News / USA

Obama Hopes to Break 2nd Term Jinx

President Barack Obama is preparing for a second four-year term after his re-election victory.  But second terms have not always been kind to recent U.S. presidents.

In the wake of a rousing victory on election night, Obama vowed to learn from supporters and critics alike in his second term.

“And whether I earned your vote or not I have listened to you, I have learned from you and you have made me a better president," said Obama. "I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.”

Republicans are already adapting to the reality of a second Obama term, including House Speaker John Boehner.

House Speaker John BoehnerHouse Speaker John Boehner
x
House Speaker John Boehner
House Speaker John Boehner
“Mr. President, this is your moment.  We are ready to be led not as Democrats or Republicans but as Americans," said Boehner.

But if history is any guide, Obama may find his second term more challenging than his first, says former Reagan White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein.

“You know the history of second term presidents at least through World War II has been that inevitably they go off track in their fifth or sixth year," said Duberstein. "Every second term president somehow finds a scandal, finds a difficulty, a mistake, and it gets elevated.”

Richard Nixon won a landslide re-election victory in 1972 but was forced to resign because of the Watergate scandal less than two years later.

Ronald Reagan’s reputation suffered because of the Iran-Contra scandal and Bill Clinton was impeached over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

George W. Bush was harshly criticized for his handling of Hurricane Katrina and unanticipated problems in Iraq.

President Obama says he’s well aware of what some historians call the ‘second term curse.’

“I don’t presume that because I won an election that everybody suddenly agrees with me on everything," said Obama. "I’m more than familiar with all the literature about presidential overreach in second terms.  We are very cautious about that.”

The president is wise to note the second term pitfalls of his predecessors, says University of California historian Matthew Dallek.

“So he’s very conscientious of it and he’s signaling that he wants to be pragmatic and he doesn’t want the ‘world’ [everything], he’s not asking for ‘pie in the sky’ things and that he’s going to work in areas where he thinks that he can work in," said Dallek.

It’s also important for the president to build political relationships, says former Reagan aide Duberstein.

“President Reagan during the Iran-Contra incident, people wanted to believe him," said Duberstein. "He had a reservoir of goodwill.  President Obama to date doesn’t have those strong relationships.  That is something that I think he fundamentally has to address in these initial months of a second term.”

And so even as President Obama looks ahead to an ambitious second-term agenda, analysts expect he will be mindful of some of the mistakes of his predecessors.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Brandt Hardin
November 20, 2012 9:08 PM
Despite all odds, our President prevailed. He still has an uphill battle fighting a Red House which has blocked his every move in an attempt to squash his goals of bringing the Middle Class equal pay, women’s rights, gay rights and affordable healthcare. The Bush Administration drove our economy into a swift nose dive and Obama is still the patsy. Watch conservative hands paint him in Blackface with a visual commentary of how Barack has been bamboozled at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/10/bamboozling-obama.html

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More