Midterm Elections May Seal Fate of Obama's Legacy
by Jules Witcover
Every two-term president since the 22nd Amendment was ratified in 1951 has faced being a lame-duck upon his re-election.
Unless Obama's party defies the odds and retains control of the
Obama has had some notable successes in winding down the American involvements in the wars in
Awaiting him on the on the doorstep when he took office in 2009 were the wars in
He suffered sharp losses in the 2010 congressional elections, which stiffened and deepened the
With the exception of the Affordable Care Act, which the president's adversaries reduced to the epithet "Obamacare," he had little opportunity or chance to focus on his 2008 campaign promise to "change the way
Thanks to the Republicans' intraparty divisiveness in
Thus he continues to fight, as he has from the start of his presidency, from a defensive crouch. At home, he has been severely limited in his ability to press for the agenda on which he campaigned in 2008, as the new liberal hope of his party.
Abroad as well, Obama has navigated gingerly through the shoals of military and diplomatic engagement, pointedly attempting to reset American foreign policy on a more cautious path of collective response through Western and
That more deliberate course has animated his conservative critics outside and within his party, who have accused him of weakness, most recently for his pointed observation that there is no military solution to the current crisis in
Through all this, Obama has argued that
He probably never anticipated that conducting wars would remain a centerpiece of his first term, having promised to end them and to create a level economic and social playing field at home.
The constitutionally lame-duck presidents that came before him -- Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan,
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Article: Copyright © 2014, Tribune Content Agency
"Midterm Elections May Seal Fate of Obama's Legacy"