“This Is My Last Election”

Andrew Malcolm says that the president’s hot-mic gaffe yesterday feeds right into Romney’s campaign strategy:

A main strain of Romney’s assaults has been basically, Given the spending, chronic ineptness and apologies for America, can you imagine what Barack Obama would do in a second term unrestrained by any need to face voters ever again?

That’s an effective line because it leaves the worst things possible to voters’ imagination. And there is no response. What can Obama say, “My secret plans aren’t as bad as you think”?

What makes Obama’s Monday blunder so bad is that it doesn’t come from any sort of dismissable ignorance by someone who spent formative childhood years in Indonesia. It was clearly backstage conniving on Obama’s part and feeds directly into Romney’s ‘Can you imagine’ line.

Plus, it fits with the suspicions of millions that the community organizer has unspoken plans to take America in a transformative direction involving much more government. How else to explain his baldly touting more domestic energy while reducing federal drilling permits and torpedoing the Keystone pipeline?

The Etch-a-Sketch line by a Romney aide played into the meme that he might remake himself for the general election, something every successful primary candidate does to reach the broader audience necessary to win beyond one party. In 2008, the autumn Obama promising a centrist fiscal policy was a far cry from the spring primary fellow vying with Hillary Clinton for union support.

Now, Obama’s gaffe suggests to opponents their suspicions are credible about the Democrat’s hidden agenda that he sought secretly to discuss with the Russian.

But here’s something I haven’t seen anyone comment on — the title of this blog post. There are, after all, two possible interpretations of what he said. The conventional explanation is that he means that, since the Constitution as amended only allows two terms for a president, he won’t be running again. But considering his radical background, if one were of a conspiratorial bent, one would wonder if what he really meant was that after the next election, he’ll come up with some way to hold on to power indefinitely. Fortunately, given the attitude of much of the military toward him, a constitutional suspension is pretty unlikely, regardless of any interest he might have of being president for life.

[Update a while later]

Obama is enabling a return of the USSR. Well, again, given his red-diaper upbringing, that would make sense.

39 thoughts on ““This Is My Last Election”

  1. Jonathan Card

    I seriously doubt it. The Left made the same accusations against Bush, and we on the Right all laughed at it, and we were right. It’s considered de rigueur (today) that former Presidents don’t run for any office after the president. Taft (I think) was a Supreme Court justice, but it’s not normal for one to run for Senate or something.

    1. Gregg

      On the other hand if he ran for the Senate again and won, he would have a chance to actually perform the job.

  2. ken anthony

    Had the same thought myself, but even I didn’t think to say it out loud. Rand, what’s happening? Obama is turning ya into a radical?

    There doesn’t seem to be any conventional wisdom for this next race (other than it being Obama vs. Romney and I’m holding onto the slim chance that’s not the case. The other three will not get out until Mitt has a firm 1144 and the media will not be telling them when that is.)

    But then, “It can’t happen in this country” has to face the reality that electing a marxist/muslim president with no prior accomplishments couldn’t happen either.

  3. Pro Libertate

    I don’t think we’re quite that far gone yet, as no one would sit still for a coup (even to the extent that some would, pretty sure Obama couldn’t get military support). But there may be a day where it could happen, particularly if the last few shackles of limited government are tossed aside, coupled with an economic or military crisis.

  4. Matt B

    While I don’t doubt Obama would be comfortable with the idea of being President indefinitely (or for ten, twenty years, however long), I think it’s stretching it to imagine that there’s any sort of subversive plot unfolding. We should take care not to allow ourselves to indulge in the satisfying, but ultimately intellectually bankrupt, exercise of engaging in conspiracy theories based on the off-hand comments of a man who has proven to be a less than stellar extemporaneous speaker to begin with.

    For that matter, I don’t think that even if he did, against all reason, have some plan in mind to continue in power, that he would even come remotely close to executing it. In this case it’s not a matter of “It can’t happen in this country”, but rather the simple fact that people don’t really like him very much. Even his own party’s support has been waning, and he’s had consistently majority-disapproval polls for a long time now. He just doesn’t have the base of support necessary to do such a thing, whether among civilians or the military, upper or lower class.

      1. Matt B

        When Hitler’s cabinet passed a law in 1934 that abolished the office of President and merged its duties with that of Chancellor–a law which was specifically prohibited by the German constitution–he held a referendum on whether the new law should be upheld. It passed with 90% support. In other words, anywhere from double to triple the amount of public support that our President now enjoys.

        1. Thomas Matula

          Matt,

          By then most of the opposition had been eliminated and the rest just got in line with the winner.

