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Will Obama Step Aside or be Pushed?

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The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece this week about the need for Obama to step aside. For the good of the country, he must give another Democrat a chance at the White House next year. The most surprising thing about the article is that it wasn’t written by a hardline right-winger, or even a concerned Independent. Two former Democrat pollsters, one for Jimmy Carter and the other for Bill Clinton, are the authors. They appeal to Obama to climb the moral high ground like Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson before him and step down.

In a nutshell, these writers lay the blame for today’s political gridlock in the Capitol at Obama’s feet. Stalemate naturally follows in the wake of vitriolic posturing. They also believe that the President cannot win re-election with a constructive campaign because of his performance failures. His road to victory, if there is one, runs straight over a scorched earth. But, that strategy, already adopted by the President’s handlers, will only widen the political divide worsening dire issues facing the country. The authors’ solution is to run Hillary Clinton, the savior, not only of the Democrat Party, but also of the country.

It’s an interesting article, made more so by the political affiliation of it’s authors. But, the most interesting thing about it is the comparison, however brief, of Obama to the 1952 version of Harry Truman. There are dozens of articles on the Internet likening Obama to Truman in 1948. Some merely offer the possibility. Others predict a Truman-esque victory for Obama. There are also articles suggesting that Obama is the second coming of Jimmy Carter in 1980 or Gerald Ford in 1976.

But, Truman in 1952 is becoming a more likely scenario. In 1957, five years after he left the Oval Office, Truman claimed that he stepped down in the best interests of the country. He supposedly made the decision in 1949 based on his concern that advancing age would prevent him from governing effectively through 1956.

A much more plausible explanation is that Truman, deeply disliked, accepted the fact that 1948 Redux was not in the cards. He suffered a humiliating defeat in the first primary of 1952 at the hands of a freshman Senator.  Days later he withdrew his name from consideration. He did, however, successfully deny his primary opponent the Democrat nomination at a brokered convention later that year.

Will 2012 play out for Obama like 1952 did for Truman?  There are similarities. For Truman, the Korean Conflict was very unpopular in a war-weary America and he couldn’t bring it to an end. His administration was riddled with charges of corruption and cronyism. Even the post-WWII economic boom could not quiet concerns about the Federal deficit, miniscule by today’s standards. In the end, his past successes forgotten, voters rejected the man from Missouri.

Obama finds himself in worse circumstances than did Truman. America today is in protracted military conflicts in two countries. The economy is in the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression. Financial collapse hangs over irresponsible spending like Damocles’ sword. The administration is facing corruption and incompetence charges in the ongoing Solyndra and Fast and Furious fiascos. While Truman, at least, took responsibility, Obama works very hard to deny it. Years of Obama’s persistent blame antics inevitably wear very thin.

So, our President’s approval rating, like Truman’s before him, is dismal. Even Obama admits that we’re no better off now than when he became president. Not surprisingly, if the polls were open today, the Elephant would win.

But, are elections that occurred sixty years ago meaningful in predicting the course of the 2012 contest? Is there a dissenter among Democrats who will challenge Obama in the primaries? Are today’s voters enough like those in 1952 who preferred a maverick entry in an early primary? More to the point, are enough voters today like Americans in 1952? Those folks were battle-hardened and self-reliant. People these days are products of decades of entitlement indoctrination.

Then there’s the question of whether Obama can find the moral high ground with a map and a compass. Or, whether he’s so scorched the earth, it’s no longer discernable. If someone else is to be the Democrat standard bearer next year, it will take one very big push.

See you in the mirror.

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About Sidney and Riley

  • The Question

    But what about the people that have to deal with you, Arch?

  • Igor

    Obama won’t step aside for the simple reason that the polls show him beating any republican candidate.

  • Arch Conservative

    “You’ve never had to deal with a clinically-narcissist person, have you? It’s no fun.”

    No Glenn. I haven’t. I’ve never actually met Obama and conversed with him.

  • I seriously doubt he will step aside and on being pushed? That is also debatable.

    Not everyone defaults to the “everything is the presidents fault” stance. If the president had the power to fix everything despite obstructionists in congress, then he’d be a dictator, not a president. So he can’t take all the blame since he doesn’t have all the power.

  • Cannonshop

    Obama CAN’T step aside-too much of the Party appratus is already geared to keeping him in office, and it’s expensive and time-consuming to make a change. (also, because Truman stepped down, Dems didn’t get into the Oval Office until 1960-and it took a bona-fide war-hero with REAL war-hero credit to beat Nixon…by a distressingly narrow margin. The Democratic Party contains no more John Kennedys to fill that role, aside from their man Obama, they’re about as inspiring a bunch as the seven dwarfs from the GOP this year.)

    Obama WON’T because the PARTY would suffer, and because as a Candidate, he’s got cards and credit to play on the Hill, while as a lame-duck abandoning the office, he’s got zip for leverage, even with members of his OWN party on Capitol Hill.

