Economics

Why Obama Should Withdraw

The case against seeking a second term

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When Ronald Reagan ran for re-election in 1984, his slogan was "Morning in America." For Barack Obama, it's more like midnight in a coal mine.

The sputtering economy is about to stall out, unemployment is high, his jobs program may not pass, foreclosures are rampant, and the poor guy can't even sneak a cigarette.

His approval rating is at its lowest level ever. His party just lost two House elections—one in a district it had held for 88 consecutive years. He's staked his future on the jobs bill, which most Americans don't think would work.

The vultures are starting to circle. Former White House spokesman Bill Burton said that unless Obama can rally the Democratic base, which is disillusioned with him, "it's going to be impossible for the president to win." Democratic consultant James Carville had one word of advice for Obama: "Panic."

But there is good news for the president. I checked the Constitution, and he is under no compulsion to run for re-election. He can scrap the campaign, bag the fundraising calls, and never endure another Republican debate as long as he's willing to vacate the premises by Jan. 20, 2013.

That might be the sensible thing to do. It's hard for a president to win a second term when unemployment is painfully high. If the economy were in full rebound mode, Obama might win anyway. But it isn't, and it may fall into a second recession—in which case voters will decide his middle name is Hoover, not Hussein. Why not leave of his own volition instead of waiting to get the ax?

It's not as though there is much enticement to stick around. Presidents who win re-election have generally found, wrote John Fortier and Norman Ornstein in their 2007 book, Second-Term Blues, that "their second terms did not measure up to their first."

Presidential encores are generally a bog of frustration, exhaustion, and embarrassment. They are famous for lowest moments rather than finest hours. Richard Nixon was forced to resign in disgrace, Reagan had the Iran-contra scandal, and Bill Clinton made the unfortunate acquaintance of Monica Lewinsky.

Administration officials get weary after four years and leave in droves. The junior varsity has to be put into service. New ideas are hard to come by.

Someone said that when a man is smitten with a beautiful woman, he should remember that somebody somewhere is tired of her. Likewise, the most inspiring presidents get stale after years of constant overexposure.

In the event he wins, Obama could find himself with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress. Then he will long for the good old days of 2011. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner will bound out of bed each day eager to make his life miserable.

Besides avoiding this indignity, Obama might do his party a big favor. In hard times, voters have a powerful urge to punish incumbents. He could slake this thirst by stepping aside and taking the blame. Then someone less reviled could replace him at the top of the ticket.

The ideal candidate would be a figure of stature and ability who can't be blamed for the economy. That person should not be a member of Congress, since it has an even lower approval rating than the president.

It would also help to be conspicuously associated with prosperity. Given Obama's reputation for being too quick to compromise, a reputation for toughness would be an asset.

As it happens, there is someone at hand who fits this description: Hillary Clinton. Her husband presided over a boom, she's been busy deposing dictators instead of destroying jobs, and she's never been accused of being a pushover.

Not only that, Clinton is a savvy political veteran who already knows how to run for president. Oh, and a new Bloomberg poll finds her to be merely "the most popular national political figure in America today."

If he runs for re-election, Obama may find that the only fate worse than losing is winning. But he might arrange things so it will be Clinton who has the unenviable job of reviving the economy, balancing the budget, getting out of Afghanistan, and grappling with Eric Cantor. Obama, meanwhile, will be on a Hawaiian beach, wrestling the cap off a Corona.

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  1. For Barack Obama, it’s more like midnight in a coal mine.

    Yeah, that’s not racist.

    That person should not be a member of Congress, since it has an even lower approval rating than the president.

    We should never elect a Congressman or Senator to the White House. They don’t know how to govern. (They barely know how to legislate.)

    And Barack Obama, by all accounts, likes to campaign more than govern. He is probably looking forward to focusing on winning over local crowds at rallies rather than being in D.C. dealing with a job at which he is woefully maladroit. There is no way he steps aside for Hitlary.

    1. Great point on legislators vs. executives. Sadly, we, as an electorate, seem to reward familiarity with government rather than executive leadership when looking for a President. It certainly doesn’t help that there’s a two-party system chock full of lawyers-legislators-wannabe-presidents who get to choose who to present to us for our votes.

      1. +50 points for appropriate use of “maladroit”. Excellent overall post, FoE.

        1. -50 for “Hitlary.”

          1. I actually like ‘Hitlary’. It’s an ironic appreciation of it as the laziest token of Godwin’s Law conformity on the streets.

            1. …plus it gets the godwining out in the first post. Bravo!

              1. Yeah but I’m back to square one on points.

                1. +1 (feel better?)

                  1. You know, I was up fifty at one point.

                    1. -51 for point whoring.

    2. So, I guess Ron Paul is out and Romney/Perry are in?

      1. Ron Paul out? Get a load of Katherine Mangu-Ward over here.

        He’s the exception that proves the rule.

    3. Workin’ in a coal mine,
      Goin’ down, down, down…

  2. Good morning RACIST reason!

    1. Mornin’, heller Suki. You’re late.

      1. Good morning Sun icon. What’s shakin’?

  3. Get out of my head, Steve Chapman!

  4. If Obama doesn’t withdraw, a fucking Republican might win.

    1. You want single-party control of the government in 2012? I don’t.

      1. The only way that single-party control isn’t a disaster come 2012 is if Ron Paul is president, because he’d veto Republican bullshit just as fast as he’d veto Team BLUE bullshit.

