Quickname a President who did better in his second term than his first.
Right. Now name a President who did at least as well in his second term as his first.
Tough, eh? Well, obviously Bush and Clinton were heavily criticized for being weaker (one politcially, the other morally). Reagan was badly hit by scandals and questions around his staff, even if he was generally well-liked. And, well, Nixon….
But you start looking back to Eisenhowerand there are certainly arguments to be made about the success of his second termbefore you really get something. And there is of course this notion that all second terms are less successful for Presidents, even though that is not exactly the case. Naturally, as a form of historical shorthand, some folks are saying the bloom is off the Obama rose already.
The Czar would like to point out that Obama has made a peculiar habit of defying history. God, look at that re-election: anybody who knows anything about history concluded that Obama was doomed to be a one-term president (especially the Czar): he fit every requirement almost perfectly.
So the idea that Obamas second term must indeed be less successful than his first is already on thin ice. And the President may indeed have found a way out of that trendusing a formula so simple even a Republican could do it.
Obama never stops campaigning. Sure, you know about it; you also hear about this from everybody. Listen to all the Republican challengers (new and old) who grouse about this presidents constant campaigning, asking when he will actually bother to lead.
Stop for a second and think this through carefully. The idea might just be ingenious: if the President is constantly bouncing around, telling everybody what a good job hes doing, and acting as though every day is November 1, 2012, then he might just convince enough people that they were right to vote for him. This could work to break the trend that a second-term is a guaranteed disaster.
Now picture this: let us say a Republican gets elected President in 2016and you are welcome to laugh for a moment but do try to catch your breath and keep upand has a stellar first term. He (or she) runs for re-election in 2020 and manages to squeak out another victory. Rather than put the feet up and wait for Congress to flip completely Democrat, he or she continues campaigning. And campaigning. And campaigningcontinuously extolling what a great country this is, what a wonderful job he or she is doing, and how everything is just better than it was before. The public starts to think, yeah, maybe.
Of course, today the media and popular culture would quickly suppress that and refuse to cover it; in ten years, who knows. But it costs very little to keep assuring everybody that they were right to vote for you, and goodness knows words today count more than deeds. Why couldnt future presidents use the same keep-voting-for-me attitude?
Not that this is a good thing, of course: presidents need to get things done; candidates often promise and do stupid things. But keeping up a persistent PR campaign is inexpensive and has little downside.
The Republicans might learn something from Obama yet.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.