I have often said on this blog that after the midterm elections the big intra party fights would take place on the left. This is because no matter what the losses progressives would want to step on the accelerator and centrists would want to stomp on the breaks. Consider this Washington Post column by Douglas Schoen and Patrick Caddell another battle in the war for who gets to drive the Donkey Jalopy.
Washington Post: In recent days, he has offered differing visions of how he might approach the country’s problems. At one point, he spoke of the need for “mid-course corrections.” At another, he expressed a desire to take ideas from both sides of the aisle. And before this month’s midterm elections, he said he believed that the next two years would involve “hand-to-hand combat” with Republicans, whom he also referred to as”enemies.”
It is clear that the president is still trying to reach a resolution in his own mind as to what he should do and how he should do it.
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.
We do not come to this conclusion lightly. But it is clear, we believe, that the president has largely lost the consent of the governed. The midterm elections were effectively a referendum on the Obama presidency. And even if it was not an endorsement of a Republican vision for America, the drubbing the Democrats took was certainly a vote of no confidence in Obama and his party. The president has almost no credibility left with Republicans and little with independents…
Obama can restore the promise of the election by forging a government of national unity, bringing business leaders, Republicans and independents into the fold. But if he is to bring Democrats and Republicans together, the president cannot be seen as an advocate of a particular party, but as somebody who stands above politics, seeking to forge consensus. And yes, the United States will need nothing short of consensus if we are to reduce the deficit and get spending under control, to name but one issue.
Forgoing another term would not render Obama a lame duck. Paradoxically, it would grant him much greater leverage with Republicans and would make it harder for opponents such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) – who has flatly asserted that his highest priority is to make Obama a one-term president – to be uncooperative.
Schoen and Caddell were one of the first Democrats to admit the Shellacking was coming. Now they are openly advocating for Obama to voluntarily become an OTP.
If Obama did take this advice, I really don’t see things happening the way Schoen and Caddell say they will. The only thing I can see is an opportunity for the Democrats to remake their brand by nominating a more centrist candidate. Right now many Americans are viewing the Democrats as an arrogant bunch of irresponsible spendthrifts. A more moderate Democrat could run against the excesses of the Obama agenda and be more in line with the American people.
I am sure Obama has no intention of not running. However, unless this economy turns around and Obama starts projecting an image that he is actually steering the nation to calmer seas, the electorate may hand him his OTP status whether he wants it or not.
Via: The Washington Post