Politics straight, no chaser
Commander-in-Chief should not be seen as seatwarmer-in-chief
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 22:09
Technically speaking, a president is in power for a maximum of 96 months, but when reelection, midterms and lame-duck sessions kick in, the president’s ability to govern is severely limited in terms of time.
Before the 2010 midterms, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell set the goal of making President Barack Obama a “one-term president.” That was two years into the president’s first term, more or less starting speculation for 2012. Only a few months into the president’s second term, the administration has been stuck in neutral mostly due to internal scandals, a split Congress and the chemical weapon debate in Syria. Yet, it can be said that the administration’s lack of influence began before the 2012 election with media outlets, pundits and politicians alike setting their sights on 2016.
There are still 28 months until the Iowa caucus and three full years away from the 2016 election, yet there is a phalanx of potential candidates jockeying for position.
Among the potential candidates on the Republican side are many who are not so subtly visiting early primary states and making noise.
One of the first to come to mind is Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). He launched himself onto the national platform by performing a 13-hour filibuster in opposition to John Brennan’s appointment to head the CIA. Paul is a staunch defender of civil liberties and individual rights––something he no doubt inherited from his father.
The junior Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), is also entering the presidential fray. Cruz is a Tea Party favorite, who, like Paul, is a staunch conservative and strict constitutionalist. He has already made trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina––all early primary states––in order to make a name for himself.
Senators Paul and Cruz are not the only potential candidates shamelessly jostling for votes this early. Among these “candidates” are junior Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). In fact, King’s recent announcement makes him the first candidate from a major party to decide to run for the 2016 presidency. His announcement comes only nine months into President Obama’s second term.
Not only are Republicans mounting early offensives on the White House, but many members of the Democratic Party are making slightly less overt attempts at getting name recognition. Hillary Clinton has started making more public appearances since her tenure at the State Department ended, Vice President Joe Biden has made trips to Iowa and New Hampshire and Governor Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) has already announced he is laying a “framework” for a 2016 bid for the White House. Democrats are acting less conspicuous with their presidential ambitions, but this could be due to a sitting Democratic president. However, it is only a matter of time before their efforts accelerate as well.
There once was a time when explicitly campaigning for president was frowned upon. Now it is an absolute necessity to be successful, even if it is three years early. That is a shame.
However, the disrespect awarded to the sitting president by campaigning so early is shameful. Regardless of your party or ideology, there needs to be a greater amount of respect and decency afforded to the office––this can only be done by campaigning later and acting like the president is the Commander-in-Chief instead of Seatwarmer-in-Chief.