Obama Doubles Down on His First Term

Daniel J. Flynn is the author of numerous books, including "Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America," now available from ISI Books. Read Daniel's blog at www.flynnfiles.com.


“I hope and intend to be an even better president in the second term than I was in the first,” Barack Obama announced on Wednesday. The provocative statement presumed something about his first term that his election-day margin of victory—lower than all but one reelected president in U.S. history—contradicts. Even better, huh? If the president’s adversaries had hoped for a fresh start in the wake of November 6’s status quo election, Wednesday’s press conference—the first since March—provided little to buttress their optimism. The president’s attack on moderate GOP Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain for criticizing UN ambassador Susan Rice, and insistence on $1.6 trillion in new taxes, suggests an emboldened president doubling down on his first term.

Meet the new Barack. Same as the old Barack. The arrogance, the imperious take-it-or-leave-it propositions, the feigned indignation that members of the opposing party would dare criticize his administration—it was all there at the rare press conference. And if the brickbat didn’t become an olive branch after his mid-term “shellacking,” the president’s combative performance before a pliant press shows that it’s certainly not going to do so in the wake of his triumph.

But it’s never the same the second time around. Presidents gleeful with reelection soon become glum with torpor, scandal, and worse. Monicagate resulted in President Clinton’s impeachment. Iran-Contra bogged down Ronald Reagan. Watergate stopped the Nixon presidency. Franklin Roosevelt’s initial reelection preceded a disastrous court-packing scheme and the economy dipping back into depression. And we all know how terribly Abraham Lincoln’s second term started—and ended.

Milton Friedman wrote a book, The Tyranny of the Status Quo, which tackled the question of political inertia. The Nobel Prize winner surmised that “a new administration has some six to nine months in which to achieve major changes; if it does not seize the opportunity to act decisively during that period, it will not have another such opportunity. Further changes come slowly or not at all, and counterattacks develop against the initial changes. The temporarily routed political forces regroup, and they tend to mobilize everyone who was adversely affected by the changes, while the proponents of the changes tend to relax after their initial victories.” In other words, get what you want done immediately or not at all.

Second-term presidents certainly have achieved foreign policy successes and stamped their imprint on the courts. But second-term legislative successes have rarely come through ultimatums and strong-arm tactics, particularly when the opposing party controls one half of Congress and the president increasingly gets seen as a lame duck. President Reagan’s simplification of the tax code in 1986 that closed loopholes and brought top rates down from 50 to 28 percent won passage through the sponsorship of Democrats Dick Gephardt in the House of Representatives and Bill Bradley in the Senate. Bill Clinton presiding over the first budget surpluses in three decades stemmed in large part from a Republican Congress’s refusal to support dramatic spending increases. It took the two parties, and the two political branches of government, to bring the budget to balance.

Truly ambitious programs without appeal to the opposition tend to fair poorly during second terms. George W. Bush, who believed his reelection granted him political “capital” to spend, tried doing so on an overhaul of Social Security that would have permitted more options for younger citizens. In a Congress more favorable to him that the current one is to President Obama, President Bush’s proposal was dead on arrival. Should Barack Obama proceed in as uncompromising a manner during his second term as he did during his first, he may find far fewer legislative victories. Presidential power tends to erode rather than strengthen over time.

Alas, history hasn’t always provided precedent for anticipating the political career of Barack Obama. He is just one of three presidents to arrive at the office directly from the Senate. The first black president’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, won passage outside of that six-to-nine month window that Friedman outlined. Obama became the first president since FDR reelected with unemployment above 7.5 percent and one of two presidential victors since the dawn of exit polling who won the White House but lost independents. As stock brokers remind, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results.

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  • Anamah

    We all know how this guy is, who his friends are, and the misery that from the deepest of his heart wants to achieve for all Americans.

    • Harvey Steele

      Billy was impeached for perjury when he was deposed before a judge on the Paula Jones lawsuit episode and gave false testimony. not for sex in the white house with monica.

