Does an Opposition Congress Doom A Presidency?

Posted: May 29, 2013 12:01 AM

President Obama blames Congressional Republicans for collapse of his “hope and change” agenda but those claims make no sense in historical context. Since World War II, all the most successful two-term presidents worked with Congresses where the opposition enjoyed far more strength than today’s GOP wields against Obama. Opposition Democrats dominated both Houses of Congress for six of the eight years of Eisenhower’s presidency, as did opposition Republicans for six of eight years under Bill Clinton.

Hostile Democrats held the House for all Reagan’s terms of office, and the Senate for two of those years. By contrast, Obama’s own party has controlled the Senate for his entire presidency, and the House for a third of it. The president’s wrenching failures reflect his own weakness, not the strength of the opposition.