Tag: one term

President Placeholder?

Following up on Michael Gass’ One Term President.



How temporary must a Chief Executive feel when he doesn’t even want to replace the last guy’s office furnishings?

President Obama has not, as yet, changed the Oval Office dramatically. Three subtle changes are the addition of a hand-carved wooden sculpture obtained by him on a 2006 trip to his ancestral home of Kenya. The figurine shows an egg placed gently into a human hand, symbolizing the fragility of power [1]. He has also replaced the Laura Bush-inspired floral decorations with a bowl of wax apples and has replaced the decorative plates on the oval office bookshelves with books. It has been confirmed that some changes will happen to the Oval Office decor; during a meeting with military officials during the first week of the Presidency, Obama surveyed his new environs with a critical eye. “He looked around,” said one of his guests, retired Rear Adm. John D. Hutson, “and said, ‘I’ve got to do something about these plates. I’m not really a plates kind of guy.’

He also added a bust of MLK.

There may be no better metaphor for Obama’s Presidency so far.

His ‘big’ changes from the Bush era are:

– getting rid of Bush’s tacky plates.

– replacing live flowers with phony fruit.

– adding a bust of the man whose peace loving philosophies he internationally repudiated and another statue that reminds him of his own insecurity.

And that’s all.

A Champion for Change? The guy won’t even order new curtains.

It’s not as if there’s some Presidential decorating convention that says Obama can’t make significant renovations to the Oval Office decor.

Quite the opposite in fact.  

Of all the sitting Presidents since the oval office was rebuilt in 1934, only Eisenhower and Carter did NOT change the decor to suit their own personal styles.

Clinton (“Candy Striper”)

Bush I (“Colonel Kurtz” aka “George of the Jungle”)

Reagan (“Iran-Cointreau”)

Ford/Carter (“Unpardonable”)

Nixon (“Sound Studio”)

LBJ (“Easy Green”)

Kennedy (“Red Menace”)

Truman/Ike (“Fallout”)

FDR (“The Toy Room”)

I don’t know if he wants another term or not, but judging from his studied lack of interest in making the Oval Office his own, the President may very well be anticipating NOT taking a second lap.

After all, there’s no great reason for Obama to invest emotional capitol in creating his own personal White House legacy if he already knows he’s one termer.

Far easier simply to borrow Dubya’s for the duration.