This week President Obama made it official: he is running for election to a second term. Of course, this is no surprise, as few presidents decline the opportunity. The last one was Lyndon Johnson in 1968.
The real significance of Obama seeking re-election has nothing to do with his ambitions and everything to do with the nation's "permanent and aggregate interests." Simply put, we don't need another four years of Barack Obama.
But this will not be a cakewalk. The president highlighted his announcement with a video featuring ordinary folks discoursing on their concerns about their lives and their feelings about Obama. Conspicuously absent was any appreciation of the country's problems.
The closest anyone in the video came to that was a young woman who expressed hope that the "progress" made in the Obama administration would continue. But that, too, is ultimately about how the interests that benefit from Big Government programs see the world. That is, the "world" should be remade in their image.
It is considered shrewd for the president to emphasize the sort of supporters that got him elected in the first place. No doubt. Particularly since the message delivered is that this is more fundamental than the massive fund-raising efforts required to elect the nation's chief executive.
But that rings hollow when one recalls that the Obama campaign not only spent more money than any other (half a billion dollars), but that, after obeisance to the campaign spending laws that permit public funding, he reversed course and turned down matching funds. After all, that places a limitation on how much money a campaign can raise and foregoes an advantage over the opposition.
The "rich" Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, who actually made a career out of campaign spending laws, took those matching funds and was drubbed by the candidate of the "little guy," who might better be called the fall guy.
In the name of the poor, racial and ethnic minorities, women and gays, the Democratic Party has married itself to the ever-expanding — and never contracting — welfare state. William Vogeli, author of "Never Enough: America's Limitless Welfare State," seriously tried to determine what the limits were of government welfare programs and concluded that there weren't any.
Obama has provided greater clarity than any Democratic president. His ideas and programs come closer to full-blown socialism than the mixed economy constructs of others. According to Stanley Kurtz, author of "Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism," Obama imbibed socialistic thought since high school, and is famous for his relationships with Weatherman Bill Ayers and fiery Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Obama's determination to "transform" America from a constitutional republic into a nanny state is accompanied by a desire to diminish our nation in the world. The man who denounced the war in Iraq, reluctantly embraced the war in Afghanistan and was pulled with grave misgivings into the current war in Libya, believes that American arrogance (rather than Communist imperialism or Islamist jihad) has threatened peace and security.
It is clearly in Obama's best interests to distract the voters into believing that his primary concern is for the ordinary person's well being. But the truth is, they are just fodder for the unbridled ambition of a man who is at best ambivalent to the virtues than make America an exceptional nation.
Indeed, when asked whether he understood this country in that light, Obama said that he thought, sure, just as the British think that theirs is an exceptional nation, or the Greeks think the same about their nation. The most charitable thing that one can say about the President's flip remark is that Great Britain in modern times and Greece in ancient times were exceptional. But that does not square with his desire to change this country into a regime without effective limits.
Like every President since Eisenhower, Obama can run for only one additional term in office. Although the nation's founders never imposed such a limit, believing as they did that the nation should not be denied the services of an incumbent with exceptional talents, in the present case we should be grateful for the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution that cuts Obama off at two terms.
But more pressing is the need to deny this president a second term. For the two-term (or 10 years) limitation distracts us from the obligation to choose wisely in every election and not rely upon the Constitution to spare us this obligation.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Richard Reeb taught political science, philosophy and journalism at Barstow College from 1970 to 2003. He is the author of " Taking Journalism Seriously: 'Objectivity' as a Partisan Cause" (University Press of America, 1999). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.