Fours Years and C-Ya: Why Obama Could Be a One-Term President

Barack Obama’s recent successes – health care reform, ABM treaty, improving economy – make 2010 look brighter for the Dems and 2012 look winnable for reelection by Mr. Obama. But I don’t think that he wants to run again, and that’s part of the plan.

Barack is a one-term president, by design.

The pace of this presidency is breath-taking, as noted by John Stewart the other night (link opens to video) when comparing Mr. Obama to Iron Man. Following on the heels of HCR, the administration made a series of announcements about major policy initiatives, and capped off the week with a trip to Afghanistan. Why is Obama in such a hurry, Mr. Stewart asked? Because he has a lot to do in only four years.

Compare the pace of this presidency to the relatively laconic pace of the Bush presidency. From the outset, that administration thought in terms of 8 years to push its agenda, and its first 4 years were devoted to reelection, with every action aimed at avoiding another one-term Bush presidency. A president who takes more vacation days than any other and tries to claim his Texas ranch as “White House West” is not in any particular hurry.

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President Obama, on the other hand, is not acting like a politician with his eyes glued on 2012. He is not pandering to his base – progressive Dems – or market testing reelection themes. He is, however, making bold steps in the face of intransigent resistance from Republicans and nervous pols in his own party. Willy-nilly talking heads foretell doom and gloom for the cautious president with a penchant for well-timed action, but he shrugs it off and focuses on the job.

Reading intentions from actions is a sure-fire way to make oneself look foolish, and if President Obama runs for reelection in 2012, I’ll certainly be eating my words. But my prediction is he will hand the leadership baton to Hillary, then spend time with his family before reemerging to take on a new challenge. His career-to-date shows a pattern of extensive brain-storming followed by meticulous planning and fastidious follow-through. My hunch is, he knew before running for president that
he’d stay for only one term, if elected. Now that he’s in the White
House, he’s sure acting like a man in a hurry