Obama plans non-consecutive second term!

New right-wing meme: If the president loses to Romney, he'll try to return for a non-consecutive second term

Published August 15, 2012 5:49PM (EDT)

President Obama  (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
President Obama (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Consider yourself warned: If Obama loses to Mitt Romney in 2012, might he run again in 2016? Kathryn Jean Lopez says probably!

First, the National Review's Jim Geraghty suggests that if Obama loses, the whining Democrats will, as always, cry foul, and say the result was illegitimate, just like they always do, especially as they did that one time when the Republican became president despite actually losing the election, and they will of course blame "Voter ID laws" just because said laws are designed to disenfranchise certain Obama voters, but most important, Obama is such a craven political hack that he will refuse to politely abide by the result of the election and he'll definitely continue trying to run for president:

In that scenario, do you envision President Obama accepting defeat gracefully? Do you picture him congratulating President Romney on his victory, and pledging to do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition? Do you think the president will be ready to move on to post–White House life, focusing upon memoir-writing, building his presidential library, some charitable and foundation work, and plenty of golf?
If there’s anything we’ve seen, it’s that President Obama loves to campaign — to hold fundraisers, to attend rallies, to attend “town meetings” where the questioners mostly ask why people aren’t smart enough to see how great he is. In January 2013, former president Obama would find himself with a lot of time to do all that.

Come on, Geraghty, no one besides Bill Clinton actually enjoys campaigning, least of all Obama, who honestly (and idiotically) thought he'd spend his entire presidency politely negotiating centrist compromises with moderate members of the opposition party acting in good faith, because he actually hates politics and being a partisan Democrat.

But Obama's lust for power is one of those things the right just knows about him, and that is why they're preemptively predicting he'll be a sore loser, unwilling to concede, should he lose. K-Lo:

These images do remind us: Not only is there a lot of work to do between now and November, there will be even more after Election Day. As Jim suggests, I don’t suppose the mainstream reaction — never-mind the Democratic party’s base — will be to find the silver lining in a Romney victory.

Hahaha no, I imagine there won't be much looking on the bright side among The Left, unlike all of the silver lining-searching Ms. Lopez and her colleagues have been doing since November 2008.

So! Obama will totally be so bitter and unwilling to face reality that he'll run again in 2016 and try to become our first president to serve non-consecutive terms since Grover Cleveland, because he is simply unwilling to relax his grip on power. This is sort of the polite and not-quite-insane version of the "Obama will suspend the Constitution to make himself president-for-life" conspiracy, which is of course a modern update on the same conspiracy theories about President Bill Clinton, who we were also repeatedly told was too addicted to the office to go quietly when his time was done.

As the 1990s ended, and the great right-wing noise machine realized it'd soon be losing its single most profitable boogeyman, conservative talk radio hosts tried very hard to convince listeners that Clinton would remain relevant and scary. Common theories included that Clinton had a secret plan to run again in 2004, that he plotted to be appointed instead of elected to a third term in order to circumvent the 22nd Amendment, and that he would suspend the Constitution in response to the Y2K Bug and make himself president-for-life. Here's our old friend Joseph Farah making that case in World Net Daily in July of 1998:

This week, Clinton attempted to set the record straight. He offered a bold plan to address the potential crisis that threatens to cripple the world's computers and hundreds of millions of embedded chips that might not recognize the year 00. What did the president do? He ordered the U.S. government to be fully Y2K-compliant by March 1999.

Now, anyone who has even taken a cursory look at this issue will tell you that it is impossible for the government to rewrite all the computer code by March 1999. It's not going to happen. And Clinton knows it.

Setting such a ludicrous goal -- even if it is just that, a goal -- can mean one of only two things: Clinton figures he'll only have one more year on the job when the bug hits and it will be somebody else's headache; or, he is secretly counting on the crisis as an excuse to declare martial law and remain in office-- indefinitely.

And that's how Bill Clinton became president for life. (Naturally WND has made similar president-for-life claims about Obama.)

The "Obama won't accept the results of this election and will run again in 2016" theory serves, as K-Lo's point illustrates, as a similar bit of base-motivating fear-mongering -- even if Obama loses he won't go away!! -- and it is a cousin to the "in his second term he'll really be a Radical Black Nationalist Socialist" trope common among the members of the right who recognize that thus far Obama has not quite been a very good Radical Black Nationalist Socialist.

I've come to feel that if Obama loses he'll be quietly grateful.

By Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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2012 Elections Barack Obama Bill Clinton Mitt Romney National Review Worldnetdaily