Part II, Job Prospects?
by Scott L. Vanatter
In part one, I discussed whether racial recriminations or even riots will follow an Obama loss. Short answers, respectively, probably yes, and probably not. American has indeed progressed. Well . . . except certain liberal commentators.
Here in part two, after reviewing a bit of his history and current predicament, I discuss what Obama will do if he loses in November. In part three, I will delve into whether he will run for president again and if so, when?
Before we go forward, let’s go back just a bit. At key stages of his life Obama has leveraged various tough circumstances to vault his career to the next level. I am not talking about overcoming the potential obstacles of not being raised by his father.
I am referring to the vagaries of Chicago politics which ended up clearing the way for the bright young talented community organizer. Obama first won political office by challenging petitions of an Illinois state senator who left office to run for the Democrat nomination congress. She lost the primary, and Obama challenged her petition to reclaim her ability to run in her seat. He prevailed in his challenge, and won the nomination and the office.
He was trailing in the 2004 Illinois Democratic Senate primary, when divorce papers revealed that primary his opponent was accused of physically assaulting his wife. Obama surged to capture the nomination. Some expected his GOP opponent, a popular banker, to win easily. But then the Republican candidate dropped out because he was accused by his movie star wife of pressuring her to go to sex clubs with him and other sordid sex scenarios. Obama won the general election beating Illinois transplant Alan Keyes.
During the 2008 primary John Edwards dropped out earlier than expected. It was reported that he was running out of money. But behind the scenes some were planning on exposing the extra-marital affair Edwards had with a campaign worker. Had he had stayed in the race longer, he may have split votes with Obama, leaving Hillary Clinton with a path to the 2008 nomination.
In retrospect if any one of these serendipitous happenings did not happen, Obama would probably not be president today. One could make the case that he was an accidental president. Hillary was in line, had paid her dues, and accomplished something more than writing two memoirs.
Of course, Obama did bring some level of determination and fortunate connections to bear on his own future. Still, some things came particularly easy for him.
There was an early warning about what would happen if Obama landed in Washington, DC at this stage of his career. Andrew Young knows something of the workings of the political scene here. He commented early in the 2008 primary process that Obama was not really ready. Heavens, Obama said as much not two years prior to his run. Young said that Obama lacked a practical working knowledge of how things got done in Washington, DC. Not only would Obama would not only be unknowledgeable, but he would also have no real allies. Obama would be at the mercy of the will of the House and Senate. Worse, it turns out, Obama had no stomach or taste for the back and forth of the many personal meetings an effective president would naturally want to hold with his own party and the opposition. Who knew? He said he would talk to the Iranians, but it turns out we would not really talk with anyone in DC. Not nearly as much as he should have. Not with his own party, not with the opposition, not even enough with his security team. He’d just “read the memo.”
Recently, one of Obama’s own supporters, revered actor Morgan Freeman, made the odd claim that Obama is not the really the first black president. Not that Clinton was; Freeman simply made the case that Obama was the first bi-racial president. Some black activists are upset with Obama for not being supportive enough. Some liberals are upset he is not liberal enough. Conservatives complain because he is not conservative at all. Obama seems halt between two opinions, in politics and in policy. Perhaps internal polling was so bad prior to the first debate, he was in a real funk – knowing that he was in a losing battle.
This time, in Obama’s first re-election campaign, events, circumstances, and personalities are not combining as favorably as they have in the past. An actual record this time gets in the way. His dumb luck and charm is running out. A tired nation is weary and leery of Hope and Change. Campaign slogans change as the seasons change, but his original slogans, “Hope and Change,” and “Yes, We Can” have become an embarrassment. He cannot mouth them. They have metastasized into a painful reminder of what could have been. Of course, even in the beginning of the 2008 campaign the two slogans were really only a cynical election ploy. IOW, they were NOT a governing philosophy.
Yes, Obama inherited a mess, but the heavy lifting with respect to the economy and the Middle East was done by his predecessor. TARP essentially quelled financial crisis. The prior administration’s Surge in Iraq worked such that Obama could both withdraw from Iraq, and then focus the machinery which Bush set up to kill Bin Laden. The purple thumbs of Iraq will, with a steady and strong hand in the White House, pay dividends in future decades. But with Obama’s weak hand, leading from behind with a quasi-appeasement approach, he accidently created a position of “provocative weakness.”
It is truism that throughout time — and one would think beyond dispute — successful leaders such as Sun Tzu, George Washington, and Ronald Reagan knew that Peace was had through Strength.
Washington put it this way, “If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.”
Obama’s mere presence on the national scene was assuredly not enough to calm the troubled waters or deserts of the Middle East. Additionally, Obama’s bowing and scraping created a vacuum which strong men and terrorists in the Middle East now seek to fill.
Appeasement cannot maintain gains which have been made via purple thumbs and bloodstained sands and walls. Peace in the Middle East will be lost, or delayed by decades, if we continue with his continual apology tour.
