Talk radio is fun. If you like what the host or the guest is saying, you can cheer along and feel good about yourself and your position. If you do not like what they are saying you can get your heart pounding, work up a good case of indignation and be on an adrenaline high for the rest of the day, either way, you win. Unless of course, you lose your objectivity, drink the kool-aid and take them seriously.
Much of the current talk on the radio is about the 2012 presidential election. With a Republican debate every other day, a Presidential moment on the alternating days and the stock market bouncing around like it was on the end of a bungee cord, what else would pundits be talking, writing and screaming about.
The amusing thing about this entire circus is the president cannot lose either way. If he is reelected next year, he wins. If he is defeated, he wins. Talk about having your cake and eating it too!
I first made this argument several months ago at dinner with a far-right acquaintance who was positively morose about the possibility of a second term for President Obama. When I suggested the president might not want to be reelected my friend looked at me as if I had suddenly sprouted horns. He went away shaking his head.
Within two weeks I heard Dick Morris make a similar comment on a morning radio show. In addition to Dick Morris others have suggested President Obama doesn’t really want to be reelected. I do not know if he really wants to be reelected or not, but I am certain he is less worried about losing than many would expect.
It is sometimes dangerous to stretch analogies. Still, there are some that will hold up no matter how far they are stretched. The management troubleshooter comes to mind when evaluating the president’s current situation.
Many companies or organizations have a troubleshooter on staff or on call. This is the person who can be called on to turn things around, straighten things out or get rid of deadwood. The title may change depending on the size of the organization or the problem, but troubleshooter or turnaround artist, the job is the same.
President Obama may not have been thinking of himself as a troubleshooter when he ran for the presidency. He may have been running for all the right reasons, whatever those are. Still, he is in the position of benefitting from the dynamic that every troubleshooter understands when taking on the job of turning things around. There is no way he can lose.
The turnaround specialist that never has a successful turnaround will eventually need to find another line of work. That does not mean he or she has to succeed every time. Anyone walking into a problem company, organization or work group knows there is an escape clause available every time. It usually goes something like this, “You should have called me sooner. With a little more time I could have made this work.” Or, it might go like this, “I did everything I could, but this operation is just too far gone. It is time to cut your losses.”
Think about it. People who take on this kind of task, that is, turning around a failing company, bailing out a sinking ship or any other cliché you can think of knows a success makes them a hero. A failure only makes them human, and it was someone else’s fault anyway.
I do not know President Obama’s heart and mind. I do know he is in a win-win situation. If he is reelected, he is still the President of the United States. If he is not reelected, he will not be a loser. He will have lost that election, but he immediately becomes a political super star who can command any amount he wants for book deals, speaking engagements and consulting fees.
He will be able to say, I did my best, but the situation was too bad. He will be able to say that people did not give him enough time, and congress blocked his plans. He will be able to say and do almost anything he wants. He will no longer be constrained by the protocol and politics of the Office of the President. He can follow in the footsteps of others who lost elections and then became elder statesmen, ambassadors to the world and spokesman, or woman, for whatever cause he wishes to champion.
I do not know President Obama’s heart and mind. He may really want to serve another term in an office that ages its holders twice as fast as any other job one can imagine. He may really want to face another four years of political battles and the lame duck effect of being in his last term. Then again, he may be thinking if he is defeated he can just take the money and run. Come to think of it, this may not be a no-lose situation for him. Winning the election might be the second prize in this contest.
© S. E. Jackson