      2. Thomas Matula

        Ken,

        Hitler won only 35% of the vote in the 1932 Presidential election, coming in second to von Hindenburg. But he was appointed Chancellor at the urging of many of the major industrialists of the Germany when additional parliamentary elections failed to create a clear majority in Parliament – one of the weakness of the parliamentary system. Once in office Hitler burned down the Reichstag to declare an emergency, then used it to outlaw trade unions along with the Communist and Democratic Parties, the only groups that would be able to effectively oppose him and his industrialist supporters. Then with their support he declared himself both President and Chancellor when von Hindenburg died becoming Fuehrer. End of story until Allied forces rolled into Germany.

        1. ken anthony

          So Hitler was successful with less than Obama’s current aprox. 41% approval. That is not a comforting thought. What would Obama have to burn down to take power? Don’t say the constitution, that’s already been done.

          1. Thomas Matula

            Ken,

            It was easy for Hitler to take over Germany because he came to power only 15 years after the Kaiser was over thrown, 15 years that weren’t good ones for Germany. The Germans were looking for the good old days of a strong leader, which is why von Hinderberg came out of retirement to be President. So they looked the other way when he made his power moves.

            Americans on the other hand really don’t take very well to an political leader with too much power. Why do you think they quickly passed an Amendment limited Presidents to only two terms? And frown on them running for other positions after they leave the Presidency? Why do you always see a shift to the party that President doesn’t belong to in mid-term elections?

            Really, don’t you have any faith in American voters?

          2. ken anthony

            don’t you have any faith in American voters?

            You mean after electing BO?

            don’t take very well to an political leader with too much power

            Yet, they let them grow in power with each passing decade.

            No I do not believe Obama will make himself president for life. What bothers me is I think the possibility is more than zero. Anything more than zero is too much.

          3. Thomas Matula

            Ken,

            [[[don’t you have any faith in American voters?

            You mean after electing BO?]]]

            So you really don’t trust the American voters to make the “right” choice. So does that mean you feel that the Tea Party must get into office by any means possible, because the voters on their own are not to be trusted?

          4. Karl Hallowell

            It’s also worth noting that key groups (such as the German military, the Junkers, and many industrialists) were actively working to restore an authoritarian government and German military power. The Nazis was far from the only group attempting to create a totalitarian state. For example, the two chancellors prior to Hitler both made concrete steps to end the Weimar Republic (one overthrew the government of Prussia, the other ran apparently in the 20s some black op group in the German military which developed military weapons with the Soviets and killed Allied informants.

            Obama doesn’t have either that kind of support or that kind of prep work for undermining the US. And if we can overturn Obamacare and some of the security theater stuff from the Bush era, we probably can clean up a lot of the legislative weaknesses created during this decade. Fiinancial stuff (such as a weak economy, QE, and massive deficits) are going to remain for a while, however.

          5. ken anthony

            So you really don’t trust the American voters to make the “right” choice.

            You can take the scare quotes away. Assuming there is a right choice, how likely is it that, that choice is always going to be the one chosen? Not likely I’d think. Most of the time a bad choice can be lived with.

            So does that mean you feel that the Tea Party must get into office by any means possible, because the voters on their own are not to be trusted?

            “When in the course of human events…” Sounds like a terrorist manifesto to ya, doesn’t it, Thomas?

            any means possible

            But the short answer to your carefully worded trap is no.

          6. Thomas Matula

            Ken,

            No, the Declaration of Independence was both last ditch attempt to avoid war by making one last argument for colonial self-government to the King and a justification for war if the King rejected it by stating why it was necessary. There was nothing terrorist about it.

        2. ken anthony

          Putin also started some minor wars to get his power. Obama has so many templates to follow (yes, that wouldn’t work for Obama, but does his conclave have some plan beyond putting him successfully into the presidency?)

        3. Paul Milenkovic

          “to declare an emergency, then used it to outlaw trade unions . . . the only groups that would be able to effectively oppose him and his industrialist supporters.”

          Industrialist supporters? Outlaw trade unions? Did voters have to “show papers” at polling places?

          Hmmm, did signs go up on the borders with France and Poland “Deutschland ist offen fur Bitriebswirtschaft”?

          Just wondering . . .

          1. Thomas Matula

            Paul,

            [[[Hmmm, did signs go up on the borders with France and Poland “Deutschland ist offen fur Bitriebswirtschaft”?]]]

            No need. The uniformed German soldiers with machines guns and the barbed wire/mine fields on the border were enough to get the message across.

          2. Paul Milenkovic

            I guess my attempt at political humor was too regional. Whenever you drive in to Wisconsin from any of the neighboring states, there is now this small “Open for business” plaque tacked onto to the big wooden rustic-looking Welcome to Wisconsin sign.

            The folks in Minnesota made a big deal about this. Illinois is too big to care. And since Wisconsin’s border is with the U.P., no one in Lansing, Michigan seemed to notice.

            When Hitler kicked out the unions in response to the “emergency” that brought him into office, he put up “Offen fur Betriebwirtschaft” signs on the border, ha, ha, funny, Paul.

  5. Rand Simberg Post author

    He just doesn’t have the base of support necessary to do such a thing, whether among civilians or the military, upper or lower class.

