My colleague James Pethokoukis makes the case for why Barack Obama will be a one-term president.
I beg to differ. First and foremost, it's waaaaayyyyyy too early to even consider the question. Two years into the Obama administration, different story.
Pethokoukis refers to a line in President-elect Obama's "otherwise joyous election night speech" in which he alluded to a tough road ahead for his team to right the economy, and a journey that might not be completed in one year or one term. He sees that as a hint by Obama that he may be around for only one term. I see it as a hint that he, Obama, is already seeking voters' support for a second term.
Second, Pethokoukis points out that "cranky" voters could turn on Senator Obama's re-election bid if the economy is not strong by then:
And while voters may be somewhat patient for two years, patient for four years? Really unlikely. If history is any guide at all, voters may still be terribly cranky about the economy when they cast their ballots on Nov. 6, 2012 and thus likely choose the 45th president of the United States—be it Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal or some other Republican without "Bush" for a last name. Once again a "change" election for an impatient America. The same bad economy that doomed John McCain in 2008 will have sunk Obama, as well.
I used to think voters credited or blamed a president for a good or bad economy. I used to write a lot about how President Clinton wooed voters and won credit for economic prosperity during his eight years in office, even though Wall Street feared Democrats and tax hikes. I was peppered with angry responses about how wrong I was to believe any president had control over the economy. Many readers believed Clinton had nothing to do with the halcyon economy of the late 1990s but just happened to benefit from being in office when the tech boom started.
I hope by now readers and voters have realized that presidents might not be able to strengthen the economy, but they sure can wreck it, as George W. Bush has with unprecedented and wanton spending.
Can Obama reverse the credit crunch, the war debt, and the stock market crash, while keeping oil below $60 per barrel and interest rates low? I doubt it. But the one thing he's mastered is saying and doing anything and everything a majority of American voters want him to say or do, in order to persuade them to vote for him. Can Obama pull it off a second time? I'm not sure. But do I see him as a one-termer? Not as long as his mesmerized audience chooses to remain under his trance regardless of his performance.