Obama and the Second-Term Curse

Michael Medved

12/28/2011 2:17:23 PM - Michael Medved

Three quarters of Americans think we’re headed in the wrong direction, but nearly half of us still favor Barack Obama for re-election.

This means that millions assume that he'll somehow do better in a second term than he did in his first—breaking one of the iron rules of American politics: the Second Term Curse.

Even the most admired chief executives—Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Grant, Wilson, FDR, Ike and Reagan, not to mention Clinton and Bush— suffered more disappointments and scandals in second terms.

As “lame ducks” scheduled to leave the White House, second termers enjoy less clout; big agenda items, honeymoon embraces and consensus governance are generally played out during the first term.

Obama would face a less compliant Congress in his next four years than in his first two, so why should anyone expect enhanced success? Those who already lament the state of the nation should consider a potential second term with an old warning: “You ain't seen nothin’ yet!”