    That’s basically what I said.

    1. Pat Chiles

      Rand, I had the same immediate reaction to his “last election” comment but have been afraid to give voice to it. Until this guy came along, I would have never thought that way. But he has shown enough disregard for the constitution that, yeah, I could see him trying it. The contraception mandate forced on Catholic institutions was a shot across the bow of the 1st amendment. If he’s re-elected, what’s next? The normal constitutional remedies probably wouldn’t work…impeachment? Doubtful. The House might find the ‘nads to do it if he goes far enough, but a trial in the Senate would likely be hopeless.

      The professionalism of our military will be the only thing standing in the gap if it ever got that far. Meanwhile, it’s probably time to get fitted for my tin foil hat while I wait for the black helicopters…

      1. ken anthony

        After the revolution I’m sure we’ll be told why it could only have happened that way. Obama has taught us to believe in… “truth is stranger than fiction” and “expect the unexpected.”

        Expect the unexpected? How the hell do ya do that?

      2. Thomas Matula

        Pat,

        So you feel that the students and employees of Catholic schools that receive federal funding MUST follow the beliefs of the Catholic religion regardless of their own religious beliefs? I would think that would be a violation of the First Amendment Rights since it places the government in the position of supporting and promoting the beliefs of one religion over others.

        BTW I assume you know that the federal requirement to provide birth control only applies to those religious institutions that receive federal funding. If they choose to not receive federal funding they may do as they wish in terms of birth control on their insurance.

  6. John B

    At least he hasn’t lost his hubris, since he said “after my election, I’ll have more flexibility,” instead of “after the election”.

    One would think that he would still have flexibility as a lame duck, though it would also depend to a great extent about how the remainder of the general elections turn out.

  7. Thomas Matula

    Rand,

    [[[The conventional explanation is that he means that, since the Constitution as amended only allows two terms for a president, he won’t be running again. But considering his radical background, if one were of a conspiratorial bent, one would wonder if what he really meant was that after the next election, he’ll come up with some way to hold on to power indefinitely.]]]

    I take you are joking as I would hate to think that the time you have spent immersed in the radical right blogsphere has finally driven you over the edge. Tell me, how soon do you start building your survival bunker and stocking it with supplies from Glenn Beck’s advertisers :-)

    But in any case I wouldn’t worry, I am sure that the Area 51 Aliens that actually control the 1 percent won’t allow it… After all they must keep everything looking normal for their harvesting of human DNA to continue to work :-)

    1. Jiminator

      I am sure that the Area 51 Aliens that actually control the 1 percent won’t allow it

      I just read that Opus Dei is the group that is keeping Area 51 hidden

      1. Bob-1

        Considering James Irwin’s Christian activities, if one were of a conspiratorial bent, one would wonder if he really did fake his lunar mission, and instead made contact with religious aliens in Area 51 to help them harvest our vital DNA secrets. Fortunately, given the attitude of many NASA rocket scientists toward truth, the secret being kept is pretty unlikely, regardless of any interest Irwin had in selling us out to Them.

        Sheesh.

        1. Jiminator

          I thought my attempt to link completely unrelated conspiracy theories in a absurd way would be humorous. I had no idea Bob would take the ball and run with it!

          1. Bob-1

            Jiminator, I thought your Area 51/Opus Dei link was funny. I just wanted to keep it on topic mirroring Rand’s weasel words. Or, rather, if one wanted to keep one’s comment on topic, one would reference Rand’s weasel words.

  8. Jim

    he’ll come up with some way to hold on to power indefinitely

    So is Obama an incompetent fool? Or is he an evil political genius, able to overthrow a 200+ year old constitutional system when it suits him? I lose track sometimes….

    1. ken anthony

      I can clear this up for ya Jim. He’s an idiot supported by other idiots, some of which have been overthrowing the constitution for years now, others that just think he’s the latest pop star that will give them free stuff from his stash.

    2. Leland

      So is Obama an incompetent fool? Or is he an evil political genius

      It is possible to be both. In terms of fixing the economy, he is most definitely the former. In terms of finding creative ways to manipulate the US Constitution, he’s impressive.

    3. Gregg

      Nothing to prevent someone from being an evil, politically incompetent fool.

      However I don’t think Obama is contemplating a coup.

      1. Titus

        The Democrats took over the government via the bureaucracy generations ago. Why spike the football now and draw attention to the fact?

        1. ken anthony

          Because they just can’t help themselves? A great commenter (we haven’t heard from in a while) once said that Obama getting elected could turn out to be a good thing. Exactly because he draws attention to that fact.

  9. Andrew W

    Thinking back over the Presidents since Nixon, I’d say Obama, along with Carter is the least likely to try to stage a coup, Nixon the most.

    It takes a very aggressive and controlling personality for an individual to stage a coup d’état, Obama falls short in many ways.hTere also needs to be the right political climate, and there isn’t.

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