Something Strange Afoot in the Obama Campaign
Something strange is afoot in a Presidential campaign. To be specific, something odd is going on within President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign.
It’s enough to make a person wonder if — with the President’s approval numbers now at an all time low — there’s an escape plan being hatched for the 44th President.
Consider Obama’s remarks in June on the Today Show when he said his family is “not invested” in a second term. He told the interviewer “If I said, you know guys, I want to do something different, they’d be fine with that.”
Realize that everything that is said in interviews is planned and rehearsed in the White House. Nothing is just off- the- cuff in White House interviews. The same is true with White House spokespeople.
So consider what Obama’s campaign spokesperson (and former press secretary) Robert Gibbs said this month. On the same day that Obama’s approval numbers dipped to their lowest, Gibbs said Obama is “quite comfortable” being a one-term president in order to address issues he is concerned about.
The two comments are not merely coincidental. They are planned, formulated, tested and have a goal in mind. Is that goal to make President Obama appear to be less ambitious for power? Is it to make more people rise up and support the President? The answer is a “no” to both theories.
No President who is campaigning for reelection suggests – or has his spokespeople suggest – that he doesn’t need another term. Can you remember another President, in the midst of a reelection, suggesting that he doesn’t need another term?
There is only one – President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Which raises several questions: Could Barack Obama be planning to pull a Lyndon Johnson and say he will not run nor will he accept nomination for another term? Could he tell the nation that he has accomplished what he wanted to accomplish in passing his Health Care program and now wants to step down to do other things? Could he be planning an honorable exit rather than face defeat in November 2012? Could his approval numbers be so low that he has become unelectable and toxic for the entire Democratic slate? Is there a move afoot to have him step down and name a new Presidential candidate?
These are reasonable questions in light of the recent – and well-planned –comments of Obama not needing a second term.
This White House has been diligent in focus testing all rhetoric. It has kept Obama on Teleprompters in town hall meetings, speeches to groups, addresses at Universities and before foreign assemblies — even in a grade school classroom. It has masterfully limited the number of spokespeople and controlled access to the President. It has eliminated uncomfortable questions in the White House Press Room by preselecting those correspondents it will call upon when the press conference is held. It has been in campaign mode for months, carefully planning every move – most recently having the President take a bus tour through three states, ostensibly to answer the people’s questions about the economy.
So why now are the President and his campaign spokesman making comments saying that he doesn’t need a second term?
It isn’t mere coincidence. It is all planned. It appears to be laying the groundwork for an easy out. It is a clear signal that something is changing and that something may be a plan to allow Obama to leave office early and save face rather than face a dismal loss at the polls.
President Obama has us fighting in three wars, an economy that is in the tank, a much-devalued dollar, high unemployment, and – for the first time in history – a lowered credit rating to AA+.
The office of Management and Budget has found that his health care law – which the majority of Americans oppose –will actually raise costs, not lower them.
As for his record in office, President Obama has broken his promises to close Gitmo, and to end the practice of sending prisoners to foreign countries, and to veto the Patriot Act. He has not lived up to his promise to keep unemployment under 8% and now has more Americans living on food stamps than at any time in history. And now he tells the nation that he will have a jobs plan…next month.
With a record like this it is no wonder he is blaming Congress, and Japan, and Europe, and the Arab Spring, and anyone else for the nation’s economic woes.
But, just in case the nation doesn’t buy his arguments to displace blame, could he be planning to pull a Johnson?
It’s something to think about.
Mary Laney is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer