The Misery of Obama’s Second Term

The president is now at odds with Congress and the public.

Everyone elected president comes into office modeling himself on some predecessor: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan. But those who win re-election eventually end up wondering whether they should have emulated James K. Polk instead. Why? Because he promised to serve only one term, and he stuck to it.

Barack Obama is probably reaching that stage about now. Ten months after concluding a victorious campaign, he finds himself with a public approval rating of 44 percent. That's down 10 points since December -- and the same as that of George W. Bush at this point in his presidency.

Obama's threat to attack Syria has put him at odds with Congress and the public. By last weekend, The Washington Post reported that "a majority of House members are now on the record as either against or leaning against authorizing President Obama to use military force."

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on the eve of his Tuesday TV address found that only 28 percent of Americans approved of his handling of the matter. Public support for the proposed attack, says Gallup, is lower than for any U.S. war in the past two decades.

The numbers reflect a couple of facts that are largely beyond his control. The first is that after 12 years of nonstop fighting in distant lands, Americans are sick of war. The second is that after nearly five years of watching him in the White House, many are also tired of Obama.

This is a common consequence of protracted exposure. Most TV series don't last more than five years -- and TV series don't air seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. There have been several new iPhone models since Obama was first elected. If you bought a suit or a dress five years ago, it's no longer the epitome of fashion.

Facing the aftermath of re-election is a challenge for the people in the administration, as well as the people they serve. Top aides burn out or cash in, leaving the White House to find replacements, who may not enjoy the same trust or access. Presidents run out of ideas. If they have any left over, they're even less likely to be able to get them through the second time around.

Scandals also have a tendency to erupt in the second term, and the IRS targeting of tea party groups arrived this year right on schedule. All this comes before the midterm congressional elections, which typically bring losses to the party in the White House. Republicans are expected to enlarge their House majority and could capture the Senate.

Obama's honeymoon with Democratic liberals is a fading memory. Some are disillusioned by the National Security Agency surveillance, some oppose an attack in Syria, and most of them gag at the thought of Larry Summers taking over the Federal Reserve.

While most presidents try to add new achievements in their second terms, Obama is still wrangling with Congress over the central one of his first term. The House has voted some 40 times to undo Obamacare, and some members want to force a government shutdown if necessary to attain that goal.

So the president may get to relive the exquisite torture of battling Congress over the debt ceiling. Republicans show no inclination to pass the immigration reform he champions. The economy has been lousy for his entire presidency and shows every indication of staying that way.

Foreign affairs are no ray of sunshine. Vladimir Putin may have spared Obama a war in Syria, but Obama will have to take care to avoid being scammed in the deal on Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons. He has to extricate the U.S. military from Afghanistan without unleashing chaos.

North Korea reportedly has restarted a nuclear reactor to make fuel for additional nuclear weapons. Sometime in the next three years, Obama may have to decide whether to carry out a massive strike to prevent Iran from acquiring the bomb. It's enough to make a guy wish he were free to focus on his presidential library.

At the end of the brilliant 1970 biographical film "Patton," Gen. George Patton recalls that when a Roman conqueror returned home to bask in adulation, a slave rode along in his chariot, whispering, "All glory is fleeting." Obama needs no one to remind him. By now, he probably says it in his sleep.

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  • Snark Plissken||

    At the end of the brilliant 1970 biographical film "Patton," Gen. George Patton recalls that when a Roman conqueror returned home to bask in adulation, a slave rode along in his chariot, whispering, "All glory is fleeting." Obama needs no one to remind him. By now, he probably says it in his sleep.

    Yeah right. Paging Barfman.

  • BlueBook||

    In Obama's case, it's Joe Biden whispering "this is a big fucking deal".

  • Almanian!||

    "Ohhh....God bless ya..."

  • db||

    Everybody stand up for Almanian!

  • niallt||

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  • Ted S.||

    What he says in his sleep is, "Why don't those racist bitter clingers love me and appreciate my brilliance?"

