if you're re-elected. Otherwise, you're just another one-hit wonder.

Kennedy would likely have been re-elected in 1964; that's why I make an exception in his case.

Obama, for all his adeptness at the podium and his smarts---I truly believe he's one of the smartest presidents we've ever had---has also shown his tenderness, i.e. his lack of political experience.

Obama is our first fast-track president. He was rushed through the system, having been a U.S. Senator for less than one full term when he took on first Hillary Clinton then John McCain.

He was the Democratic party's boy wonder; the next Kennedy, as a matter of fact.




But even JFK spent considerably more time as a senator---nearly eight years to Obama's three-plus (and much of that time was spent running for president).

Kennedy took over the country when times were relatively good---both economically and in terms of peace. Obama entered a quagmire. So that must be taken into consideration.

My belief that Obama was the right president for the right time was based on what had happened in eight years under George W. Bush. Obama was as far apart from Bush as you could get, in just about every way imaginable.

But it's becoming clear to me that Obama is also, sadly, maybe the most polarizing president we've had, at least since WWII.

That's saying a lot, I know.

It's ironic, because Obama's platform included a call to bring people together. His being the first black president was supposed to be a victory for mankind, not just for those who voted for him.

Now I'm not so sure if Obama is the right president for the right time. He may have been voted in simply because he wasn't Bush, and he had a message that resonated. He may be just another Democrat who won because he was going up against an old, crotchety Republican, a la Carter over Ford and Clinton over Dole.

But Clinton won a second term, despite sordid tales of what apparently went on in the Oval Office---specifically under his desk.

Obama is on another fast track---to be the first one-term Democrat in the White House since Carter. That's what the weather forecasts indicate to me.

Of course, that can all change very quickly.

The Republicans can capture the White House in 2012 if they build on the momentum they're sure to get from the 2010 mid-terms, and if they run the right person.

Obama, for his part, has less than two years to gain his own momentum, before he has to start hitting the campaign trail yet again.

But his next campaign has to be more about substance than style. And the former seems to be more difficult for him than the latter.

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