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Joe Guzzardi Beseiged and bewildered, Obama’s administration continues to founder

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Joe Guzzardi

Posted: Saturday, September 24, 2011 12:00 am

On April 9, the News-Sentinel published my column titled "Even with $1 billion war chest, President Obama could be in trouble against Republican rival." Written in response to Obama's announcement earlier that week that he would seek re-election in 2012, I strongly urged him to reconsider.

Among the reasons I pointed to was that Obama has nowhere to go but down. He had been overwhelmingly elected on a wave of public adoration, won the Nobel Prize, hosted White House state dinners and travelled the globe on Air Force One.

What's ahead for Obama in a second term will be an angrier nation and a more divided Congress that would leave his presidency in turmoil. Why should Obama sign up for that?

Obama's best and only move is to retire gracefully, make millions from his autobiography and give speeches. The money would pour in. Obama could live in luxury from his book and public appearances' income which would be supplemented by the generous federal benefits afforded to former presidents.

As I wrote my column, I googled around to see if any other critics shared my views. I wasn't surprised to find that none did. What may have seemed radical in April is now conventional wisdom. Even Obama's hometown newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, has editorialized that he should pull out. In his column "Why Obama Should Withdraw," Steve Chapman theorized that the two recent special House of Representatives' elections, both won by Republicans, spelled disaster. Republicans captured a New York district that had been Democratic for 88 years.

Maureen Dowd, opinion writer for the ultra-liberal, Obama-adoring (until recently) New York Times summarized that the White House team is "flailing — reacting, regrouping, retrenching. It's repugnant."

A neutral source, perennial Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, summarized the Democrats "prescription for defeat" as an incumbent president slipping in the polls, being constantly on the defensive, perceived by his few supporters as wishy-washy and running an unpopular, uninspiring campaign. Nadar listed the Wall Street bailouts, "a unilateral war in Libya," extended, unnecessary, costly war in Afghanistan and the lost the debt-ceiling debate to Republicans as ample justification to dump Obama.

The irony is that the pressure on the most liberal president in history to step aside comes from the Democratic Party's extreme left wing. In what has to be Obama's most bitter pill, a recent poll found that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is America's most popular politician and that many want her to mount a primary challenge against Obama. The pro-Clinton faction hasn't forgotten that a constant theme in her 2008 campaign was that Obama didn't have the necessary experience to be president. In retrospect, Clinton looks prescient.

Clinton insists that this is her last year in public life. But that's what all politicians say until they enter the race. Few question that Clinton would beat Obama. Leading Democrats fear that with Obama on the top of the ticket, the party will lose not only the White House but also both Congressional chambers.

Given Obama's ego, I can't envision him dropping out. But if he does, you can say you got your first inkling of it by reading the News-Sentinel.

Joe Guzzardi is a registered Independent, unlikely to vote for either of the two major party candidates. Contact him at

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