Michael Barone rattles off the 2nd term bipartisan initiatives of Reagan, Clinton, and Bush before writing:
But in his second term Obama has shown zero interest in bipartisan reform. He campaigns on mini-issues like the minimum wage and patches up Obamacare with executive orders that put him on the cusp of ignoring his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws.
Some stars are in alignment. Old campaign ploys are out of date. Democrats’ attempts to win the elderly vote on Medicare and Social Security failed in 2012. Republicans have accepted an increase in high earners’ tax rates.
And House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has come forward with a serious tax reform proposal.
But Obama seems uninterested. He sent Camp’s negotiating partner, Finance Chairman Max Baucus, to China. He has stayed in campaign mode since he broke up the “grand bargain” talks with Speaker John Boehner by upping the ante in August 2011.
He let Russia know that “after my election I have more flexibility” — with results now grimly apparent. But he has not shown more flexibility toward congressional Republicans.
Now the prospect of a special House committee investigating the White House’s attempt to obfuscate the Benghazi attacks threatens to throw the stars further out of alignment.
Only once before has America had a third consecutive re-elected president—James Monroe. His presidency became known as the Era of Good Feelings.
Historians will need another label for this one.