Michael Barone once wondered if Obama’s 2nd term would be as bad as Wilson’s. Here are a few more recent musings on the topic.
Jonah Goldberg, Cynic-in-Chief
Elected twice, Obama is in the fifth year of his presidency. During his first two years in office, his party controlled both houses of Congress and rammed through its agenda. Largely as a result, Democrats lost the House in 2010, but they have retained the Senate… At Obama’s bidding, the Senate failed to pass a budget for four years and refused to take up any meaningful legislation passed by the House.That’s not the narrative you usually hear, because for most of Obama’s presidency, the Washington press corps was enthralled with him…
But that’s the theme of this entire presidency. Others — Washington, the Republicans, the Constitution, the global economy, Bush, et al. — are always to blame. In 2014, alas, cynicism won’t be on the ballot. He’ll be in the White House.
James Taranto Best of the Web
Republicans are evil, Obama is weak–what a dull narrative that is, and how unsatisfying except as an object of mockery. If only those who sympathize with Obama were willing to acknowledge his flaws–his intellectual superficiality, moral hubris, susceptibility to flattery and political immaturity among them–they might be able to develop a narrative of his presidency that would be interesting and enlightening. Obama might make a compelling tragic hero if today’s journalists had any storytelling ability.
Washington Examiner editorial: Signs of gathering second term storms in Galesburg
One phrase captures the essence of Obama’s second term domestic vision, “more of the same:” More stimulus spending, more green energy development boondoggles, more “investments” – i.e. federal spending and regulation – on student loans, mortgage refinance programs and Obamacare, and more tax “reforms” to make the top 1 percent of income earners pay “their fair share.” Obama cannot deviate from this programmatic menu because doing so would be an admission of failure, one that is pointedly reflected in the declining number of Americans with jobs or still looking for jobs, the growing Food Stamp recipient rolls and a steady accumulation of evidence that the Obamacare train wreck is gathering speed.
Then there are the scandals. Obama suffered little damage in his first term when the headlines were about Solyndra, Fast and Furious and related matters. But it’s different now because of Benghazi, NSA surveillance, and IRS harassment of the president’s Tea Party critics. Virtually every president stumbles as a result of scandals, but they often become far more serious matters early in a second term (think Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra and Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky trials, all of which became major disruptions following their re-elections).
Second term scandals may intensify in part because presidents invariably dismiss them as unimportant, just as Obama yesterday referred to his troubles as “phony.” But he likely won’t be any more convincing with that line than Nixon was in calling Watergate “a second-rate burglary.” Similarly, Obama’s exasperated “I am here to say this needs to stop” recalled Clinton’s finger-wagging order, “I want you to listen to me … I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky …”
But a presidential dalliance with an intern is a far cry from using the IRS to silence political opponents or covering up incompetence that killed four brave Americans in Libya, nor is there anything phony about the potential consequences for Obama.