Coolidge did it, so did Truman, as did Johnson, and to some extent, Nixon sort of did it (“You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore,” Nixon said after losing a California gubernatorial bid in 1962, though he went on to be elected in near landslides in 1968 and 1972): quit politics.
And although Obama can’t seem to quit smoking entirely, perhaps he can quit politics.
“I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected,” thundered William Tecumseh Sherman.
“I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president,” bellowed Lyndon B. Johnson.
Coolidge had perhaps the most timid cop-out: “I do not choose to run for President in 1928.”
So the “inside the beltway”/”Washington ruling class”/”mainstream media” chatter about the 2012 presidential election (like, the 2010 midterm elections are like, so yesterday) has graduated from Biden replacing Hillary as secretary of state and her him as vice president (ah, musical leather chairs!) with her running with Obama (are you following this?) in 2012 to now Obama not running at all. He’s had enough. He wants to go gently into that good night and be, perhaps, United Nations secretary, or head egghead of Harvard, or just bum around and play golf with Bubba, Bush and Bush.
So what will be Obama’s famous quitter quote?
How about the blame game: “Because of the failed policies of my predecessor, George Bush, I have decided not to run for president in 2012.”
Or he can go the Patricia Schroeder route, and tearfully break down and admit: “I couldn’t figure out a way to run (the country). There must be a way (to run the country), but I haven’t figured it out yet.”
No, it more likely will go something like this:
“Having accomplished the amazing feat of being the first biracial president of the United States — or the first black American president, depending upon your point of view — having amassed the most radical, left-wing bunch of misfits as my first administration, having shoved national healthcare down the throats of the American people, having accommodated radical Islamists, I have come to the conclusion that I have nothing left to do. Therefore, I will be using my unused vacation time at my job as POTUS until January 2013, have put my e-mail on “Auto-Reply,” turned off my voicemail, and will be playing golf until someone else gets the hell into the Oval Office.”
Nicholas Thimmesch II, son of the late Los Angeles Times columnist Nick Thimmesch, is a longtime media and communications consultant to numerous campaigns, government representatives and public policy organizations, serving in the Reagan White House as a staff writer.