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Charming but naïve: Obama shouldn’t run for reelection 2010-Nov-14 at 01:23 PST

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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From One and done: To be a great president, Obama should not seek reelection in 2012, by Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell, 14-Nov-2010:

This is a critical moment for the country. From the faltering economy to the burdensome deficit to our foreign policy struggles, America is suffering a widespread sense of crisis and anxiety about the future. Under these circumstances, Obama has the opportunity to seize the high ground and the imagination of the nation once again, and to galvanize the public for the hard decisions that must be made. The only way he can do so, though, is by putting national interests ahead of personal or political ones.

To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012.

If the president goes down the reelection road, we are guaranteed two years of political gridlock at a time when we can ill afford it. But by explicitly saying he will be a one-term president, Obama can deliver on his central campaign promise of 2008, draining the poison from our culture of polarization and ending the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity and common purpose.

If Obama announced this week that he wouldn’t seek reelection, it would Bring Hope Back™ for a little while.  That’s why this idea is so charming… for a little while, it’ll be right.  The country would seem united again, there would be excitement that we could work through our problems quickly, and that we could come together around some simple ideas that most of us agree on.  Unfortunately, after some months, it would fade, and impatience would once again take over.

Soon the Democrats in Congress would stop listening to President Obama, because their neck is on the line in the next election, but not his.

And the Republicans… if you think that what you’ve seen so far is what an uncooperative Republican Caucus looks like, you haven’t seen them when he’s not even an opponent anymore.  Don’t forget, Republicans believe that the policies they’re advocating are better for the country, and a whole bunch of them just got elected, so they think they’re on the right track.  Anything he proposes that doesn’t match the story they’re selling gets stonewalled immediately, and there won’t be enough Democrats who want to fight about it to get things done.

So, really, it would lead to an even worse version of Congress than we’re seeing right now.  But what we’d really lose is the potential to have our first Integral President serve for another four years.

If he runs and loses, I’ll be disappointed and I’ll be among those who reevaluates the pace of development I think I’m seeing.  But if Obama doesn’t run at all… I’ll wonder what could have been, and where the country could have gone if someone with a clearly Integral perspective were running things just as the Integral movement heated up around the world.  I’ll wonder if we’re missing out on a chance to ride out this current storm and end up in some smoother sailing by the end of his second term, thanks to a segment of the public undergoing rapid transformation, as they take on broader perspectives.

So, I’m sorry, I must disagree with this sweet and well-intentioned idea we find written up in the Opinion section of the Washington Post.  Charming idea, but it won’t lead to the world that they think it will.

This doesn’t make a pessimist, by the way, just a realist.  I trust you already know how optimistic I am about where we’re going, because I am.

And don’t despair: the Republicans don’t actually have a credible candidate right now who can beat him in a general election, and we’re two years out.  I know that’s a lot of time, but in the world of United States National Politics, that’s less time than it might seem.  I really don’t think President Obama has much to worry about in 2012.