One more item from history, then we will discuss Obama’s job prospects for the future. After losing reelection, John Quincy Adams ran for and served several terms in the House. Taft went on to become Supreme Court Justice. Jimmy Carter went on to rehabilitate his reputation by building houses for the poor and needy. Other presidents, having accomplished in office, retire to the job of elder statesman. They write books and make speeches. Bill Clinton set a new path, continuing to be active on the world stage setting up well-attended forums, and lending his name to worthy causes. One cause he owes much to, that of his wife’s presidential hopes. Bill Clinton’s prodigious speaking talents appear not strong enough to save Obama. His wife is deprecating a run for office.
So, let’s lay out preliminary list of what Barrack Obama can do if he loses in November. No matter the actual job he takes or creates, he will continue pursuing his golf game. He will stay fit playing basketball. He is said to be very competitive.
One cannot imagine that Obama will be satisfied with playing second fiddle to Bill Clinton’s worldwide initiatives. The world stage is a large as it gets, and Clinton fills that role, at least in progressive circles.
I suggest that Obama will feel the need to do more than rehabilitate his image of failure.
He failed to fix the economy. His recovery is pathetic, anemic, embarrassing.
He failed to fix General Motors, much less the automotive industry. The Volt is not and cannot make a profit.
He failed to preside over an economy which actually created net, new jobs. His jobs are barely keeping up with new graduates, and forcing others into retirement.
He failed to quell the Middle East extremism. Simply smiling their way, his middle name in tow, and waving his hand in their general direction is not a strategy for peace.
He failed to secure and support Israel. His overt distaste for Israel’s leadership does not help stem the tide of Middle East extremism. Quite the opposite.
He failed to really engage the day to day workings of being president. He does not like meeting with people. He’d rather have them agree with his pronouncements. He has no taste for the workings of government, just the accolade s of wining office. This is not surprising as he has never yet actually accomplished any concrete results. < sarcasm mode on > He did organize the heck out of Chicago. You can tell by its improved condition. < sarcasm mode off >
Back to the Future
So, what can or will Obama tackle, after licking his wounds, and writing yet another book?
Perhaps he can head up a major Hollywood studio. In this modern day and age, the movie business is prone to allowing for real hits to be envisioned and brought to light. DreamWorks SKG can become DreamWorks of My Father OSKG.
If Hollywood is too small, and if Obama is so competitive, perhaps he can go on to prove that he can indeed pick and manage winners.
Perhaps he will surprise us all by establishing a real career in venture capital. Algore has created a market for Global Warnings profits. No self-dealing there. Forget the old guard worldwide finance entities. Obama can one up Romney by moving into the big leagues, tackling Africa, Indonesia, and the Middle East. He can make re-focus his prodigious teleprompter talents and take companies to markets in the Middle East never before in play. He can make good on President Wilson’s maxim, “The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.” Go ahead. May our day.
Perhaps Obama will shock his critics and his followers by starting a “green” company to prove he can pick winners. Or, better yet, he can join “zombie” Solyndra and the lawsuit against their former Chinese competitor. Then he can finally get tough on China.
Perhaps he will surprise us all by going back to Illinois and cleaning up the state, if not the city of Chicago. Yes, this is a step down. But, then again Governor Jerry Brown stooped to get into the day-to-day grind of making Oakland a better place. Why can’t Obama stoop to help the community he so perfectly organized. He can stoop to actually accomplish something give real Hope and real Change to a locale with so much need, and so much potential. It could be the perfect match of Need with Hope and Change. Go ahead, make their day. Please. Why not?
Surely his options are wide open. He can retire an play golf, play basketball, become commissioner of the NBA, or go into seclusion writing and speaking every now and then. Then again, he can always go back to academia and, this time, formally become a real “law professor” teaching Constitutional Law, rather than Senior Lecturer he was last time.
Another bit of presidential history was made by Grover Cleveland. He was the first and so far only person to be elected to two non-consecutive terms. Other one term presidents have gone on to permanent retirement. Jimmy Carter famously went on to set the record for attempted post-presidential accolades.
Whether Jimmy Carter set out on his path of service so as to rehabilitate a woeful historical presidential record, or out of an abundance-of-need to make a difference, or to matter, or just to serve for the sake of serving (which he’d do even if he was not a former governor and former president) is unknowable.
In my next piece, I will discuss the likelihood and timing of a potential second run for the office of President of the United States. Yes, we heard Obama declare at the Al Smith Dinner in New York City that this was his last and final run for elective office. Still, his declaration was made during a night of humor (well, at least Romney wowed the crowd) and it was not Shermanesque in the slightest.
We shall see. It will be interesting to see if he fades into the morass of former presidents, or if he goes on to see how well he can “organize” with the whole world looking on. This time, the world will grade his “organizational” efforts. It won’t grade on a curve. It will expect results. Go ahead, call it a day.