05/26/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama: a One Term President?

Being a one term president might not be such a bad thing.

Being a one term president might mean that Obama had accomplished so many worthwhile goals -- albeit unpopular ones for the short term but with long range positive results for the American public -- that he is not re-elected.

Being a one term president might show that Obama puts worthwhile but unpopular projects ahead of his re-election. This might sound naïve and unrealistic in a country where campaigning does not end just because the winner goes to the White House after the election season ends.

But, what if we actually had a president who made the hard decisions without regard to his re-election?

This president called for health care for all Americans and got it through Congress. This is something we have been talking about in this country since Teddy Roosevelt through Harry Truman through Bill Clinton.

President Barack Obama took an unpopular decision on health care which could change over time to being more positive. A new CNN poll shows 54% of the American public think he will be a one term president. Most of the poll results are because of the current unpopularity of the newly passed health care legislation that has to now be sold and explained to the American public. This could be a harder task than the actual historic vote in Congress.

What if the president stops thinking about his re-election in 2012 and calls for a large tax on our gasoline consumption? This would stop our money from flowing out of the country on an hourly basis to oil rich nations---many unfriendly to the United States--and instead having it flow into the United States treasury to reduce our massive deficit.

If a president really wanted to be a successful one-term president he would go for a serious energy policy that taxes our huge gasoline consumption. He would take this highly unpopular stance and be straight with all of us how we need to tax our wasteful use of this finite fossil fuel. It makes sense.

He could also be free to pursue a serious environment policy and a serious education plan that would reward students with a real learning experience.

While it is true that most of the American presidents who didn't serve a second term like Buchanan, Pierce and Hoover are rated as some of our worst presidents of all time Obama could change the ranking system by showing guts, courage, independence and forward thinking that these previous one term presidents did not show.

Obama should stay on the path of pursuing unpopular decisions--at the moment--and go forward to a gas tax and some cuts in the military budget and some other topics that were once considered radical and unobtainable--like universal health care.

He may be a one term president by taking these chances. But he would begin a tradition of being a successful one-term president who put his re-election race on a back burner and focused full time on the pressing and unpopular-but necessary-decisions that need to be made.

And, it is possible that the voters might be so impressed with a president who took on the big but unpopular issues that need to be tackled that they would defy tradition and vote him back into office for a second term.

Obama could show us that being a one term president doesn't have to put you in the category of Buchanan and Pierce but could move you up to the levels of FDR, Washington and Lincoln.

Think about it. It could be worth the risk for President Obama.

Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?