  • Old Dave||

    From what I've heard, he's surrounded himself with sycophants so, instead of hearing that his glory shall pass, he's always hearing how wonderful and brilliant he is.

  • Rich||

    Serious question: What do you see Obama doing in five years? (Besides pulling down big bucks, uh, money on the lecture circuit, of course.)

    I think he'll have another (ghost-written) book out, "work" as a "community-organization consultant", and be a major official in the DNC.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    'My wart is Bush's fault.'

    That's the title of his next book.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Or.

    'God is Bush's fault.'

  • Rich||

    "Warts From My Father"

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I just spit out my espresso.

  • Snark Plissken||

    I Tried to Create Utopia: And I Would've Gotten Away with It, Too. If It Wasn't for Those Obstructionist Rethuglicans.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Co-authored with Thomas Friedman.

  • Almanian!||

    "With a preface from Pauly Krugnuts"

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Prologue from Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Yucko the Clown.

  • thom||

    The cult of Obama is only going to get worse. I won't surprise me twenty years from now if near half the country actually believes this as fact.

  • Pulseguy||

    I agree. The only thing that will stop this is if he gets convicted of something so heinous even the lefties will turn on him. Murder, or something.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    another (ghost-written) book

    That wingnut lie won't die.

    I have to admire how the right-wing echo chamber sustains lies. And how fact-driven people become the "lamestream".

  • Rich||

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    So a funny joke to share the royalties gets turned into a persistent wingnut lie.

    I have a wingnut relative here in Georgia that resends me her e-mail "news" every day - none of it factual and all from right wing blogs.

    "Why won't the lamestream media report on this?"

  • wareagle||

    when you write two memoirs without having actually accomplished anything, you deserve all the mocking and ridicule that you get.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    ESPECIALLY when it's been revealed most of the 'stories' and characters are composites.

  • PapayaSF||

    And especially when his previous writings were often clumsy, but his book prose much better, and remarkably similar to the prose of that of one of his political mentors who is known to have "helped" him on the first book.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Obama's first book may as well have been titled "Issues From My Daddy."

    No wonder shriek defends him so much--emotionally stable people tend to grow up and let that shit go instead of trying to punish the rest of society for it.

  • Swiss Servator, Spare a Franc?||

    The Derp Knight riding in to defend fair damsel O! once again...

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttplug,

    That wingnut lie won't die.


    Sure, Buttwipe. It was just a coincidence that the only girlfriend mentioned in Dreams of my Father is described exactly as Ayer's former girlfriend.

  • PapayaSF||

    In five years he'll be serving on foundation boards, possibly heading one, and trying to become UN Secretary General.

  • wareagle||

    when you spend your entire presidency looking for groups to blame if not demonize, everyone else eventually tunes you out. The one-hit wonder has played out and no one wants listen to bullshit about bitter clingers or the flat earth society or obstructionism or all the other excuses that Obama leans on in hopes that people won't realize that the results his administration has wrought are not bugs, they are features.

  • robc||

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    "The economy has been lousy for his entire presidency and shows every indication of staying that way."

    Palin's rebuttal in 3...2...

    "All glory is fleeting."

    Doesn't this presume Obama has experienced glory in the first place? I think when it comes to Obama - since he's more like a rookie athlete who is lavished with all sorts of praise before proving anything in the pros - like I don't know Matt Leinert, Ryan Leaf or that guy who took over from Doug Flutie in Buffalo - the phrase 'All praise is fleeting' is more appropriate.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Next you'll be saying he didn't deserve that Peace Prize.

  • Rich||

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    He totally deserved that. Come on. Stop being a daft wing-nut. Intent is what matters.

  • wareagle||

    unlike Leinart or Leaf, Obama has no previous record of accomplishment in anything. Those two could at least say they had been good in college. All Obama can say is he showed up.

