By January 2009, Bush's approval rating was approaching the Truman low, and his party had lost the White House.
About Obama's second term it is hard to be sanguine.
The hopeful news is that, after four years, the U.S. economy appears to be recovering. Progress is slow, but we seem to be out of intensive care and walking the hospital halls.
The perils, however, are visibly present. With its massive creation of money, the Federal Reserve is taking an immense risk that as recovery takes root, inflation may explode. And the hostility between President Obama and House Republicans likely means no big deal to constrain future deficits. Obama added $5 trillion to America's debt bomb in his first term, and his second promises the same.
This cannot go on forever. Foreign and domestic creditors will one day demand a risk premium for lending money to Uncle Sam.
But it is abroad where the problems and perils seem imminent.
Iraq is drifting toward sectarian-civil-ethnic war. Few are optimistic about the fate of Syria when Bashar Assad falls. Even fewer are optimistic about Afghanistan after U.S. troops depart. The Taliban of Afghanistan's past may be her future.
Notwithstanding Obama's campaign claim about al-Qaida being "on the run," Islamism and Islamist terrorism seem to be growth stocks in the Sahel region of Africa, the Maghreb, and the Middle and Near East, all the way to nuclear-armed Pakistan.
In East Asia, escalating tensions between Japan and China are spawning a new nationalism in both nations, and now warships and jet fighters of both have begun circling the Senkaku Islands.
The most immediate crisis may come this year, when a re-elected Bibi Netanyahu and his neocon and War Party allies demand of the president an ultimatum to Tehran, followed by U.S. air strikes on its nuclear facilities at Natanz and Fordow if Iran does not capitulate.
Obama may be dreaming of amnesty for illegal aliens and a Federal Gun Registry, but most of us would settle for no more wars and no double-dip recession.
Remarkable how the expectations of Americans seem so modest compared to what they were when we were young.
Today, the minimalist slogan, "General Motors is alive, and Osama bin Laden is dead!" is enough to get you re-elected president.
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