So this exchange between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev was caught on a live microphone today:
President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this — this can be solved, but it’s important for him [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space.
President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…
President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.
Is this going to become Obama’s “Etch-A-Sketch” moment? That is, is Obama going to be pilloried for playing the game of politics the way that it is played?
A spokesperson for Mittens Romney was criticized for having simply pointed out the obvious fact that a fall presidential campaign is different from the primary season presidential campaign — duh.* If you don’t tailor your message to your audience — and the national audience is very different from a deeply partisan audience — then you’re a clueless fucktard who is going to fail with your audience. (Thankfully, it is Prick Santorum’s apparent refusal to modify his far-right-wing, “Christo”fascist message that will prevent him from ever sitting in the Oval Office.)
Not dissimilarly, Obama was uttering an obvious political truth: that a U.S. president has a degree of freedom in his (or, someday, her) second term that he (or she) does not have in his or her first, when re-election still is a consideration. It’s not Obama’s fault that a U.S. president is granted only two four-year terms and thus is a “lame duck” in his or her second term. As much as the wingnuts love to blame everything on the nation’s first black president, that political constriction is what he inherited.
Those who don’t recognize these obvious political realities are ignoramuses, and those who do recognize them but who nonetheless attempt to use them as political weapons are hypocrites unless they are trying to change the current political climate themselves. (And, of course, they’re not.)
Still, it’s not as though Obama has carte blanche in his second term. (I can’t see myself voting for President Hopey-Changey again, but I believe that he most likely will be re-elected.) Obama during his second term still would have the consideration of keeping the Oval Office in the hands of his own party come November 2016, so while his second term would give him more political wiggle worm than he has had thus far, I don’t expect a second Obama term to be much more aggressively progressive than has been his first term (which is a huge reason why I’m not giving him a penny this second go-around and why I very most likely will not give him my vote a second time).
Obama will prove to be, I surmise, far more cautious in his second term than was “President” George W. Bush, who bragged about the shitload of “political capital” that his 2004 “re”-election “win”** supposedly gave him, even though Bush had garnered only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004.
While Bush sat on his laurels during his second term as the unelected-but-U.S.-Supreme-Court-coronated monarch of America, Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 pretty much swept away his party’s chances of keeping the White House come November 2008. (Recall that on the day that Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast, August 29, 2005 — and would leave more than 1,800 confirmed dead in its wake — Bush was in Arizona having birthday cake with John McCainosaurus to celebrate the latter’s 69th birthday, even though forecasters had predicted at least two days in advance that Katrina likely was to be devastating to the Gulf Coast.)
In his second term I expect Barack Obama to be much more vigilant than that.
*Of course, given Mittens’ reputation as a flip-flopper, the Team Mittens spokesperson could have chosen his words much better than to have uttered: “I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
It was quite foreseeable that the “Etch-A-Sketch” comparison would boomerang.
**The pivotal state of Ohio probably was stolen in 2004, just as the pivotal state of Florida most definitely was in 2000.