  • Almanian!||

    Obama is the Drew Henson of presidents.

    *if you forgot who Drew Henson is, Google him - Brighton, MI - SO PROUD of her native son*

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Never heard of him before. How is Obama like him? 'Splain to this dimwit.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Full or promise but no accomplishment is that it?

  • Pulseguy||

    Leinart and Leaf actually could prove they went to college.

  • John||

    All they have left is "But BOOSH". It is pathetic. Iraq was ten fucking years ago. It would be like if the Republicans were still screaming about Hillarycare in 2003. The Obamabots have no solutions, not hope, no defense. All they have is "but the rethuglicans!!" They don't even pretend anymore.

  • Almanian!||

    They don't even pretend anymore

    Well, I - for one - blame Bush.

  • John||

    My favorite is that the reason why the world doesn't respect us anymore is because of Bush. Hold it, wasn't Obama supposed to fix that? Wasn't that like half the reason his supporters, especially the scumbag beltway media, said they were voting for him? You know the world would love us and respect us again because we elected such an erudite black man or something?

    It has been five years now. If the world still hates us, isn't that a bit of a failure on Obama's part? Wasn't he hired to fix that?

  • Almanian!||

    Yep. Amazing he couldn't deliver on that one, simple pledge - to make The World love us.

    What a fucking asshole. I truly hate the President and his administration. Hate.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    There was euphoria at the prospect of Obama 'fixing' and then setting foreign policy onto an Age of Aquarius tangent.

    It only made sense.

    Like the Kevin Brown signing by the Dodgers.

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    Well, I - for one - blame Bush.

    I blame my ex-wife's bush.

  • Jerryskids||

    I seem to recall that Obama did emulate Polk in that he said if he didn't turn things around in his first term he expected to be - and deserved to be - a one-term President. And given his and his fans proclivity for redefining terms and blaming you-know-who for everything, I imagine he would make the argument that he is only serving one term since the first four years were all Bush.

  • Jordan||

    I imagine he would make the argument that he is only serving one term since the first four years were all Bush.

    He could make the argument - and I would agree with him - that he hasn't served any terms, since this is Bush's 4th term.

  • robc||

    7th term of Bush/Clinton.

    But that is probably unfair to Bush Sr and Clinton.

  • John||

    Bush would have never done Obamacare or used the IRS to go after his enemies or sent guns to Mexico in hopes of using their existence there as a political club in the gun control debate. And of course, ending the wars overseas would still be a fierce moral imperative amongst the Left.

  • PapayaSF||

    Not to mention Kagan and Sotomayor.

  • ||

    The way the left and media has sucked this man's cock makes Annette Schwarz (First google entry is work safe) look like an amateur.

  • Number 2||

    On a larger scale though, no second presidential term has really been successful since the two-term limit was enacted. The incumbent has no re-election to keep him honest, while the rest of the world realizes that it has a four-year lame duck on its hands. Especially these days, when the next presidential election effectively starts on the day after the incumbent wins re-election.

  • db||

    Should be changed to a single 5- or 6-year term.

  • thom||

    Should be changed to a one or two year term and term limits abolished. If they're actually out campaigning all the time they won't have the time to pass all sorts of crippling legislation. Also, under my system there would have been at least two chances so far for Obama to lose an election.

  • grey||

    Obama has been in non-stop campaign mode and that hasn't kept his underlings from boot stomping across our liberties.

  • Almanian!||

    I define "success" of a second term as POTUS as "utter gridlock", so the big fella's still in it at this point.

    Here's hoping.

  • PapayaSF||

    My favored version of the two-term limit: one term in office, one term in prison.

  • John||

    I first came to Washington in 2007. Partisanship aside, by that point the Bush people were a spent force. They were tired. They had been in office and at war for going on seven years. You really had the sense that they were just running out the clock hoping nothing bad happened.

