Walter Shapiro‘s Yahoo! News column examines what we know about the character and personalities of the 2012 candidates. Shapiro, who is covering his ninth presidential campaign, is also a special correspondent for the New Republic.
Wow, what a pedigree. I bet he’s got some seriously interesting things to say about how Obama will govern:
Dating back to Woodrow Wilson’s 1919 failure to bring the United States into the League of Nations, second presidential terms have almost always been disappointing and sad. There have been successes: Ronald Reagan passing tax reform in 1986 and Bill Clinton balancing the budget. But far more common are thwarted ambitions, scandal and a slow slide towards political irrelevance.
“This time it’s different” would be the likely response from Obama’s true believers. And these acolytes could be correct since historical patterns are merely suggestive rather than Marxist Iron Laws.
In other words, here is some stuff that might happen. Or it might not! The world is unpredictable! Pay me my golden ducats!
No modern president has been immune from scandal in his second term. Unless history has failed us completely, the sagas of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton do not require elaboration.
I have never ever met anyone who wanted to give Nixon a blowjob.
George W. Bush came close to hitting 25 percent approval in the waning days of his presidency partly because of an aura of incompetence dating back to the heck-of-a-job-Browniefederal response to Hurricane Katrina.
An aura of incompetence. Wow. What color was it? Did it glow?
Or, you know, Bush’s approval sucked because of ACTUAL INCOMPETENCE that got thousands of people dead. Plus he started a couple of wars America decided were bullshit, and then the economy imploded. Little things.
Given Obama’s heavy reliance on drone attacks, perhaps the most relevant cautionary lesson comes from a beloved second-term president. It was stubborn resistance to congressional oversight and impatience with the stodgy norms of national-security decision-making that led to Ronald Reagan’s 1986Iran-contra scandal.
Right. See, Reagan had to orchestrate that clusterfuck because of “stodgy norms” and how Congress kept checking his homework. So rude.
The Petraeus love triangle (or was it a rhombus?) is a reminder that a president cannot know everything about his appointees. It also underscores the dangers inherent in erecting marble statues for esteemed public officials prematurely.
Obama built Petraeus a statue? Where is it? I think we should lay boxes of condoms at its feet and pray to it for virilty.
After six years of anyone in the White House (even FDR or Reagan), the act begins to grow stale and voters crave a different kind of change.
The act. You know, that little entertainment routine known as BEING THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD.
What this means is that Obama probably has until the summer of 2014 to operate with maximum political leverage. After the 2014 congressional elections, he may begin to experience the first debilitating signs of lame-duckism. By the summer of 2015, Americans may find the early skirmishing for the presidential nomination more riveting than the seventh year of the Obama presidency.
Surely it won’t be the vaunted political press, above such trivial matters, that will be sick of all this boring-ass governance bullshit by then, and creating self-fulfilling prophecies about when “maximum political leverage” will be exhausted, as if it’s a bowl of sugar or something.
Maybe by the summer of 2015 all these idiots will be retired.