Obama and the promise of four more years

What can and will this second-term president accomplish?

Barack Obama becomes the fifth President (and only the second Democrat) to be reelected to a second term since the end of World War II.  The post mortems have begun, but winning a second term usually ensures a place in history based on consolidating achievements. While, failure to obtain a second term often makes a one-term President appear as an accident of history.

While the popular vote numbers were close, Obama can claim to be the only Democrat since the war to win consecutive terms with over 50 per cent of the vote.  His victories in the electoral college were also decisive, giving him a clear mandate to deal with the major issues facing his administration.  On the other hand, the disappointed Republicans, and Mitt Romney, seemed to be taken by surprise with the result.

After that stellar first debate performance by Romney on October 3—against a lackluster President Obama—the polls did tighten dramatically. But the Republicans continued raising issues such as contraception, abortion, and rape—only to reduce their potential advantage on economic issues. In the end, those internal overly optimistic GOP polls lead conservative pundits like Karl Rove, Michael Barone, and Dick Morris to embarrassingly predict a decisive electoral college victory for Romney.

What the results did show was the superior quality of the Democratic organization under the leadership of Obama’s close circle of operatives, such as David Plouffe, David Axelrod, and Jim Messina. They fought a strong ground game, an effective and innovative Internet operation, and raised the art of micro-politics to a near science. The new winning coalition, which Obama’s team had been driving at for over two years, includes single women voters, minorities (Latino, Asian, and African Americans), and the youth.

Despite the initial Republican lack of introspection about the electoral loss, their continued justification of the no-tax mantra—and even lingering talk of the “fictional” Obama (the European socialist with the fake birth certificate!)—there is the possibility of bipartisan accommodation on the U.S.’s priority issues. The President must use the obvious momentum associated with winning a second term and begin using the bully pulpit as the instrument to build support and put pressure on the Republicans. Meanwhile, good sense Republicans like David Frum and Chris Christie, as well as NYT conservative columnist David Brooks, will hopefully be able to pull their party back from the more extreme elements.

We know that second-term Presidents soon become lame-duck occupants of the White House. Yet, Obama’s victory has ensured the safety of his first-term signature achievements—Obamacare, pay equity for women, student loan reform, financial reform, repealing DADT for gays in the military, and winding down the combat role of the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, there are plenty of crucial issues to tackle over the next four years—these  include dealing with the deficit and debt issue (the famous fiscal cliff is beyond the horizon), immigration reform, energy independence, climate change, and stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Once the Republicans digest this defeat, see its enormity and its ominous signs for the future of their party, its own leadership may soon conclude that it is in their interests to put country first and work with the reelected President.




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Obama and the promise of four more years

  1. “Once the Republicans digest this defeat, see its enormity and its
    ominous signs for the future of their party, its own leadership may soon
    conclude that it is in their interests to put country first and work
    with the reelected President.”

    I certainly hope so. But I see few signs of any new attitude from Republican leaders. Once you tell your base that it’s unthinkable to work with the other party, it’s a painful step to begin to cooperate. I just don’t see any appetite for crow there.

    • Exactly. Why would they get religion now, when they have been rewarded time and again for the permanent campaign? Let’s face it, they increased their count in the House of Representatives and didn’t exactly elect a slate of moderates who want to reach out.
      At least some of the party believe they lost because of the candidate they never wanted. Another part of the party seems to believe it’s because they weren’t right wing enough, including the candidate.
      So far the portion of the party that thinks the party itself needs attention seems to be in the minority. Will the Congressmen that got elected by being combative about taxes, immigration, social policy and Roe vs. Wade suddenly decide that they are alienating large segments of the US population?

  2. We “good sense” republicans will in fact resist the efforts of the European socialist to transform this nation into a failed democracy. The “mandate” that Obama received in the Presidential election is the same “mandate” that the republicans in the house received from the same national electorate. I admit to being caught off guard by the stupidity of the American people. But Mark Twain said it best. “Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”

    • European? I thought Obama was Kenyan.

    • Apparently, “good sense” republicans include some who are slow learners.

  3. “What the results did show was the superior quality of the Democratic organization under the leadership of Obama’s close circle of operatives, such as David Plouffe, David Axelrod, and Jim Messina. They fought a strong ground game, an effective and innovative Internet operation, and raised the art of micro-politics to a near science.”

    When Obama does this, he and his team are lauded by the mainstream media in Canada. When Harper does this, he and his team are proclaimed to be devils by the mainstream media in Canada.

    When the “Dauphin” says that he is going to do this, he and his team are prematurely lauded by the mainstream media in Canada.

    • “When Harper does this, he and his team are proclaimed to be devils by the mainstream media in Canada.”

      Where? In most of the so-called MSM commentary I’ve seen, the depiction of the Con micro-political machinery is usually tinged with awe and (admittedly sometimes grudging) admiration.

    • “When Harper does this, he and his team are proclaimed to be devils…”

      Citations please.

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