By Richie Beeler
The re-election of Barack Obama less than three months ago left conservatives wondering if one of their ilk would ever be elected to the presidency again. The election of 2012 once again proved America is a nation with a deep ideological divide. But the results suggest that divide is drifting slowly but persistently in favor of the left.
Republicans were devastated when it became obvious around 11 pm in the east on November 6th that a second Obama term was indeed a reality. Now some of those same Republicans are terrified that even his second term may not be his last.
Some of you are already thinking, ‘Oh, that would never happen.’
My advice to you? Never say never.
It would not be completely unprecedented. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected four times between 1932 and 1944. FDR died just a few weeks into his fourth term. In the wake of his twelve-year reign over the country, Congress passed the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which limited the presidency to two terms.
Prior to Roosevelt the two term limit on the president was more a matter of political dynamics and unwritten protocol than Constitutional law. In the first place, it was and is very difficult for any individual to outlast the fatigue of the American electorate enough to garner three terms in the White House. Second term presidents have seldom left office with a whole lot of popularity.
And then there is the precedent set by George Washington. After his election in 1788, no one knew how many terms Washington might serve as chief executive. But after his second term expired, he chose not to seek a third, establishing a protocol that shaped the way both the voters and future candidates would view the presidency.
Perhaps the closest the country ever came to a three term president before FDR, was with his cousin Theodore Roosevelt. Young TR assumed the presidency in 1901 when William McKinley was assassinated just a few months into his second term. Roosevelt went on to serve more than three years of McKinley’s term and then was elected himself in 1904. When the election of 1908 came around, most people expected the popular Roosevelt to seek a third term. However, the President chose instead to run William Howard Taft as his hand-picked successor. In 1912, TR would return to the arena and make an unsuccessful run for the White House as a third party candidate.
Of course then we didn’t have the 22nd Amendment. In order for Obama to run in 2016 it would have to be repealed.
Again you’re thinking, ‘Oh, that would never happen.’
What did I tell you about that?
It’s actually already happening. At least I mean some folks are already trying. Congressman Jose Serrano of New York has already introduced a bill to repeal the 22nd Amendment and remove term limits from the presidency. Does the bill have a chance of making it through the House? No. At least not now. But they have three years to work on it, and don’t underestimate these people’s determination.
Interestingly, it may be Theodore Roosevelt’s approach, and not a Constitutional Amendment, that enables Obama to essentially seek a third term. Rather than run himself in 1908 and violate a long standing tradition of presidential politics, Roosevelt picked Taft to run as his proxy. A ‘proxy’ is defined simply as ‘a person authorized to act for another.’
Taft may have run as his own candidate, but virtually the entire voting public knew he was merely a fresh body intent on furthering the Roosevelt progressive agenda. If Obama is prohibited by law from seeking a third term, that does not mean a proxy could not step in to further his progressive agenda as well. And he may not have to look very far to find one. in fact he may not have to leave the White House at all.
No one embodies or supports Obama’s leftist, liberal policies more than the First Lady. Michelle Obama could well be the candidate that seeks to secure a third Obama term. Although Hilary Clinton waited eight years after her husband left office, she came within an eyelash of winning the Democratic nomination in 2008. Had she been successful, the general election would have been a cakewalk.
This may seem a far-fetched scenario as I sit here in the snow typing this column in January of 2013. But I have a feeling the same people that elected Barack Obama twice would be as giddy as a school girl over the prospect of electing his wife. That would be almost as good as a third term.
Heck, if you can’t be president, the First Dude ain’t a bad job.