Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Could Barack Obama Win a Third Term?

 

Barack ObamaApparently he thinks so. At an African Union summit in Addis Ababa earlier this week, President Obama declared:

“I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” he said. “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t. So there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law.”

It’s understood that those who seek the Presidency must have a certain degree of amour-propre. Yet it’s hard to recall another President who so obviously regards himself as a major historical figure. It’s even harder to think of another President who so little deserves that distinction. A record which contains such highlights as a stagnant economy, crippling deficits, and the recent Iranian deal suggests a clock-puncher who leans to the left.

Yet the comment about winning a third term isn’t quite as absurd as it sounds. The President’s approval ratings currently sit at 46%, about five points short of his popular vote percentage in 2012. They have never dipped below 38% and rarely fallen into the low forties. This is the strange paradox of the Obama Administration: A mediocre president who, if the 22nd Amendment was repealed, might very well win a third term.

Comparing Obama to other Presidents at this point in their terms he ranks below Reagan, Eisenhower, Clinton and Johnson but ahead of Truman and George W Bush. The latter two had their ratings dragged down by war. Reagan, Clinton and Eisenhower were buoyed by a surging economy. For a presidency in what might be described as quasi-peacetime, Obama’s approval ratings are below par. Yet, despite his failures and shortcomings, the 44th President is not hated in the same way as Harry Truman and the younger Bush.

What distinguishes Obama from the genuinely unpopular presidents is the lack of a lighting rod issue. A flagging or failing war can destroy even the most skillful of political operators. Witness the decline and fall of Lyndon Johnson. In a little more than three years, LBJ went from a landslide victory over Barry Goldwater to a comparatively narrow victory over Eugene McCarthy in New Hampshire. Both Truman and Bush saw less precipitous, though ultimately decisive drops.

Running through the demerits of the Obama legacy, there is just enough mitigation for him to get a pass from much of the electorate. The runaway deficits are usually pegged on Congress. The unemployment rate has been so fiddled with as to be nearly meaningless. This allows President Obama to proclaim an improvement in the economy, though an improvement from which few working or lower middle-class Americans have benefited. Even in what is regarded as a traditional purview of the presidency, the management of foreign affairs, there is enough voter apathy for the Iranian deal to go through with a shrug.

Barack Obama reminds me of nothing so much as that charming slacker at work. He does his job well enough, never seems to be completely blamed or credited with anything, and yet glides from promotion to promotion. Certainly he has his detractors. The ambitious workaholics who know who really writes his reports, the underlings who struggle to clean up his messes, and his enemies who know where the bodies are buried but have been bought off. Should any speak up, they’ll be met with his grinning face and a well studied style of self-deprecation. Who could hate a nice guy like that?

This is what we have in store for the next year and a half. The problems mount, the crises are ignored and President Obama drifts glibly into the future.

There are 78 comments.

  1. DocJay Inactive

    Glibly indeed.

    • #1
    • July 28, 2015, at 2:30 PM PDT
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  2. Stad Thatcher

    Unfortunately, I think it would be possible, depending on who the Republican candidate is in 2016.

    Constitution aside (which might be BHO’s game plan), his cobbled base would still put him over the top unless . . .

    We have a nominee that is real, not establishment, and proves that he (or she!) will fight back against the PC crowd.

    • #2
    • July 28, 2015, at 2:32 PM PDT
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  3. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Previously, if asked “Could Obama win a third term?” I would have said “Maybe” or “Probably”, followed by either a heavy sigh or a stream of cursing.

    Now? Now I can say “definitely not”, because Obama himself thinks he could. Whenever he speaks in favor of one side in a contest, that side almost invariably loses. The only times I can think of where the rule might be proven wrong are the elections he already won, but I’m not going to go back and find out if he specifically said “I’ll win” or something similar.

    • #3
    • July 28, 2015, at 2:42 PM PDT
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  4. PHCheese Member

    Yea with the help of the IRS and DOJ and MSM he could steal another election.

    • #4
    • July 28, 2015, at 2:46 PM PDT
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  5. Leigh Member

    Hard to tell, because absent the constitution, it’s hard to say if anyone besides FDR would have broken the two-term tradition. If not, I’m not sure Obama would be able to — there would be a resistance to that, similar (though not equal) to the resistance to a third Bush. That resistance, combined with cumulative policy failures, might mean that the incumbent advantage would work against him. I think he would win more votes than Hillary — but I am not sure.

    Of course, it would depend very much on the candidate.

    If Reagan (less likely) and Clinton (very likely) had won third terms, it would be par for the course. Even then, given Iran and Obamacare (now actually implemented) and a candidate like Walker or Rubio, he could well lose.

    • #5
    • July 28, 2015, at 2:50 PM PDT
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  6. AUMom Member
    AUMom Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think we are also underestimate the free press here as well. There are plenty of faux pas, outright scandals, and corrupt moves going on to sink anybody, except, alas, they go unreported or unexamined.

    • #6
    • July 28, 2015, at 2:51 PM PDT
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  7. Jason Rudert Member

    Of course he could. He beat HRC, and would again. And any other Democrat that we’ve seen so far. And he would roll over any of the Republicans. None of them have come up with anything but carping that would challenge his policies. They still can’t match him for charisma, though we’ve seen he’s a lot more peevish than he let on.

    • #7
    • July 28, 2015, at 2:51 PM PDT
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  8. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Well if he didn’t win a third term it would because we are a racist nation.

    • #8
    • July 28, 2015, at 3:08 PM PDT
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  9. Palaeologus Inactive

    I’d make him the favorite against any Republican in the field assuming Obama didn’t get a primary challenge. It is really tough to beat an incumbent who has the full support of his party.

    Though if he had an intra-party challenge (like Carter, or H.W. Bush) he’d be much more vulnerable. Going by those two examples, the challenge probably wouldn’t have to be particularly credible to weaken him. A Liz Warren or a Bernie Sanders might prove sufficient.

    • #9
    • July 28, 2015, at 3:12 PM PDT
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  10. Doctor Bass Monkey Inactive

    Not without finding out what another civil war is like first.

    • #10
    • July 28, 2015, at 3:13 PM PDT
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  11. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard,

    “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t. So there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law.”

    Gee, my first reaction would be to call his statement the words of a disgusting lying phony piece of [email protected]$.

    Gosh, I don’t actually have a second reaction.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #11
    • July 28, 2015, at 3:19 PM PDT
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  12. Profile Photo Member

    If it weren’t for the 22nd amendment, Bill Clinton would probably still be president. At a minimum, it would have disrupted the series of events that put Obama in the White House. The law giveth and the law taketh.

    • #12
    • July 28, 2015, at 3:20 PM PDT
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  13. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    Sadly, I think he would win again. I think most people who don’t pay that much attention still think of him as a really nice guy.

    • #13
    • July 28, 2015, at 3:39 PM PDT
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  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    You are all forgetting the Limbaugh Theorem, which perfectly reflects the situation. He has served one and a half terms, and NOTHING that has happened, from the decline of American power and prestige abroad, to all the scandals and horrible economy here at home, has been his fault. No one connects HIM with the consequences of his policies. He is still campaigning, and treating all the bad stuff as caused by someone else.

    • #14
    • July 28, 2015, at 3:44 PM PDT
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  15. Leigh Member

    Quinn the Eskimo:If it weren’t for the 22nd amendment, Bill Clinton would probably still be president. At a minimum, it would have disrupted the series of events that put Obama in the White House. The law giveth and the law taketh.

    I don’t think he would still be. He would have just started his third term on Sept. 11, 2001, and history would be completely different.

    • #15
    • July 28, 2015, at 3:49 PM PDT
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  16. Casey Inactive

    Richard Anderson: He does his job well enough, never seems to be completely blamed or credited with anything, and yet glides from promotion to promotion.

    Ok, I’m warming to him…

    • #16
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:01 PM PDT
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  17. DrRich Member

    It actually makes me nervous to hear Obama talk like this. It was the law, after all, which he invoked 22 times as a reason why he could not offer illegals amnesty, before he did so.

    To Obama and his minions the constitution is obviously a dead letter. When has the Constitution ever stopped him?

    If Hillary doesn’t step up her game, we may begin hearing strategic voices raise this possibility seriously. The country needs him to rescue us all all from the specter of Cruz or Paul or Rubio or (my God) Trump! The 22nd Amendment, after all, was just sour grapes, and nobody should be held to it. And any of us who object to such an obvious solution to our nation’s ills will be racists.

