Another Second Inauguration
The inauguration of a re-elected president should signify the country's satisfaction with his first term, and anticipation of more of the same leadership that has brought about that second term.
Nevertheless, of the last seven presidential repeaters, arguably only two --
Nixon got a second term in part on a promised plan to end that war, neither articulated in his campaign nor fulfilled thereafter. The campaign operation that had engineered his victory self-immolated in the crimes of Watergate, and took him down with it.
This time around, Obama will be taking the oath of office a second time amid unrealized hopes set by his campaign in 2008 and the euphoria of the breakthrough by the first African-American president. He fueled it as well with soaring rhetoric promising "change you can believe in." Four years later, much of that uplift has worn off.
A good part of the erosion came through stiff Republican obstructionism in
But Obama contributed to the enthusiasm gap with his own perceived unwillingness to take them on, with actions as well as with words, in the series of fiscal and economic showdowns that plagued his first term. His eventual re-election was as much a measure of the fault-filled campaign of
Approaching his second inauguration, he has vowed to rely more on generating public support for his legislative agenda than he managed his first time around, beginning with his push for an ambitious package of gun-control initiatives. His assertion that he has learned that going to the voters is the only way to change
For all his lofty intentions, he enters into his second four years still bogged down by the sluggish economy. He continues to blame it, with some justification, on the fiscal and economic mess he inherited four years ago, along with the continuing drag of two overseas wars he vowed to end.
Whether Obama can and will pivot to a more combative posture toward his political adversaries in
Public opinion polls indicate most Americans have not given up on Obama the way they soured on his Republican predecessor by the end of his second term. So for the 44th president, the jury is still out, but he has enough time ahead to generate a lasting positive verdict.
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Another Second Inauguration | Politics
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