  • pierce

    For this president it is his way, or the highway.
    Does this mean he is right? I don't think so. One look at the Benghazi lies he has told tells you no.
    The only president in recent memory who has told more lies is Bill Clinton when he he said he didn't have sex with that women, and he was impeached.
    What are the next 4 years going to be like? God only knows with Supreme EGOIST residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    • Lucifer Dye

      What Benghazi lies? The latest Repugnant attack-dog, McCain (the idiot who gave us Sarah Palin) chose to chat to the TV cameras rather than attend a briefing on Benghaz. That should tell us what his priorities are. This guy (who famously said that Iraq was being supplied with arms by Pakistan because "they share a common border") is a nasty, vicious, racist fascist who cannot bear the fact that we have a black president. Why anybody should listen to this senile fool is beyond me. He's famous for what — getting shot down by a pajama-clad Vietnamese peasant and spending years in a Vietnamese prison camp? Does that make him a hero? No, it makes him an incompetent pilot who screwed up big-time. The goal of military men in war is to avoid capture and kill the enemy, not languish in prison for years. McNasty — shut the hell up and retire.

      • Western Canadian

        You really are so full of hatred and ignorance, that you can’t keep it all to yourself. And your smear of McCain, I have seen somewhere before…. You can’t even manage to be original in your sick and vicious hatred.

        • Lucifer Dye

          Funny, WC, when I lived in western Canada, the people there seemed a lot saner and a lot nicer than you. You've seen the "smear" of McNasty somewhere before because there are other people out there who haven't bought into the war-hero myth of that misanthropic old man. You must be taking your talking points from that gang of fascists on Fox "News." Try reading something independent for yourself and refuse to be led by those people. I'm still waiting for you and "pierce" up above to explain the Benghazi "lies" the prez told us. Give it a try

          • Lucifer Dye

            I was cut off in mid-diatribe for some obscure reason, WC, for which no doubt you'll be profoundly grateful. Suffice it to say, I imagine you've got the gist. Have a lovely day.

          • John

            Lucifer Dye: I am not english, But I just wanted to let u know that u will soon see how your cheeky shameless liar and narcissist-in-chief will look like someone who wears a coat without any trousers and shorts, because of Benghazigate ( stand down and let them die.. )

          • Lucifer Dye

            John, your post is illiterate drivel. I've no idea what you're babbling about. Be a good lad and try again — in cogent English this time.

          • John

            Lucifer Dye:

            As I said before I am not english , it is better for me to remain german , especially when I am seeing how your country is in such a terrible debt and your Kenyan god is closing his eyes and spends as much as he needs to buy poor people’s votes, and doesnt care about your dark future.

            I said: I just wanted to let you know that you will soon see how your cheeky shameless liar and narcissist-in-chief will look like someone wearing a coat without any shorts and trousers, because of Benghazigate —- if you imagin your kenyan boy (narcissist-in-chief ) while he is wearing a coat but he doesnt wear shorts and trousers, you will understand what i am talking about , that is what he is supposed to look like after people know how he lied to them about Benghazigate -> stand down and let them die..

            Did you get me, black librat ? spend your handout and rip yourself for your liar-in-chief.

            It is amazing that you librats try to show yourself as a good boy when there is a benefit for you or you are supposed to preach others , but other times you show your reality especially when you become angry when people find how your Kenyan god ( Oblamer/Obliar ) shows his real dirty face by letting americans die and watching them when they struggle to survive for 7 hours , and then he shamelessly lies to Country/World.

          • John

            Lucifer Dye:

            When the Takers outvote the Makers , the country will decline …

          • Lucifer Dye

            And when the Makers outvote the Takers, you get fascism. Is that what you want? Check the definition of fascism — one of its factors is that big corporations run the country. Others are intense nationalism and the desire to attack other countries. Sound familiar? I know you're from Germany, but do you really think a Fourth Reich in this country would be desirable?