    • #17
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:06 PM PDT
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  18. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Quote: “What distinguishes Obama from the genuinely unpopular presidents is the lack of a lighting rod issue. ”

    There are plenty of lightning rod issues. Unfortunately, his lightning rod is covered by thick black (racial) insulation. And, thanks to a pliant media, it isn’t connected to the ground or to anyone else who might be connected to the ground. So lightning won’t strike it.

    • #18
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:07 PM PDT
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  19. Palaeologus Inactive

    Casey:

    Richard Anderson: He does his job well enough, never seems to be completely blamed or credited with anything, and yet glides from promotion to promotion.

    Ok, I’m warming to him…

    Casey, the man repeatedly voted “present” in the Senate while he simultaneously criticized responsible parties for their decisions.

    Now that is a guy with a future in Corporate America.

    • #19
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:09 PM PDT
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  20. 1967mustangman Inactive

    Okay, I think we should dial back the crazy on this. Obama has skirted the constitution by bending the rule and arguing terms. He can’t do that in this case. Not even an Obama FEC could find a way around the words.

    • #20
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:23 PM PDT
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  21. Pilli Inactive

    “I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” he said. “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t. So there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law.”

    Yes, the law is the law. But if there were an “Emergency”…

    • #21
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:31 PM PDT
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  22. 1967mustangman Inactive

    Pilli:Yes, the law is the law. But if there were an “Emergency”…

    Nahhh we held a Presidential election during a civil war. Nothing Obama can manufacture will stand up to that.

    • #22
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:34 PM PDT
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  23. Randy Webster Member

    1967mustangman:Okay, I think we should dial back the crazy on this. Obama has skirted the constitution by bending the rule and arguing terms. He can’t do that in this case. Not even an Obama FEC could find a way around the words.

    What would be the mechanism to prevent it? The courts? Who would have standing to sue? The FEC? I’m not sure of their enforcement powers. What if he just ignored them?

    • #23
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:36 PM PDT
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  24. Doctor Robert Member

    He would win by bigger margins than in 2008 and 2012. There are many more illegal voters these days.

    • #24
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:43 PM PDT
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  25. 1967mustangman Inactive

    The election would be uncertifiable. Republican elections officials everywhere would refuse to put his name on the ballot. An putative Obama campaign would have to sue to have his name put on the ballot. He would probably only wind op on 30%-60% percent of the ballots. Seriously guys this isn’t going to happen.

    Edited to change unverifiable to uncertifiable (what I meant originally).

    • #25
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:45 PM PDT
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  26. Randy Webster Member

    I have to admit that I don’t consider it at all likely, but he has shown a certain, um, disinterest in what the law says. And after all, he IS The One.

    • #26
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:50 PM PDT
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  27. 1967mustangman Inactive

    I think this is one we can safely assign to the crazy pile. If anyone could have done it, it would have been Bill.

    • #27
    • July 28, 2015, at 4:52 PM PDT
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  28. Yeah...ok. Inactive

    Wow. Imagine the flexibility he’ll have after that election. He’ll give Germany to Putin.

    • #28
    • July 28, 2015, at 5:09 PM PDT
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  29. Casey Inactive

    Palaeologus:

    Casey:

    Richard Anderson: He does his job well enough, never seems to be completely blamed or credited with anything, and yet glides from promotion to promotion.

    Ok, I’m warming to him…

    Casey, the man repeatedly voted “present” in the Senate while he simultaneously criticized responsible parties for their decisions.

    Now that is a guy with a future in Corporate America.

    We should get together in 3 to 6 months to discuss this.

    • #29
    • July 28, 2015, at 5:13 PM PDT
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  30. Leigh Member

    In context — to calm panic — Obama is basically saying it’s a good thing he can’t run. He’s giving “presidents-for-life” a bit of criticism. Sort of: “Hey, I see what you all are doing. I could do it too if it were legal in my country — but you know what? That’s not how democracy works.”

    Actually a fair point — though the “I could win too” was more than a little arrogant.

    • #30
    • July 28, 2015, at 5:27 PM PDT
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