Nov 21 2011

Is Obama a Victim of History? Democratic Pros Suggest He May Not Run

Will Obama pull an LBJ in January?

With America’s sons in the fields far away, with America’s future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world’s hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office–the Presidency of your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.

…President Lyndon Johnson on March 31, 1968 with reference to Vietnam.

In 1968 President Johnson took the moral high ground and, to reduce “partisan divisions”, declined to run for a 2nd term.

Today in the Wall Street Journal (11/21/11) two veteran Democratic pollsters suggest Obama might do likewise because of his inability to develop a “bipartisan” economic and foreign policy and his low job approval numbers.

Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen assert that:

When Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson accepted the reality that they could not effectively govern the nation if they sought re-election to the White House, both men took the moral high ground and decided against running for a new term as president. President Obama is facing a similar reality—and he must reach the same conclusion.

They conclude that Obama would have to run the “most negative campaign in history” to overcome his record while President, and, even if he won, it would be “almost impossible for him to govern”. As “patriots” and “Democrats” Caddell and Schoen call on Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to bring this message to President Obama and to convince Hillary Clinton to run in 2012.

Last September, Dick Morris — President Clinton’s former pollster — came to a similar conclusion and felt there was a “good chance” Obama will not run in 2012.

This is especially intriguing in the context of the eerie parallels between the economic and political chronology of the late 1890s — events that eventually triggered the early 20th century Peary/Panama/T. Roosevelt Maslow Window — and our trajectory today.

For example:
1. Both Presidents Grover Cleveland and Obama were elected near major financial panics (1893 for Cleveland and 2008 for Obama) that were followed by great recessions. Click: Wave Election.

2. The 1890s panic and great recession are becoming more widely recognized for their similarities to the economic crisis that began in 2008. Click: Eerily Similar.

According to Samuel Rezneck (Business Depressions and Financial Panics; 1968) the “unprecedented fiasco” began on May 5, 1893 and …

Spread to a nation-wide epidemic of some five hundred banks and nearly sixteen thousand business failures during the year … Recovery was slow, despite the recurring tendency, as during 1895, to grasp at “harbingers of widening prosperity,” only to be warned that, “the alleged era of prosperity is not in sight.”

Indeed, the second recession (double-dip) followed soon.

3. Cleveland’s and Obama’s presidential elections were each followed 2 years later by mid-term elections that featured significant political realignments favoring the other party. Click: Michael Barone.

4. Because of his inability to deal successfully with the great 1890s recession as well as union issues, Grover Cleveland was not renominated by his party for a second term. The fact that something similar may be happening to Obama today is extraordinary.

However, Obama’s political destiny (including possibly even his re-election) is obviously not as important as the game-changing signifcance of the societal drive for prosperity that we see around us today. Based on 200+ years of macroeconomic data and historical trends, it suggests the “Great Prosperity” can be expected to return by mid-decade.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Is Obama a Victim of History? Democratic Pros Suggest He May Not Run”

  1. Anonymouson 22 Nov 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I’ve been following your postings for a while now and you’ve finally coaxed me to comment.

    Why would that happen if Obama has already committed to 2012? …

    The best answer is to invite you to read the original Caddell and Schoen op-ed in yesterday’s WSJ.

    Obama senses that he’s in trouble with his own party and base, which explains why he’s campaigning against the Republicans so early. He wants’ to show the Dems that he is a viable candidate before his party leaders invite him to become the new LBJ. But the problem that Caddell et al. see is that we’re on the edge of an economic cliff that can’t wait until we get another president.

    However, my genuinely eerie historical point is that our current economic and political trajectory has already occurred in the 1890s. The penultimate piece of the puzzle yet to fall into place is the Cleveland-style non-renomination of Obama, which is currently being discussed in Democratic circles, openly. We’ll see what happens.


  2. ZZMikeon 01 Dec 2011 at 3:34 pm

    “…Obama would have to run the “most negative campaign in history” to overcome his record while President,…”

    This is what they do best, from years of practice. Regardless of Obama’s running or not, they can only campaign with negatives – having nothing positive to point to.

    Thanks for your comment.

    What’s particularly impressive is that this quote comes from two major Democratic strategists, not Republicans or other potential opponents.

    The current political situation is amazingly reminiscent of the 1890s, soon after the financial Panic of 1893. It feels like we’re reliving major elements of that chronology, as we move toward the next spectacular Maslow Window by mid-decade.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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