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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs