Can Obama have a sucessful second term?
Barack Obama will face serious challenges if he's re-elected in November. Of the nineteen presidents who have won a second term, only seven have been judged to have succeeded during that time in office.
Many articles have recently been written about the impending battle between the president and Congress over the extension of the Bush tax cuts, raising the debt limit, the potential of automatic cuts in spending and various tax benefits that expire. The necessity of resolving these issues is what Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke refers to as a “fiscal cliff.” It is possible that these momentous decisions will be given brief extensions so that the next president and Congress will be saddled with making them. As a second-term president Obama would face obstacles rarely experienced by a chief executive returned to office. Compromise has been the source of major legislation since the end of World War II, but Obama would face sizeable numbers of members of the Senate and House who have stated they will not compromise. There are ominous clouds on the horizon for a second term for Obama.
The list of those who prevailed in their second term includes George Washington, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Those who had troubled or failed second terms were Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. (Lincoln is not included in this list as his second term was so brief).
The dominant source of failure for second-term presidents has been their inability to successfully work with Congress. Obama demonstrated this inability to work with congress in his first term [Tri] Fully eight second-term president had troubled or failed second terms due directly to clashes between Congress and the White House. Even having a congressional majority of a president's own party is no assurance of relief -- Andrew Jackson was censured by a Congress controlled by his own Democratic Party, a slight he never forgave, and Eisenhower, a Republican, fought legislation drafted by a fellow Republican, John W. Bricker of Ohio, who sought to take away presidential powers.