You can fool all of the people but only some of the time. In practice the years between four and eight are the magic years of truth telling. Doubt me? Try this little memory game;
Nixon; re-elected in 1972 and resigned in 1974. The tragic long term effect, that the press likes to label all things corrupt and political with the suffix “Gate” still lives on.
Reagan; pulverized his opposition to win re-election in 1984 but by 1986 he was “not remembering” the Iran Contra affair. I know that lots of my readers think Reagan walked on water but I was there too. I remember his last few years as being tied down and immobile. There was that little matter of illegally selling arms to Iran in order buy hostages and raise money with which to give arms to Nicaragua. How does one weave himself into a web like that? Ponder it for a second. Repeat the sentence and see how it rolls off the tongue. Sounds like a James Bond plot doesn’t it?
Clinton: re-elected in 1996 and impeached by the House in 1998. (The Senate came within 17 votes of concurring which is a pretty close call.) Long before his first term Clinton engaged in a land deal that eventually unleashed Kenneth Starr. This is a lot like finding that a night of drinking two decades ago has somehow resulted in Godzilla chasing you down the street two decades later. Starr had been dinking around for a few years but that didn’t stop Clinton’s second election. Unfortunately the empowering legislation behind Starr was unstoppable. Trust me on this, if I had Starr’s budget, authority, and morals, I could get the Pope convicted of smuggling cocaine. Eventually wild Bill was pilloried for spunking on a dress (which relates to real estate in Arkansas like my beer tab relates to the climate in Fiji). Were Bill’s dalliances with Lewinski wise? No. Was he forthright about his behavior? No. Did the whole thing flame up just like Nixon’s coverup or Reagan’s James Bond plot? Yes!
George W. Bush; re-elected in a squeaker 2008 but by 2012 he was so unpopular birds wouldn’t shit on him. George waddled through the first few years of his first term in the daze of a man accustomed to a gentleman’s C. It looked like destiny had arranged for his term to be a sleepy recovery after the madness that ended with Lewinski jokes. A fine fate for any man! Then all hell broke loose. A bunch of jackoffs in a nation who’s biggest exports are goat dung and hate attacked one of our major cities. All bets were off and George squeezed out a narrow victory while Americans put serious thought into killing everyone everywhere. (I was among them.) Alas, George couldn’t keep up and the downward spiral of a second term outran him. By the time the dust settled we were hearing graphic descriptions of what was “not torture”, were bogged down in two wars, the TSA fondled my balls before I could fly to Newark, and GM was the property of the American government. When all was said and done you’d need a direct genetic link to the Republican party to say George’s second term was anything other than a series of disasters punctuated by occasional small victories. Nobody has ever asked Bush his opinion on anything after he left office and nobody ever will.
Notice a pattern? Including both parties and lumping all presidents (good leaders and bad), the last guy to have a second term that wasn’t mired in controversy got was Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Just to put that in perspective that means the last time a two term president didn’t swirl the drain at the end was when a new house cost $12,600. You can’t buy a good used Subaru with that now. Time flies!)
Also, and this is key, in many situations the seeds of disaster were sown in the first term and often more through secrecy than the actual actions they were meant to cover. Secrecy seems to cause it’s own undoing. It’s not that Nixon wasn’t a lying cheating deceitful monster in the first term, it’s that he couldn’t keep the lid on it in the second.
Am I comparing Nixon to Obama? Heck no. For one thing Obama could order toast and look more eloquent than Nixon reciting a soliloquy. Where I make the comparison is that Obama has engaged in far too much secrecy. We are an open society and secrecy is a big no no for a public servant. I expect this, the most secretive administration in decades, will get a good dose of transparency soon enough. I could be completely wrong but I’m expecting folks to shudder when they look too deeply into that well.
Ironically, whatever dirty laundry is lying around probably would have escaped discovery if Romney had won the election. Opposition parties tend to drop interest in their predecessor’s malfeasance the minute they come to power. Shockingly, partisans seems to self-justify their own parties’ misdeeds enough to calm their conscience and keep their mouth shut.
Here, in no particular order, are a few interesting stories I expect to grow; probably not right away but eventually (likely before 2016). I do not know where any of them lead. All I can say if real estate can lead to a genetic material on a blue dress anything can happen:
- Benghazi. The idea that some douchebag’s U-tube video led to a spontaneous demonstration until our embassy burned to the ground and the ambassador died while “being carried to the hospital” never passed anyone’s smell test. Even Obama’s pet press couldn’t swallow it. If Romney had won everyone would have dropped it. I’d have listened to people shovel out some platitude about “getting closure” or “moving on” and it would be forgotten. Since the incumbent has been re-elected it won’t happen now. Obama will do his level best to bury it and his pet press will try to help but it’s just not going away. The truth (or most of it) will probably emerge slowly and with plenty of drama, like giving birth to a cement block.
- Fast and Furious. This has almost been swept under the rug but the incentive to investigate this mess won’t go away. I know lots of people are trying to kill this one and they might succeed but anything might happen. If another of those guns turns up next to a dead American law enforcement officer it’ll come back with a vengeance.
- Other interesting things. Four star General and Director of the CIA Petraeus resigned three days after the election because he was boinking some bimbo. Really? And the reason I’m not a millionaire is because I’m so darned handsome. You don’t shitcan a guy like Petraeus over sex unless it involves midgets in a boxing ring. We’re all assuming it is related to Benghazi but who knows what will emerge. It sounds fishy to me and in due time I expect something complex and unflattering will slowly come to light. Stay tuned.
Note: I don’t have any misconception that the Obama administration will have a sudden outbreak of ethics and clear the air on any of my “tinfoil hat” issues. Nor do I expect Obama’s pet press to grow balls and go after him. I don’t particularly wish ill of the president, he won fair and square and I’d love for him to turn out to be unexpectedly awesome. I’m just saying I’ve seen every recent president who won a re-election get hammered by mistakes in the first term and Obama hasn’t been particularly clean or forthcoming. He’s set the stage for a real showstopper. It would be refreshing if Obama was Mr. Clean and nothing weird has already gone down but I’m not betting that way. I do, however, look forward to seeing the truth simply for the sake of the truth.