          • John

            Go down , i forgot to answer you there

          • John

            @Lucifer Dye says:

            And how about the occupation of NM and CA ? Oblamer would not be president if there was not such an occupation, anyways this is not what I am looking for..

            I am sure that you are not a native american bcz you would not attack a national hero like McCain this way if you were , and if you had a history in your mind. you are a guest who eats the food and then breaks the plate .. all you think about is how to extract as much as possible from the government, and not the future of the country. populist leaders like Oblamer knows good how to fool people like you and divide the country by attacking riches and corporations , your country is based on riches and big corporations. Who do you think you are? what you said have been said many years and many times by other dictators. do you think america was born as america? if there were not big corporations and america’s fathers like GW, A.L , JFK , RR , McCain … , or if they were like a naive man like Obliar who didnt do anything serious in his life, there would not be America.

            Keep America American, if you are an american , but if you are someone who want not to work and hate riches and corporations who in fact create jobs for people , there is somewhere named Kenya , go and let real americans remain what they have been during decades. and if you want to say i wont do so and feel good here , i tell you OK then I am sitting here to see how your country is being degraded day by day so that you cant even imagine.

            You can not spend more than you have , otherwise you will go bankrupt , what Obliar is doing well , he wants to degrade america to his own level , disgusting … He hates america and whites in his heart while he shows himself as a truthful one , this way he can do his task which is fooling people and degrading america very well.

            This sick man enjoyed of watching how Chris Stevens was fighting for his life for 7 years. I cried for him when I imagined what happened to him during that dark moments, and then his administration shamelessly said: The president did exactly what a president must do. yes , exactly , stand down and let them die..

            Or maybe Stevens knew something that Obliar didnt want people to know..

          • John

            7 hours *

  • Chanameel

    Obama suffers from the same disease that Hitler suffered from.

    The name of the disease is Pathological Narcissism.

  • Fred

    But remember Barry is an ILLEGAL PRESIDENT so anything he does cannot be law. We do not respect this jerk at all.

    • Jim_C

      Then take it to court, or take your treason elsewhere.

      • Stephen_Brady

        Jim, it is not treason to suspect that a President is illegal. Or are all of us who oppose Obama "traitors" for doing so?

        • Jim_C

          Of course not, I expect you to oppose him. But people who make statements about "illegality" without a shred of evidence after all this time, and more importantly, without securing any professionally credible means of investigating and prosecuting that "illegality" who fail to recognize the legal, elected office of their president may, indeed, be traitors.

        • trickyblain

          Not at all. But If I had a dime for every time I was called a traitor here for criticizing the execution of Bush's wars, I wouldn't be rich, but I'd have about fifteen bucks.

          I'd say those that talk (fantasize) about succession and hanging our President, however, are by definition somewhat traitorous. .

          • Western Canadian

            And fifteen bucks is probably more than you have EARNED in years.

    • trickyblain

      Last I checked, actual legality was not proscribed or interpreted by "Fred."

    • Lucifer Dye

      You're a moron, Fred. Who is the "we" who do not respect the president — you and the turd in your pocket? And how is the president illegal?

  • PhillipGaley

    According to the great English philologist, George M. Crabb, while the rich and high-born are sometimes arrogant, those of lower estate are merely haughty, . . .

  • Maureen

    Please do an on-line search for the murder of Donald Young. He was the openly gay choir director of the church of Jeremiah Wright, murdered with multiple gunshot wounds on Dec. 23, 2007. Also check out the deaths of Lt. Quarles Harris, Alex Okrent, Kam Kawata, and Ashley Turton.

    • Lucifer Dye

      Oh yeah, Maureen, I seem to remember something about that. Wasn't Obama seen sneaking around with a smoking gun following the deaths of those people? And isn't he also responsible for world hunger, unrest in the Middle East, halitois and curvature of the spine?

      • John

        @Lucifer Dye: I am not english, But I just wanted to let u know that u will soon see how your cheeky shameless liar and narcissist-in-chief will look like someone who wears a coat without any trousers and shorts, because of Benghazigate (stand down and let them die..)