        1. Haha, single party divided government. Oh what a day.

          1. Baldrick: Stranger things have happened.
            Blackadder: Well, exactly.
            Baldrick: That horse becoming Pope.
            Blackadder: For one.

            1. Excellent Blackadder reference. If only we could elect him.

        2. The only problem is that they both would impeach him on day one.

          1. Oh, but the hilarity that would ensue before that day was out. Its enough to make you shed a tear of joy.

      2. Single party control? Who gives a shit! I just don’t want any dirty Republican in the White House! Just thinking about it makes me want to take a shower!

        1. First it was a “fucking republican”, now it is a “dirty republican”, you are running out of choices.

          BTW, what is Ron Paul, a dirty or a fucking republican?

          1. BTW, what is Ron Paul, a dirty or a fucking republican?

            Bet on #2.

          2. He’s a racist Republican.

        2. So you’d prefer an elitist, race-baiting, bungling Democrat?

          Don’t like Republicans? Start fighting to get some decent people in your party. Become involved with the Democrats at the local level, and throw the passel of doctrinaire Lefty intellectual Twits who thought Obama was swell the hell out of the party.

      3. Given that it’s the only way to get rid of Obamacare – yes.

  5. I assume that he will not be using “change” as his next election slogan.

    1. “Stasis” would be an interesting choice.

      1. I think I would vote for him if he chose “suck it, bitches”. Strictly for the presence of balls, however.

    2. “Hope against hope.”

  6. As it happens, there is someone at hand who fits this description: Hillary Clinton. Her husband presided over a boom, she’s been busy deposing dictators instead of destroying jobs

    Are you giving Hillary credit for deposing Gadaffi in that illegal war?

    Chump.

    1. That war was illegal because Obamaramadingdong didn’t go to Congress and ask to make it official. If he had, he probably would have gotten what he asked for. Making a big deal about it being illegal makes little sense when criticizing anyone other than Obama.

      Now if you think it was a mistake, that’s another matter.

      1. Why didn’t he go to Congress then? He acted unconstitutionally for no reason?

        Clinton is a bad SoS and has screwed up several times. No surprise, since she had no relevant experience or expertise.

        1. The War Powers Act itself is constitutionality dubious. Why anyone pays attention to is is beyond me.

          Besides, what we did in Libya hardly constitutes war; It was more of an extended NATO exercise.

    2. Hillary’s track record on staring down dictators is unimpressive. She abandoned Georgia when Russia invaded it. She praised Indonesia as a model country despite its ban on pornography. Hillary objected to Israel allowing Jews building homes in restricted neighborhoods but is silent about the PA making it a capital crime to sell land to Jews. She makes no protest over Egypt’s crackdown on bloggers or Turkey’s threat to send ground troops into Iraq (http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=16800). She ignores Belarus’s (http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/29551/) and Ethiopia’s oppression of journalists. Finally, Hillary can’t get Americans released from prisons in Iran and Cuba.

    3. she’s been busy deposing dictators paving the way for Muslim extremist dictators instead of destroying jobs

      Still a little early to say, but that’s the way I’m betting.

      And, of course, when it comes to the two dictatorships that matter (Iran and Syria), she has been more supporty than deposy.

    4. “Not only that, Clinton…”the most popular national political figure in America today.”

      Thank you for reminding me why opinion polls are fucking worthless.

  7. Color me dubious.

    The reason that Obama won the nomination was mostly because no one wanted to vote for Hillary in the first place.

    Any rise in her popularity is a result of her largely being absent from the public spotlight for the last couple of years. Once she starts getting on camera again and talking people will remember why they didn’t want to vote for her last time.

    1. Surely it was more than just dislike for Clinton, race was a big factor and will probably be enough to win the sentimental vote again.

      1. I know women that loved Bill Clinton…and hated Hillary. Figure that

    2. Democrats didn’t vote for her last time, not “people”. She lost in the primaries, not a general election, and for Team BLUE voting in a black man was more important than any other consideration they had for Billary.

      1. Agree with general point. Just wanted to say I don’t think it was Hilary all by herself. There seemed to be a general sense among Democrats that they wanted to be rid of the Clintons as a couple/team.

        1. Now that they are free from overcoming the racial divide the democracts can concentrate on shattering more glass ceilings.

        2. Right. But what I’m suggesting is that if Obama weren’t black, or if he weren’t in the running last election, we’d currently have Hillary as president.

          It was that they didn’t like Billary, it’s that they thought electing a black man was more important.

  8. Howis it a country of some ~1M people could produce a Washington and a Jefferson, but now when we have ~300M our choices are Perry, Obama, Romney and now … Her Thighness – Queen sHillary.

    1. Because we are the domesticated descendants of the brave and free people who came here to escape domestication.

      1. Hrmph. Pretty good answer.

      2. Once with heads held high
        They sang out to the sky
        Why do their shadows bow in fear?

        1. +1 for the semi-obscure Rush tune reference!

          1. No Rush reference is obscure in Libertarian-land.

      3. Because we are the domesticated descendants of the brave and free people who came here to escape domestication.

        Which is why any potential space colonization will ultimately take place apart from the state; private individuals have no other choice to try and escape the yoke of government now that there aren’t any massive chunks of fertile land left here.