    The Obama feel even more spent and more rudderless six months into the second term than the Bush people were eight years into a second term. Not only are things bad, the Obama administration is completely disintegrating.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I thought there were a few marginally competent staffers on the Bush squad. I definitely don't think that for Obama's crew.

  • John||

    There isn't. And the ones they have who have maybe learned a bit on the job are leaving. Right now DHS is without both a secretary and deputy secretary. And there seems to be very little movement to replace them. No one really wants the job and the ones who do are people like Ray Kelly who have too much political baggage to get through Congress.

    I honestly don't think anyone is in charge right now. I don't think the cabinet is listening to Obama and I don't think he is really interested in being in charge anyway.

  • db||

    I've said it before, but Obama is not an executive by temperament or training.

    He fits the mold of someone who thinks he is executive material by virtue of being smart, but who has never been held accountable for success or had to drive to a result. He thought he would step in and hire competent managers to run the place for him while he speechified and provided a face for the admin. Instead he hired a bunch of people like himself. And none of it would have worked anyway because they all believe that Top Men trump Good Policy.

  • John||

    He is not interested in the day to day running of the executive. That wouldn't be so bad. Some really good Presidents like Reagan were not either. But, Obama is too vain to hire someone under him as COS or VP who is. Reagan had people like Bush I around him. Bush II had Dick Cheney. Obama has no one. So it is just a clown college up there.

  • wareagle||

    the Obama administration true believers came in expecting big things to happen. I wonder how few defined "fundamental transformation" the same way he does.

  • John||

    That was part of it. A lot of them had this religious belief that everything Bush did was the result of malice. They really thought everything could be fixed very easily. They found out very quickly that a lot of the things Bush did were out of necessity or the best of bad options.

    The reason why, at least with regard to counter terrorism, it has been a third and now fourth Bush term is because all of the ideas the Obama people had were impractical, naive and often downright stupid. Once they got in charge they quickly realized this. So, they just continued what Bush was doing because they had no better ideas. Meanwhile, they were totally taken in by the snake oil salesman at NSA and let NSA go forward with domestic spying that Bush hadn't even dreamed of.

  • wareagle||

    Obama could have greatly helped himself along the way by saying that there is vast gulf between what he thought he knew as a candidate and what he's learned as POTUS. But that would have required humility and for Obama, would have necessitated a DNA transplant.

  • PapayaSF||

    +1

  • PapayaSF||

    Obama & Co. believed their own hype, and now that the economy has refused to recover, Obamacare is a slow-motion train wreck, and the world is not bowing to Obama's wishes, they don't know what to do.

  • LemonMender||

    The numbers reflect a couple of facts that are largely beyond his control. The first is that after 12 years of nonstop fighting in distant lands, Americans are sick of war. The second is that after nearly five years of watching him in the White House, many are also tired of Obama.

    And since he campaigned on ending the first point, I do think it is in his control. The second is also in his control since he is the one doing the things that make people tired of him.

  • wareagle||

    I don't get how war is beyond his control, either. He's the CIC. Bush left him a plan for winding up Iraq but he chose to escalate Afghanistan.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I was wondering about this same thing. I don't think anyone is forcing him to be in constant campaign mode or to weigh in on every issue picked up by the national media.

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    What's the alternative? Going back to the Oval Office and governing? He doesn't know how to do that.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    The man looks like a dullard.

  • Almanian!||

    The man looks like is a dullard.

    fixed

  • OldMexican||

    Obama's honeymoon with Democratic liberals is a fading memory. Some are disillusioned by the National Security Agency surveillance, some oppose an attack in Syria, and most of them gag at the thought of Larry Summers taking over the Federal Reserve.


    Well, yeah - some. Most of them, though, will be more than willing to lend their body to stop any arrow coming to their beloved daimyo.

  • 4thaugust1932||

    Govt doesn't need our taxes.
    Govt can print currency.
    Govt is imposing taxes to keep you subservient.
    http://realcurrencies.wordpres.....out-usury/

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