        • Lucifer Dye

          Huh?

    • Harvey Steele

      and Labor Secretary Brown, and Vince Foster's staged suicide.

      • Lucifer Dye

        And Obama murdered them, too, Harvey? You fascists are bloody bugnuts.

  • 4_Constitution

    The TEA party needs to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and learn from this election and start calling and emailing again and telling our reps. that raising taxes is OFF the table.

    Here in my state of VA,we need to keep the majorities we have in our legislature and the Governor.

    • johnnywoods

      It would also help if the Tea Party of which I am a member would stop pick candidates with low I.Q.s who can debate facts and not make ridiculous statements that show them to be buffoons.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        The Nation seems to be on a path of self destruction and it may have been averted
        this past election. I wonder if the efforts were insufficient or the paient to far gone to
        have rationality take hold, I hope for another round of strong efforts but like you
        say Johhnwoods strong candidates are the necessary criteria. Looking at Obama
        it is hard to believe the dolt is President, says much about todays America.
        William

  • Jossi

    Prez Zero will probably enter the USA history as the worse ever! The question now is twofold, will he or the people survive another 4 years?

    • Lucifer Dye

      That's "worst," Jossi, not "worse." You fascists cannot even write a cogent sentence in the English language.

    • johnnywoods

      I havea t-shirt that says he is the worst presiden ever so it must be true.

  • Daphne

    Maybe the 2nd presidential term is usually less productive than the first, as mentioned by Daniel Flynn.
    However Obama is not just ANY president. He is Obama. And Obama will get his way, come hell or high water. His mission is to "Europeanize" that is to "Socialize" Europe, and in that he is backed by a supreme and very wealthy George Soros. In other words to turn the USA on its head. So far they have achieved that the economy is going to hell; that freedom of speech is on the way out (by anointing "political correctness"), that divisiveness of the American public is roaring full steam ahead with its concomitants of induced hatreds, and that religious observances are discouraged, with the exception of the hands-off policy towards Islam. Possibly even the population growth is being undermined by the deliberate policies of free contraceptives for all, and abortions on demand. Welfare state-ism and "entitlement " will change the character of the USA.. Obama's recent effluence of regulations in all fields as recognized for example in Obama-care will – taken in conjunction with already mentioned facets of his policy – and by Obama's policy of exploiting his Presidential powers, ensure the emergence of an authoritarian society even with a soviet-like or fascist-like constitution. We can see that the first 4 years of Obama's presidency resembles the "Kerensky-ism" or "Weimar Republic-ism' of pseudo-democracy.
    His second term could result in these pseudo-democracies progressing into quasi-Chancellorship or Stalinistic dictatorships.
    Perhaps the American public will begin to resist. Already about 22 States are talking about secession, while in other States there is a similar movement but the minimal required threshold has as yet not been reached. I doubt that secession is a realistic and certainly undesirable action. But let us hope that Mr Obama will pay attention and begin to moderate his proposed aims and policies.

    • Lucifer Dye

      No, Daphne (or should I say Daffy?), twenty-two states aren't talking about secession, merely those souhern states that gave us the wonderful wacky Civil War. What a wonderful time for the country that was. Let 'em go and then we can watch the fun while they try to govern themselves as the Disunited Fascist States of America. It's no coincidence that many of those states still preserve the Confederate battle flag on their state flags. Just biding their time until Civil War II, I guess. You people are such haters you mus defecate vitriol.

      • johnnywoods

        Hey Luci, You do know that your are an idiot, right?

        • Lucifer Dye

          Right, Johnny, Daffy up above wants to plunge the country into another civil war and you're agreeing with her and I'm the idiot.

