I Wish Obama Had Served Only One Term

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The other day I was driving down the road behind a pick-up with the sticker that read, "Is THIS the Change You Voted For?" with Obama's "O" logo stamped across it. And just like that, I found myself

Obama 2008 ad

Credit Image: WisPolitics.com on Flickr

once again wishing Barack Obama had been a one-term president.

Not because I hate him or think he is bad a president. In fact, I like Barack Obama. (My life-long Republican family is now writhing in agony as I write this, but it's true). He is the best president I can remember.

That being said, let me be clear: I am not saying I love his policies.  Rather, I appreciate that he is a thoughtful person. I enjoy that he is not a laughingstock to the rest of the world as a backward or ignorant man. (I am not naming any names here ... ) The world takes Obama seriously. I enjoy listening to him speak, I love to watch him before a crowd, and I LOVE his speech writer(s).

The real reason I wish Obama had not run for re-election goes back to 1845 and James K. Polk. Again, if you know anything about Polk's policies, you might find a bone or 100 to pick, but I am not actually discussing politics or policy here, either in the case of Obama or Polk. I am talking about leadership.

James K. Polk was a man of vision. He was a man who envisioned an expansionist America. He threatened war with England over Oregon and oversaw a war with Mexico for California. When he became president, he declared he would only serve one term. He spent that term achieving his objectives. He was focused, serious and -- like it or not -- he got things done. And when that term was up, satisfied he had achieved his vision, he packed his bags up and left Washington, fulfilling his promise. Like George Washington, Polk was one of the few people in this world able to walk away from power.

I had desperately hoped Obama was made of the same stuff.

I watched Obama's 2008 campaign with real interest. He was passionate, charismatic, and he was able to make people of my generation really believe in change. For the first time in many years we had "HOPE."

People wanted to follow him. They lined up in droves. For the first time in my life, I saw the power of a truly charismatic leader. My dearest friend packed her tiny baby up in Ohio and canvassed for Obama. We wanted him to succeed -- even those of us who had not voted for him.

And he won! Here this beautiful, intelligent man WON!

And then, he dwindled. And argued. And twiddled.

You can blame Congress. You can blame our divided country. You can blame anyone you like.

But I believe if Obama had decided to LEAD from day one, to fight to win, and not to stop, we, the American people, would have followed, even if we disagreed with his politics. He could have brought our fractured and dysfunctional country together. Instead, he bargained and backed down, he gave divisive people power and air time.

In a 2009 interview, Obama said he thought his presidency might be "a one-term proposition," leaving some to speculate that he might intend only to serve one term. At that time the talking heads on news sources everywhere went wild with speculation about Obama's intentions, and I hoped against hope that he meant it. I said at that time (and still maintain) that if Obama had at that time 100% thrown himself into fulfilling the promises he made in the 2008 election, I would vote for him in 2012 (which is kind of a big deal as I only vote for Independents or third party candidates on a matter of principal). I also declared that he could win re-election without campaigning at all by simply putting his name on the ballot because he restored HOPE and lived up to his word.

Because as Americans we long for true leadership. We are lost among politicians who are rich and power-hungry, who will change their minds and their stances to suit their election prospects. As a people, we have lost hope in our leadership, knowing only the rich can run to win, the common man is relegated to the sidelines to scrape out a living while being spoon-fed the lies from Washington.

I was disappointed to see Obama lose focus to run for re-election. This is not to say that I don't understand the gigantic machine elections in our country are. But that in and of itself highlights my point. Something is seriously wrong in our country if the political system must fundamentally shut down for politicians to pour millions of dollars, much of it of our money, at us to serve us.


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