        1. damn physics for keeping us earthbound. God help the cosmos if we escape though.

        2. That’s a major theme of the partially tongue-in-cheek How To Live On Mars.

          1. I really enjoyed that book.

        3. The Mars simulation is getting restless.

          http://www.abc.net.au/news/201…..ite=sydney

    2. That’s easy. Who wants to hold power in a sparsely populated hinterland on the edge of the earth? A citizen who will get joy seeing his country grow and flourish.

      Who wants to grab the reins of the world’s (possibly history’s) greatest power and wield influence over, not just the whole planet, but history itself? … all the while keeping in mind that to get said job requires a minimum of a solid year and a half of pandering and telling sweet lies that the crowd wants to hear, traveling around constantly, begging for money from individuals and corporations, and virtually never sleeping. Answer: a power-hungry, self-important bastard.

      1. + 1 to Name Nomad

    3. That actually makes sense to me.

      The Colonies were a somewhat amorphous, unformed entity – not quite a blank slate, but on that end of the spectrum.

      The distance between zero and Lawgiver in that kind of society (particularly if the population isn’t that great) is not nearly as wide as it is in a mature bureaucratic system with its own ingrained precedents and procedures and traditions and entrenched interests.

      A Themistocles could jump a few pay grades and run Athens – as long as he was a genius. To move up politically in the US requires a different sort of man and a different sort of ability.

      1. Speaking of Themistocles, the guy saved Greece from the Persian invasion, but even he was not immune from the politicians. He was eventually forced into exile by the same class of people that usually end up running most nations throughout history.

      2. Great point about how mature bureaucracies are one of the primary reasons the U.S. can’t change its political culture.

        1. So Jefferson was right – we need a revolution every 50 years or so.

          1. Mao Zedong had the same idea which resulted in the Cultural Revolution.

            1. Mao was looking for MORE control. Jefferson was looking to sweep away control. Big difference.

      3. To move up politically in this country requires that one has a law degree and no soul.
        Or is that redundant?

        1. Lawyers are easy patients when it comes to surgery. No brains, no heart, no guts, no balls. Plus the head and the ass are interchangeable.

        2. Everyone hates lawyers until they need one.

          1. I fail to see how that is mutually exclusive.

            1. Fair enough.

              1. It’s 99% if lawyers who give the rest a bad name.

      4. To move up politically in the US requires a different sort of man and a different sort of ability.

        They have to remove the gag reflex so that they can suck the cock of donors while looking them in the eye and not tear up.

      5. The frontier was a natural check on the power of the State, and thus on the attractiveness of the State to the Wrong Sort.

        Now, the Total State claims jurisdiction over the entire universe. There is no place on earth that they do not claim the authority to pursue you, and they claim authority over your very neurochemistry.

        That kind of power naturally attracts not just the Wrong Sort, but the Very Worst.

    4. You mean your presidential predilections include owning slaves? RAAAAACIIIIIST!

    5. Time has a way of making Washington and Jefferson look better than they were. Both were great men in their generation, but I don’t think they would be praiseworthy if they lived today. Perry, Obama, Romney, and Hillary have their flaws, but none of them owned slaves or believe that women shouldn’t vote.

      1. And if Washington and Jefferson were alive today, they wouldn’t own slaves either, or believe that women shouldn’t vote.

        1. I dunno. At least on the part about women voting.

          Yes I know it is socially unacceptable to say women shouldn’t vote, but seriously.

          How many men are going to base their vote on the candidate’s smile?

          1. I know plenty of men who have and would vote for Sarah Palin purely on MILF-yness.

            1. One of them named John posts here a lot.

            2. That is the stretchy-exception that proves the rule. Sorry, ladies, but Kennedy, Clinton, Obama – these are all squarely your responsibility.

            3. NO, you really don’t whore.

            4. What I would have done to Sarah Palin based on MILF-yness isn’t called voting.

          2. Well, if their mindsets were anything like the written word of Adams in his papers (not his own mindset, mind you), they wouldn’t likely have a problem with it. Back then, it was more of a fear of allowing those to vote who would be intimidated by others: slaves, Indians, tenants, apprentices, etc.

      2. I’m about sick of hearing this bullshit pathetic ad hominem attack on Jefferson (et al).

        You judge a man based on the times HE lived in, not on the times YOU live in. Jefferson was way ahead of his time concerning race.

        1. Not really. Slavery was controversial pretty much from the birth of the country. Many thought it absolutely appalling that someone would own another person. Washington and Jefferson? Not so much. I respect both for many of their beliefs and what they ‘stood for’, but there’s no reason to justify what was considered bad behavior even then.

          1. I love it how you liberal types will hide behind the law when convenient, then denounce the concept of liberty because of “old white slave owners”.

            Show me a liberal and I’ll show you a hypocrite.

            1. What law am I hiding behind? Also, this is the first I’ve ever been accused of being a liberal, but perhaps you’re confusing me with someone else…

              1. WMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMW?

              2. N != W

                oops

                1. Someday I’m going to change my handle…

                  1. Just stop posting

                    1. Oooh, anonymous Internet commenter… you words are like daggers to my soul.

                      Barf.

          2. I would agree with you…if you were right.

            Jefferson owned slaves, yes, but often wrote and spoke of the immorality of owning slaves and the correct way to abolish the practice. As I said, WAY ahead of his time for a southern plantation owner.