    He’s got no choice, he’s GOT to stay for another term, or burn up trying to, Hillary’s got Baggage that kept her from the Nomination in 2008, and would keep her from the White House in 2012-baggage the man from Chicago doesn’t have, and a lack of his charisma and speaking skills.

    If Dems are to retain the White House into the 2016 elections, Obama just HAS to stay.

    They don’t have the mechanism to shift their strategy to another candidate.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch –

    You’ve never had to deal with a clinically-narcissist person, have you? It’s no fun.

    As I said, you’re just trying to come up with the worst insults and accusations you can, and then trying to justify them later. It doesn’t work, Arch – the only ones who will buy such tripe are those who are sharing the echo chamber with you.

  • Igor

    Whereas GW Bush, of course, who said he didn’t do anything wrong and wouldn’t change a thing, will never be considered a narcissistic megalomaniac.

  • Arch Conservative

    As I recall Glenn the purpose of Obama’s apology tour was not to apologize for any of his own shortcomings or anything he’d done but rather apologize to the rest of the world for the Americans that just didn’t realize he was the second coming…you know…the bitter ones clinging to religion and guns.

    I’m surprised all you Obama apologists are still around after the beating your degenerate ideology was dealt via the midterm elections. No matter. When it’s all said and done 100 years from now history will rightly remember Obama as the petty, ineffectual, vacuous stooge that he is.

  • Igor

    Oh look, Arch has memorized how to spell “narcissistic megalomaniac” after reading and re-reading that unlettered and unqualified anti-Obama psycho-babble attack piece during the last presidential election.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Looks like the BC conservatives wouldn’t know a “narcissistic megalomaniac” if one came up and bit them where the sun doesn’t shine.

    FYI, Arch, Realist, S&R et al, one quick way to tell that someone’s neither narcissistic nor a megalomaniac is to see if they’ve ever apologized for anything…because they don’t. EVER. And then if you’ll think back, one of the very first things the conservatives attacked Obama for was for going on the “apology tour”. Remember that?

    All any of you are doing is trying to come up with a REALLY SCARY insult or accusation and trying to use it as if it were true.

  • Arch Conservative

    History is not rife with examples of narcissistic megalomaniacs stepping aside. In fact I can’t even think of one. So the correct answer is B.

  • Igor

    I’m astonished that the GOP has put on such a lame display of candidates. Romney and the seven dwarfs. Still, if Romney is strong as starting quarterback it doesn’t matter that the republican bench is so diaphanous.

    But meanwhile Obama has been making steady progress in spite of the republican rule-or-ruin policy and constant complaining and even some desertions from the left.

    Obamas foreign policy is producing results and it looks like subtlety will succeed where the breast-beating and saber-rattling of the previous administration has failed.

    It looks like Obama is making a successful economic policy despite being handed terrible positions from the previous dope and the incessant attempts of the right to bludgeon the USA into a disastrous policy. He’s going to dodge the Committee of 12 bullet that was aimed at him, and in the process get a weakened House and discredited right. The troublesome Grover Norquist is finally being forced to defend his position and explain why an unelected person that no one has ever voted for should control half of the congress.

    He’s not the buccaneer like JFK or LBJ that Chris Mathews is still wishing for (as expressed in Mathew’s World Affairs Council speech the other night), he’s something thoughtful and different.

    Looks like Obama may be smart enough to outflank his opponents.

  • Until another Democrat even expresses interest in taking part in the primary, Obama will neither voluntarily step aside nor be pushed there by the Party.

    Right now, with the lame slate of losers standing for the GOP, Democratic Party strategists rely upon polls showing that the best the GOP can do remains within the margin of error, and the Democratic campaign fund has yet to be tapped. But I suspect that the GOP Convention will produce a Dark Horse, someone who will resonate better with those who can’t or won’t support either Obama or any of his current challengers, leaving Obama with little time before the election to shift his positions.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Thanks –

  • jamminsue

    Glenn – good job

  • Glenn Contrarian


    Even the post-WWII economic boom could not quiet concerns about the Federal deficit, miniscule by today’s standards.

    1 – Our economy sucked until the early 1950/1951 – high unemployment and so forth since the military drawdown – until Truman jacked up the top marginal tax rate to 90% and used the taxes to put people back to work…and THEN America’s economy started booming. Check America’s economic history for those years and you’ll see what I mean.

    2 – In raw dollar amounts, you’re RIGHT that the federal debt was minuscule compared to today’s. BUT if you were to adjust for inflation and compare it to the nation’s GDP for then and now, you’ll find that our post-WWII debt was in relative terms HIGHER than today’s.

    And it STAYED higher until Truman jacked up the top marginal tax rate, and by the end of the Eisenhower administration we had almost paid off the ENTIRE national debt.

    NEXT TIME, Sidney and Riley, I suggest y’all do a little research and get your facts straight – because I will call you on it.

  • Those folks were battle-hardened and self-reliant. So are the Chicago Obama team.

    You really should read David McCullough’s Truman. It might enlighten you enough to be less wishful.


  • Baronius

    Three years ago, I would have bet that Hillary Clinton would be poised to make a move in exactly this situation. I have to give her credit for not doing so.