In an interview with conservative radio icon Sean Hannity, former President Clinton adviser and campaign manager Dick Morris stated that, after speaking with a Democratic strategist, he thinks it is “very possible” that President Obama might acquiesce to requests from the Democratic leadership in Congress and bow out of the 2012 race, leaving the door open for him to return sometime in the future.
“I asked a top Democratic strategist the other day and he thought that it was possible that, in January, Harry Reid comes to Obama and says, ‘Look you cost us control of the House last year, you’re going to cost us control of the Senate this year. For the good of the party you have to step aside’” said Morris.
“And, then, (Obama) pulls a Lyndon Johnson, he says ‘I’m fighting to solve the recession, and problem is because of partisanship and my re-election people reject everything I say because of partisanship, so I’m going to not run for president and focus my full time attention on solving this recession’ and then go out popular,” Morris added.
The strategy proposed here is an interesting one. With his approval ratings at an all time low, Obama is looking at a very high likelihood of a defeat in the 2012 elections and forecasters, using the examples of the 2011 special elections in New York City and Nevada, have forecast a very high probability of losses across the nation for the Democratic Party because of Obama.
A withdrawal by President Obama, with a statement that the reason he’s bowing out is to solve the recession, would likely allow the Democratic Party to recover some of its popularity and allow the president to present himself as rising above the partisan fights in Congress with a higher goal in mind. This would help the Democrats to better portray the Republicans, and especially the Tea Party, as the stubborn, non-compromising party uninterested in truly solving the nation’s problems.
Morris added that he thinks that this strategy could also set up Obama for a presidential run in a later election.
“The twenty second amendment does not preclude non-consecutive terms, he is young, (he could) preserve himself as a possible candidate down the road” said Morris. “We’ve seen how Bill Clinton is much more popular now then he was when he was leaving office, same with Jimmy Carter.”
Intriguing as that possibility is, however, non-consecutive presidential terms have only happened once before in American politics, though they have been attempted by a few former presidents. The only president to successfully serve non-consecutive terms was Democrat Grover Cleveland who won election in 1884, lost in 1888, and won in 1892.