            1. So Jerfferson owned slaves but wrote expensively on slavery’s immorality? So does that make him an enigma or a hypocrite? Again, I highly respect Jefferson for his ideas, but that doesn’t mean we have to rationalize or justify bad behavior.

              Slavery was wrong and it was appalling that Jefferson practiced it, he also had a great mind and his ideas on individual liberty, natural rights, and the proper role of government are what made this country great.

              1. 1. Compare Jefferson to his peers, southern plantation owners, and tell me his views on slavery weren’t cutting edge.

                2. He was in business. What did you want him to do? “Oh, I don’t believe in slavery, so on principle I’ll free my slaves. It won’t matter that I’ll lose all my possessions because I’ll no longer be able to compete with slave owning plantations. I’ll feel good knowing I’m doing the right thing.” Your argument is overly simplistic.

                3. Yes, he was a hypocrite. He violated his own principles on NUMEROUS occasions while in office. Further substantiating that power corrupts.

                4. I wasn’t justifying his “bad behavior”. I was chastising those employing ad hominem attacks. “Time has a way of making Washington and Jefferson look better than they were.” As if their inability to live up to their lofty principles somehow lessen the validity of those principles.

                1. 1. Sure, when you compare Jefferson to some slave holders he looks pretty good…OTOH, when you compare him to others who abhorred slavery and never practiced it, he looks pretty bad. IOW, he was neither a brutal slave master, but he wasn’t ahead of his time. He was somewhere in between an abolitionist (and there were many) and a southern plantation owner (and there were many). He certainly isn’t about reproach.

                  2. It must have been he’ll for those in the north having to compete wi slave labor. How did their economies ever manage to survive?

                  3. Great. We agree on something.

                  4. How is that an ad hominem attack? Time DOES have a way of making president look better than they were. Most presidents have records that are mixed. Washington and Jefferson did a lot of great things, more so certainly than any of the presidents we’ve seen in the last century (and the current no doubt), but they also made a lot of questionable decision.

                  1. Damn iPad keyboard. Point 4 should have ended with the idea that Washington and Jefferson (and all presidents for that matter) should be judged based on both the good and bad.

                  2. 1. For the environment in which he lived…he was. Those in the south who thought slavery wrong were in the VAST minority. Are you implying that anyone who owned a slave couldn’t possibly have been a great man because of it?

                    2. They didn’t compete, because they couldn’t. They turned to industry.

                    3. That pains me.

                    4. Time and again on this site, anyone quoting Jefferson is rebutted with “you are quoting a slave owner.” It doesn’t get any more ad hominem than that. jtuf, to whom I was replying, stated “I don’t think they would be praiseworthy if they lived today” BECAUSE THEY OWNED SLAVES 200 YEARS AGO. He is judging a man based on current standards rather than those of the period the man lived. It’s like calling Eisenhower a war criminal because he bombed civilians during a period in which it was perfectly acceptable to bomb civilians. Irrational.

                  3. 1. For the environment in which he lived…he was. Those in the south who thought slavery wrong were in the VAST minority. Are you implying that anyone who owned a slave couldn’t possibly have been a great man because of it?

                    2. They didn’t compete, because they couldn’t. They turned to industry.

                    3. That pains me.

                    4. Time and again on this site, anyone quoting Jefferson is rebutted with “you are quoting a slave owner.” It doesn’t get any more ad hominem than that. jtuf, to whom I was replying, stated “I don’t think they would be praiseworthy if they lived today” BECAUSE THEY OWNED SLAVES 200 YEARS AGO. He is judging a man based on current standards rather than those of the period the man lived. It’s like calling Eisenhower a war criminal because he bombed civilians during a period in which it was perfectly acceptable to bomb civilians. Irrational.

                    1. Sorry, not sure why I got the double post.

          3. “Not really.”

            Yes really.

            1. You mean ‘yes really’ slavery wasn’t controversial at the time and therefore we shouldn’t judge Jefferson too harshly’? Or do you mean ‘yes really, Jefferson. Was ahead of his time in terms of his views on slavery’? Either way, you’re wrong.

    6. Just remember, those first two men weren’t directly elected. And even voting for Congress back then required that you had property.

      1. So you had to have property before you could choose the people who have the power to take away property from one person and give it to another?

        I fail to see the problem.

        1. +1. Requiring property ownership as a condition of suffrage would solve a lot of contemporary problems. It would detach a lot of useless mouths from the bloated government teat.

          1. Or with full control of the electoral process, property owners could use this unchecked power to seek subsidies, tax breaks, mortgage relief etc.

            1. But since rent-seeking like this comes at somebody’s expense, and the other taxpayers are limited to those who would foot the bill, there is a better chance it would be nipped in the bud.

          2. In this country the parasites are the rich, beyond question. They are the ones with the power to influence policy. And it’s not they who are disproportionately locked up in state prisons. So your little fascist formulation seems to have a flaw.

            Christ, so many of you actually believe this don’t you? Not everyone should have a say in their own government, only certain types of people you think deserve it. For freedom.

            1. Rent seeking by the rich (mostly corporations) and political class is often cloaked in the mantle of protecting the poor, the middle class, the environment, etc… Think farm subsidies, green subsidies, or any other protection against actual market competition.

              If you really think about your views, they’re quite in line with the rich and powerful. With a few famous exceptions, you’ll find very few wealthy business men who consider themselves libertarians.

