In a recent interview, President Obama said, “I would rather be a good one-term President than a mediocre two-term President.” Perhaps he simply means that he does not want to govern out of fear, worrying about getting the second term. Seems like a good point. But his comment leaves us with several things to ponder as well.
First, there is the pretty clear shot back at former President Bush; which leaving me asking, “How dead is that horse already?” When even Americans get sick of hearing the blame game, you have certainly overplayed your hand. We get it! You think Bush did a lousy job and, in many ways, that’s true. But, it was that lousy job that got you elected; elected, not to excuse your own failure, but to do better by the American Republic.
Another aspect to consider is that “good one-term” Presidents become two-term Presidents, don’t they? Obama’s assumption seems to be that America’s conception of “good” may not be his. Philosophically, that is fine, but as an elected official this smacks of arrogance. Isn’t his responsibility to govern in the direction that his voters demand?
While I grant that I am aiming at motives and intentions behind what he said, President Obama’s comments seem quite consistent with his overall method of governing – get power and do what you want with it. He has demonstrated, in his first year, a tendency to drive through a predetermined agenda as quickly as possible before anyone can notice what’s happening. He has used the methods he condemned in others – executive orders, backroom deals, “no bid” contracts for campaign contributors, and failing to “reach across the aisle” to consider and include other viewpoints.
He promised transparency in the health care debate, and then made private deals with pharmaceutical companies and labor unions. President Obama ran on a platform of reforming the health care system. 85% of the voters concerned about health care were concerned about the rising costs of health care, not the availability of health care. Once elected, he unveiled a plan that did nothing to stem rising costs and created a universal, government controlled insurance option that even required citizens to pay for health insurance or face fines. When his cohort Nancy Pelosi was asked where the Constitution allowed government to have such control, she could only ask, “Are you serious? Are you serious?”
To put it bluntly, this is the kind of Progressive Liberal arrogance that has led them to govern as if they “know better” than the citizens who elect them, and are therefore entitled to do as they please with the authority they have, even if it means ignoring the Constitution and the voters that entrusted them to uphold.
If President Obama can govern in this kind of way in just one year (notice this does not even touch on his financial irresponsibility), it is clear that he is already defining “good” differently than the American public. So, in his mind, he could be a “good one-term President.”