I once heard a political consultant say: “The point of getting elected is getting reelected.” Cynical, shallow, insiderish? You bet—all of that. But there is truth to it, too, especially for presidents. There hasn’t been a president from John Adams to Barack Obama who didn’t think about reelection every single day, whose guts didn’t churn at the thought of losing, being herded by history into that sorry caste of single-termers. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush are both fine men, but neither is ever going to be ranked in the first (or even second) tier. The cover charge for having a shot at greatness is that you have to win the second time.
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