            2. If you really think…

              He doesn’t think. He emotes.

            3. But not us, Tony; right? We’re good and benevolent in our endeavors.

      2. If I am not mistaken Jefferson believed in the importance of an informed electorate. Landowners had a larger stake in government so they had more incentive to be informed voters.

    7. There are still incredibly bright, faithful, and freedom-loving people in America.

      It’s just that we’ve expanded the franchise, and a majority would never vote for them.

    8. Hey we do have Johnson and Paul.

      1. Either of whome would be a big improvement. Neither of which will get voted in.

  9. Let me be clear.

    I am no Sarah Palin.

  10. I remember when Reason Magazine was more than a ‘right-wing rag’.

    1. At what time did you cancel your subscription?

    2. Please, cancel your subscription now! Show your disgust.

      1. Well I don’t know, he didn’t explicitly say that Reason was more than a right-wing mag when Virginia Postrel was editing.

        1. I am gonna drink anyway. Just in case.

          1. Let me be clear.

            Me, too.

            1. They’re all going to laugh at you!!!!!!!

    3. I remember when the trolls here were much more wittier.

      1. “…much more wittier.”?

        And when the trolls used good grammar.

        1. Or even proper grammar.

          1. “good grammar” is perfectly acceptable here, FOAD.

    4. Well tadcf, there used to be many more Liberals commenting here, but they all lost interest in being anti-government the day Obama got into office. I expect them to be back the moment the Dems lose control of DC, but we’ll remember their fickleness.

      1. Oh the sweet irony of democrats posing as anti-government.

        I guess we just need to grow the government to get the government out of our bedrooms, right guys?

  11. “The case against seeking a second term.”
    You forgot the most important one His is a dumb son-of-a-bitch!

    1. I’m gonna call Joez Law on this one.

      1. I really am a stupid shit.

    2. …should read He is….

  12. So Chapman, the Obama sycophant, who told us Obama was great and more than capable, suddenly wakes up? What is it with these people like Chapman and Peggy Noonan. It was obvious from the start this guy was immensely underqualified for the job. Why does Reason still give this guy a platform…He is about as insightful as an AP or Reuters economist.

    1. And a year from now he’ll be writing that an Obama reelection is the lesser of two evils.

    2. To be honest, he hadn’t really done anything to prove his inadequacy before he was elected.

      1. To be equally honest, being a community organizer and a US senator for 16 months is not exactly a deep resume either. This guy represents a catharsis for the hippies who feel guilty that they were born white and privileged.

        OK. Now that we got that out of our system, and Chris Matthews needs to send his pants to the dry cleaners, can we get back to exercising some skepticism when looking at our future leaders?

        I am not expecting big things from team red or blue, but this guy makes James Earl Carter look competent. Such a sorry POS for a president is bullshit.

  13. Hillary didn’t really want it in 2008. That’s why she let another cog in her Chicago Machine take the nomination and then the fall. She probably isn’t interested in 2012 either, but someone is going to have to step in, I’m pretty sure.

    1. She wanted to win. How else do you explain her keeping up her campaign right through the end when every Obama hack journalist (and that would be all of them) were telling her to throw in the towel for the good of the party?

      1. That was a grand deception. But the tell was when every dc media type pushed too hard on the rivalry theme. When every news source in Washington is saying the exact same thing, it’s usually a lie.

  14. We are in a Depression. The party in power gets the blame. It wasn’t totally fair to blame Hoover for the Depression in the 1930s. As everyone other than pinhead liberal journalists knows, Hoover was a big spender and hardly “a free market do nothing President”. But it happened on his watch and fairly or unfairly him and the Republicans got the blame for a generation afterward.

    Same thing is happening here. Seventy years from now revisionist historians will argue that Obama wasn’t a socialist and did things like extend the Bush tax cuts to try to revive the economy. But it won’t matter. The Dems are taking the fall for this. Even if Obama withdraws the Democrat who replaces him on the ticket will still be associated with this disaster. The election in 2008 was not 1932 all over again as Dems so fervently hoped. It was 1928 all over again with Barrack W. Hoover playing the lead.

    1. During the Great Depression there was 25% unemployment. Many people didn’t know whether they were gonna eat on a given day or whether there would be a roof over their heads even if they did.

      This is not a depression.

      In fact, the 70s were worse — with the high inflation and gas lines and the sense of impending doom.

      1. We have effective 16% unemployment. Our credit rating is being downgraded. We can’t pay our bills. The difference between now and the 1930s is that the government was broke in the 1930s. We are about to get the double dip when Europe goes belly up in the next few months. This is as bad as the 1930s. We just don’t realize it yet.

        1. The government may have been out of “money”, but it wasn’t bankrupt, as FDR proved. The great public leveraging began and we’ve almost never let up from the gas.

          Its really gonna hurt when it comes down around us.

          1. I mistyped (surprise surprise). I meant to say the government WAS NOT BROKE in the 1930s.

      2. During the Great Depression there was 25% unemployment.

        Calculate employment today with the formulae used in the past, and you get unemployment rates north of 18%.