      • John

        They are worthless, Stand down and let them die, at Benghazigate …

        • Lucifer Dye

          John, who's worthless, who should stand down (whatever that means), who should die and what the hell is Benghazigate? Don't you Repugnant fascists realize that the killers of our people in Benghazi the other month were crazy Moslem fanatics, the same type of guys who crashed into the WTC and the Pentagon in 2001 and blew up almost 300 Marines in Lebanon under Reagan's watch in 1984? You cannot control these people, yet you expect the prez to be eternally vigilant and not allow anything untoward to happen anywhere in the Middle East at any time. Where was Reagan in 1984 and what was Bush doing on 9/11/01? Applying your tangled logic, those two guys should be most definitely blamed for those disasters. Let's be reasonable here, people. I realize you're all a bunch of racist fascists who cannot stand the thought that the black guy in the White House beat your candidates twice in a row, but surely you can see the inanity of your fatuous carping.

          • John

            It seems you librats have decided to prove that your are indeed stupid. if you dont have an answer, you change the question to racism and sexism. or maybe you are very busy spending your handouts..

            Your examples are different than what happened in Benghazi.

            You are saying so that that was an accident! This sick man Oblamer denied their help request for 7 hours and watched them to die, and then lied to people for 2 months , and then arrested an innocent man who made a video 2 months before instead! and he is still repeating his lies.

            Are you aware, brainwashed? do you think others will be blind if you show yourself as blind?

          • John

            Oblamer watched them to die, then made a senario , his agents told muslims that someone made a video against you so they protest, and then he lied to the world this attack was an accident and due to that video, then he arrested an innocent man who made that video created 2 months before.. disgusting..

    • johnnywoods

      Daphne, I think you are expecting too much from citizens who have been educated in goernment schools by teachers who are unionized. An educated populace would have never elected Obummer in the first place.

  • Ghostwriter

    From what I saw of Boehner,he looked utterly defeated. He reminded me of those French from those old World War II newsreels who cried when the Nazis took over their country.

  • mattogilvie55

    Obama is also as evil and anti-America as ever.

  • jose

    He will try even harder to confront the paradox that americans are in by giving them more of the same. Good luck americans.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    That the Republicans control the House is meaningless, to many Republicans in name only
    in Office. The weak, senile, amoral, intelectually disfunctional, posers, self seeking crooks
    are the majority in Congress not to mention hate America firsters, racist provocateurs and
    Marxist, Socialist, Islamist moles in drag……….From the bottom up a cleansing of our
    society is all that is going to work, taking Scriptures out of Schools and public life has had
    it's ruinious results…………………………………………….William

    • Lucifer Dye

      Apart from the pathetic fact that you can't spell or write a cogent sentence, Billy Jim Ward, do you ever read over what you write and take any pride in it? If there's something wrong with this country, it's that it contains too many people like you and most of the other cretins who write on these blogs. Just wipe the drool from your chin, take a deep breath and have a good hard look at yourself. Now tell us that you believe you're a nice person.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        Moron!!!

        • Lucifer Dye

          Ah, Billy Jim Ward, would that I possessed the wit and the way with words that you do. "Moron!!!" How gifted you are in the clever way you make your argument. Your fellow haters must be s-o-o proud of you.

  • Joe Ordinary

    It's time for a steep LUXURY TAX on Movies, TV Shows, and Music, so that the putzes in Hollyweird can start paying THER FAIR SHARE and quit HOGGING everything to themselves.

    • Lucifer Dye

      Yeah, Joe, just like those wealthy Repugnants who believe that millionaires don't have enough money and poor people have too much. Unless you're as rich as Croesus, what the hell are you doing voting for those people? You need to wake up, quit getting your information from Fox "News" and Lard-ass Limbaugh and do some critical thinking for yourself.

  • Holger Saemann

    And who won the 2012 election?

  • Holger Saemann

    Didnt laugh like this since long I wish President Obama would be a little more like he is drawn here.
    But at least Obama won and will be the American President for four more years.
    Best Wishes from
    Berlin

  • Ghostwriter

    Well,Mr. Saemann,you don't have to live with what President Obama is going to do to us. We,here in America,do. And many of us aren't happy about it.