What Will Obama Become?
[This article follows, “Who is Obama?” at http://www.jaygaskill.com/WhoIsObama.htm .]
A piece in the UK Telegraph, “Does Obama want to win in 2012?” (21 August, 2010, by Toby Harnden) makes the case that our POTUS of the moment is an intractable ideologue, to bend now in order to get reelected in 2012.
Here is the link:
And here are three pull quotes:
Almost everything Obama does these days suggests that he doesn’t care much about being re-elected. Strange as it might seem, perhaps he wants to be a one-term president.
Obama does not suffer for self doubt. He has long seemed so convinced of his own virtue that to question his motives is illogical. Increasingly, his pronouncements carry the tone of one who believes those who disagree are stupid or bigoted.
His presidential bid had been based on the power of his life story and his ability with the spoken word. Doubtless he was as surprised as anyone else that he pulled it off. Governing has been altogether more difficult for him and there are signs he is already tiring of it.
The article goes on, implying that Mr. Obama may not even choose to run for reelection.
Whether this assessment is correct is beside the point: It rings sufficiently true that it is beginning to shape the political reality in the Democratic Party. As this picture of Mr. Obama as an early lame duck begins to gain traction (this article is but one of several signs of that), he becomes a sitting duck for Democratic as well as Republican opposition. This is what you can expect to see within the next 14 months:
In stage one, Democrat-party affiliated elected officials and their appointed, but election-dependent counterparts, will quickly sort themselves into:
a. The go-down-with-the-ship crowd;
b. The quietly-jump-ship group (note the rumors that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will depart later this year);
c. The “who, me?” crowd that tries to get some political distance from the sinking ship (already evident among panicky Democrat incumbents who must face voters this November).
In stage two, active opposition will emerge within the ranks of the Democratic Party:
a. Formerly loyal donors will find other races besides Mr. Obama’s reelection campaign to fund (Mr. Obama’s apparent hostility to Israel has already angered key backers);
b. Pressure will mount for the president to “make clear his intentions” in time for someone else to mount a credible presidential campaign;
c. As the trend gains momentum, Mr. Obama will be taken on (and very likely defeated) in an early presidential primary.
This last scenario, if it plays out, eerily echoes LBJ’s last year in office.
Stage two has already begun.
Many of the rumors about Mr. Obama formerly associated with the fringe right are being quietly and covertly promoted by the Democratic center. Not a word of protest is being heard from the Clintons and their surrogates, for example, when this president’s national security judgment and Islamic biases are being questioned. The Los Angeles Times, ever a democratic newspaper, is beginning floating critical stories about the president that would have been deeply buried a year ago. If my suspicions are right, we will see many more critical stories and reports in the so called mainstream media over the next few months. If this happens, it will be the result of a “green light” from key Democratic backers and fundraisers.
If the current trends continue, someone is very likely to take on this sitting president from within his own party.
Mr. Obama has wisely “contained” Hillary Clinton in a renewed Middle East peace process. But that is for now. When and if Secretary Clinton leaves the administration, watch her next moves closely. She and her husband still have access to a large seed account and enjoy formidable fundraising capabilities.
Another politician to watch: If I were close to Mr. Obama, I’d begin to get nervous if Meg Whitman falters and Jerry Brown becomes the next California governor. A Jerry Brown presidential run in 2012, starting with the California Democratic Primary, would be his next move.
Politics is America’s answer to rugby, a true blood sport. Mr. Obama, to date, presents as a wispy academic who has never played a contact sport in his life.
Jay B Gaskill
The author is a California attorney who served as the alameda county Public defender 1989-1999 but gave up his ‘life of crime” for full time writing.
His profile is posted at www.jaygaskill.com/Profile.pdf
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