        1. During the Great Depression there was 25% unemployment.

          I always like to point out when people are talking about unemployment during the depression that the country was also going through a serious drought and the Dust bowl. 21% of the workforce in the 1930s was farmers or farm workers. Not every farmer was pushed off his land but a large number, especially in the south, were. The famous pictures of Okies were some of these people.
          The depression also pushed farm crop prices down, which did not help when you had poor crop yields and a poor price.
          Unemployment numbers now would be worse if we had a similar disaster besides a poor economy.

          1. Speaking of the Dust Bowl, I understand the Ogalala aquifer is in the process of drying up again, and could do so in as early as ten years. I know the time obviously is far from a perfect match, but it’s a bit creepy isn’t it?

      3. This is not a depression.

        The employment to population ratio is the lowest in 30 years, and there are record numbers of people on food stamps. Obama just had to extend unemployment bennies yet again. We’re running deficits of 12% of GDP to get a growth rate of less than 2%.

        Just because you don’t see hundreds of people standing in bread lines doesn’t mean we’re not in a depression. It’s just being papered over right now with $1.5 trillion in debt and no “lightning in a bottle” with the internet bubble that Clinton enjoyed to pull us out of it.

        1. I’d say things are a lot worse than the Great Depression. The global economy is going to come to a hault soon. China is in poor shape, Europe is worse. Moreover, unlike in 1930 our governments are massively indebted, and in the case of China holdings reserves that will do them no good since they are mostly IOUs from the USA, and a rapidy graying population. Lastly, unlike in 1930, where Keynesianims was still in its infancy, our nation has been affected by that cancer for nearly 70s year now. It’s like comparing pnuemonia in a 20 year old versus a 70 year old. Its serious in a 20 year old, its dam fucking terrifying in a 70 year old. Guess which one we are.

      4. Even if it’s not a depression yet, it will be with the government taking money from individuals to try and “centrally plan” the economy.

        There are also good arguments to be made for inflation and unemployment rate change calculations that I suggest you educate yourself on before attempting to use those arguments.

  15. Was it Chapman or Cavenaugh who made the infamous, “I have always wanted to vote for a black man for President” statement when explaining his vote for Obama in 2008?

    1. What am I, chopped liver?

    2. That was Cavanaugh.

      Chapman’s Obama quote as to why he was getting his vote: “he shows an intelligence and temperament that suggest he will govern more pragmatically than ideologically.”

      1. That is even worse. Cavanaugh was just a guilty white guy. Jesus Chapman was flat out delusional.

      2. Did he say it while wearing his mobster outfit?

        If so, he gets a pass.

  16. Suck it, Chapman. I’m goin’ for five terms!

  17. Suck it, Chapman. I’m goin’ for five terms!

  18. He wont withdraw, his ego wont let him.
    He shouldnt because no matter who runs against him, Obama is the greater of two evils and will lose hands down.
    I would pay anything to be a fly on the wall in the room when Obama sees the final vote countj in 2012.

    1. Cthulu why have you forsaken me?!

      1. My guess on what will be uttered anyways

  19. Hillary has some major problems, such as her closeness to Janet Reno and that whole murdering of children thing.

  20. If you take off any partisan blinders, and assume that as a Democrat Obama would be in favor of Democratic policies (that is, don’t blame him for the policies themselves), then it’s hard to see what horrible mistakes he’s made. If he’s made mistakes they’ve been minor.

    But what’s been operating is simple game theory: his opposition is willing to see the country fail, and it’s hard to win in that kind of negotiation.

    Where Obama’s been allowed to act, he’s been quite able: passing the first significant healthcare reform in generations, pretty good financial industry reforms, taking out OBL, etc. So it wouldn’t matter if Hillary or Jesus Christ (D-Texas) were president, the GOP would try to make him fail and would be glad to take the country down with him. It’s an untenable situation, to be solved only by extinguishing the GOP from electoral success forever. But they may very well win because their strategy may very well work: convince enough Americans that, even though every single one of their policies is abysmally unpopular, if we vote for them maybe they’ll just shut up for a change.

    1. Vote for my party, the other party wants to destroy America !

      1. That would seem to be the prudent course of action and a nice summation of the available evidence.

        1. Because false dichotomies are the best way to live your life!

          1. Do you suppose there are more than 2 viable parties at the national level?

            1. It’s happened before. How do you think the Whigs lost power?

              1. Do you think it will happen again any time soon?

                By all means, vote 3rd party, I won’t encourage you otherwise.

                1. I don’t think it’ll happen via vote, but considering the civil unrest in Europe and the Middle East, I can definitely see it happening here in the next 12 years.

                  1. However, whether I think it’ll happen or not is largely irrelevant; positing there are only two choices exposes logical fallacies that you appear to live by.

                    1. It’s not a fallacy, it’s reality. Our system is constitutionally set up to function as a two-party state. We have to change the way our elections are done fundamentally to get to a multi-party system, something I’d be totally in favor of.

                    2. Hmm, a quick search of the Constitution reveals no instance of the word “party”.

                    3. I take it back. It uses “party” in the sense of party to a treat, party in a court proceeding.

                      There is no mention in the Constitution of political parties, nor does the Constitution mandate a two-party system.

                      The two-party system is mandated by state and Federal law, not by the Constitution.

                    4. Toni’s grasp of history is about as solid as cigarette smoke.
                      *takes drag on fresh Marlboro Red*

                      Many of the founding fathers warned against the creation of political parties. Amazing those founding fathers.

                    5. Exactly. The Constitution has a provision for ties in any Presidential election – the top FIVE candidates will be sorted out by Congress.

                    6. I LOVE being a shill for war maintaining the Total State because if I don’t we would definitely get more war and human suffering.

                      Tony: when you realize that you’re part of the problem by insisting on upholding the party duopoly, get back to us.

                    7. Did you not catch the part where I’m totally in favor of reforming our election laws to allow for a multi-party system? I’m just saying it won’t happen by hoping.

                      I think our government is fundamentally flawed. The constitution is a decent document but it’s just outdated. Not its fault, since it was the first of its kind. But it didn’t make for easy reform either.

    2. ^^ Weapons grade stupid. Or spoof. Honestly can’t tell.

      1. It’s Tony. It’s weapon grade stupid.

    3. Where Obama’s been allowed to act, he’s been quite able: passing the first significant healthcare reform in generations, pretty good financial industry reforms, taking out OBL, etc.

      The healthcare reform which is such a turdburger his administration was handing out waivers like Bit-O-Honeys on Halloween. Financial industry reforms that haven’t done jack shit to actually force the banks to mark their assets to market. Taking out OBL is about the only significant achievement of substance he can point to, and it doesn’t even matter because we’re still in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      So it wouldn’t matter if Hillary or Jesus Christ (D-Texas) were president, the GOP would try to make him fail and would be glad to take the country down with him.

      And lefties are delusional enough to claim they don’t have a martyr complex.

    4. But there in lies the problem for Obama Tony. Where a liberal loves those things you’ve mentioned, and a democrat might force themselves to see the silverlining in those policies. Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and independents pretty much view Obamas accomplishments as travesties that need a whole lot of mr. clean to wipe away.

      1. That’s because you don’t allow the realities of the world to intrude upon a good story. Only someone completely unattached to reality can see wall street regulations as too strong or the healthcare status quo as good enough.

        1. Coming from someone who knows zero about wall street, let alone the regulations, preaching about reality.

    5. Why would you not blame someone for being a proponent of policies that fail?

    6. “his opposition is willing to see the country fail”

      10-4.

  21. And wouldn’t it be great if the Chicago Cubs won the World Series?!

    What? If we’re talking about favorite fantasies, why cannot I mention one of mine?

    Obama won’t for many reaons (ego, ego, ego, and, last but not least, ego) but also because Hilary Clinton’s first act would be to … repeal Obamacare. Hilary would want a second term. Nothing would endear her to the public more and take the biggest arrow out of the Republicans’ quiver than to campaign that she will repeal it and then work with the Republicans on a health care reform plan that both parties can accept. And while she too wants government health care, she’s learned from her own failed attempt the political reality of only one side wanting it.

    As long as health care reform is partisan, it will be eventually repealed by the party that opposes it. The same would have been the case if President Bush has passed one with only Republican votes. If Bush had, Obama would have repealed it as the first act of his presidency. This is just political reality.

    But Obama cannot consider such a future. It would wipe out his biggest accomplishment. It would make his presidency a joke. Yes, the Republican replacement will do it but that’s expected. To have a fellow Democrat do it would be totally unacceptable. That’s another hard reality.

    So when can I expect a Reason article on how Chicago will go crazy when the Chicago Cubs win the World Series?

    1. Obamacare’s popularity isn’t great but it’s hardly in the gutter–it’s more popular than pretty much anything the GOP has to offer on anything. The biggest problem with Obamacare seems to have been that it was a legislative victory for Obama.

      1. The biggest problem with Obamacare seems to have been that it was a legislative victory for Obama.

        No, the biggest problems with Obamacare is that 1) lefties actually think expanding a part of government that already takes up 40% of federal spending will reduce the cost; and 2) it uses false accounting that even Angelo Mozillo would have envied.

        1. There are big problems with it, but they are universally the result of the influence of Karen Ignagni and other healthcare industry puppets on capitol hill. Remember, Obama campaigned against the individual mandate. It was put in to appease the industry.

          1. Got it. The most powerful man in the world, with approval ratings over the 60% mark (at the time) and supermajorities in both houses of Congress is powerless in the face of some woman named Karen Ignagni.

            1. She would be the top lobbyist for the healthcare industry. He surely wasn’t all-powerful, and evidently not powerful enough to completely run over the demands of that lobby and its agents in Congress. The only reason he was able to pass anything at all was because he got buy-in from the industry (they stopped the pretense and started attacking the plan in the end).

              1. Weapons grade stupid. Some lobbyist can thwart the President of the United States with her voodoo magic powers.

                1. Um the president doesn’t write legislation. Increasingly, private industries do via their bought congressmen, though.

                  1. So ARRA and the “Jobs Bill” did not come directly from the administration to congress?

                    Please.

                    1. ohwait, that’s right, the “Jobs Bill” doesn’t even exist yet (thankfully). Sorry about that confusion there.

                  2. Um the president doesn’t write legislation. Increasingly, private industries do via their bought congressmen, though.

                    So Obamacare was written by private industry but the “stimulus” wasn’t?

              2. The only reason he was able to pass anything at all was because he got buy-in from the industry (they stopped the pretense and started attacking the plan in the end).

                No, the only reason he was able to pass anything at all was because the Democrats finally stopped writing the bill.

              3. [He surely wasn’t all-powerful, and evidently not powerful enough to completely run over the demands of that lobby and its agents in Congress. ]

                House majority and super majority in the Senate and the Presidency is “surely” not all powerful? Meaning, you’d be willing to concede the same for the Republicans for four years and not howl like a cut dog as they flush the Obamacare turd down the shitter?

      2. You so sure about that Tony? I think the election of Obama proves that when the American public is sufficently frustrated with a president, i.e Bush, then it doesn’t matter who they elect as long as it is someone who is against what that person was for, regardless on whether or not they have any business being in the white house or not.

        1. You’ll never catch me defending the intelligence of the American people. What scares me is that one of the two political parties requires us to be stupid and scared and confused about our own best interests in order for it to succeed.

          1. You’re half right.

          2. I just love how these Democrat types who claim they are ‘for the people’ continually put on display just hoiw much they despise the people ‘they are for.’

            1. As P.J. O’Rourke once pointed out, these are the politicians who are always complaining that our educational system must not be working because it keeps turning out all these stupid people. Then it’s these people they’re asking to vote for them so they can keep the current education system in place. There’s a conspiracy theory in there somewhere if you’re looking hard enough.

              Of course, he’s also the guy who said that conservatives keep telling you how the government doesn’t work, and then they get elected and prove it.

          3. You mean like if we don’t hurry and change the entire world economy on the word of the liberal priesthood, the entire planet is looking at environmental catastrophe and we’re all going to see unprecedented ecological destruction? Or, if you vote for “him”, it’s a vote for racism? Or if you vote for “them” you’re voting for the expansion of the war state and American international adventurism? Or if you vote for “them” millions will continue to be jailed for drugs? Or if you vote for “them” you’re ensuring that homosexuals will continue to be fucked over?

            Shut.The.Fuck.Up.

            1. The second paragraph, is that a campaign slogan?

    2. Hilary Clinton’s first act would be to … repeal Obamacare.

      I don’t think she would. I do think that she would try to get bipartisan reform for it, which might even pass, though I doubt the end result would be anything people here would be happy with.

  22. The premise is retarded on its face. Then you went and wrote a 1000 word article on it.

    1. I’m a dreamer. (That’s why I voted for Obama in the first place!)

      1. Dreamer? I do not think the word means what you think it means.

  23. It would be a real shame if Obama didn’t run for a second term. As a Canadian I have to say he’s the only politician that has made any sense to us for the past 10 years in the states. A little crazy to hear the reaction to the coma question at the Tea Party debate. Absolutely shameful, immoral, and disgusting!

  24. The equasion is simple: No Obama, no black vote. It’s not racist, it’s fact. The Democratic party has depended on the black vote to deliver the big cities to them for decades. They dare not dump him and he will not step down. The Dems are in a no-win scenario, and they know it.

    1. Why would they dump him? The economy is awful yet he’s still one of the most popular politicians in DC.

      1. The economy is awful yet he’s still one of the most popular politicians in DC.

        Just because DC is divorced from the current reality isn’t why they wouldn’t dump him; it’s because if they did so, they might as well concede defeat in 2012. There’s still plenty of SWPLs in the DC metroplex that run the party that are aware of what happened in 1968 after Johnson decided not to run.

      2. “One of the most popular …”

        Popular how? Jimmy Carter is popular, just not in a good way.

  25. midnight in a coal mine

    OK. Stuck here. Why should it matter what time of day it is in a coal mine?

    There. Got my Monday pedantry out of my system. You may continue arguing back and forth.

    1. He’s trying to point out, with characteristic subtlety, that this president is really, really black.

  26. Presidential encores are generally a bog of frustration, exhaustion, and embarrassment. They are famous for lowest moments rather than finest hours. Richard Nixon was forced to resign in disgrace, Reagan had the Iran-contra scandal, and Bill Clinton made the unfortunate acquaintance of Monica Lewinsky.

    But Reagan was illegally funding the Contras during his first term. And Nixon pulled his “dirty tricks” during his first term as well. It seems like the first term is where the lowest moments happen. The second term is just where they get caught. Lord knows what would have happened if Kennedy had made it to round two…

    1. Interesting. This means maybe there IS more to the Solyndra, Fast & Furious or LightSquared than we now know. Waterboard Unle Omar and this could hopefully get interesting.

  27. Let Michael Moore run instead of him — instant clusterfuck

    1. That idea is funny enough to pay for. RPA, do ya have a PAC? Because I just got a dream.

  28. There’s a long time between now and election day. Things were looking tough in the middle of Reagan’s first term. Then it was “Morning in America” and he won in the greatest landslide ever.

    I don’t want him for president, but there is no way it is hopeless for him.

    1. Somehow I don’t think running guns to narcoterrorists will go over as well as funding the Contras.

  29. Interestingly enough, I think it is possible that Obama is playing to lose so that a Republican will be in the White House when the final and most devastating crash does occur. He (or his advisers who are his actual brains) know just how short the American attention span is and are counting on them blaming the person in office instead of the person who set it up.

    1. You’re wrong; most Americans still blame Bush.

      1. DC metroplex that run the party that are aware of what happened in 1968 after Johnson decided not to run.replica rolex

  30. May Obama also have a
    replica rolex

  31. DC metroplex that run the party that are aware of what happened in 1968 after Johnson decided not to run.

  32. DC metroplex that run the party that are aware of what happened in 1968 after Johnson decided not to run.

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