What's Next, Obama?

Obama's 2nd term: fiscal cliffs, tax hikes, climate change, and Iran

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 7, 2012 2:42 PM CST

(Newser) – Now that we know who'll be at the helm, the big question is what will the next four years look like? Here's a roundup of how some think President Obama's second term could or should shape up:

  • Not surprisingly, there's lots of chatter about Obama's opportunity to make good on old promises and heal the partisan divide. But he's also got issues abroad, says a Washington Post editorial. He'll have to "ensure that gains in Afghanistan and Iraq are not erased in the aftermath of US troop withdrawals," and now's his chance to make amends with Syria.

  • Holman W. Jenkins says what Obama will do in the next four years is "an almost comic mystery." The economy has a good chance of rebounding, he writes in the Wall Street Journal, but that would have happened no matter who took office. "He can still be a consequential president," he writes, but not if "the bond market loses confidence" in his ability to crack down on spending.
  • Obama won't have much time to sip champagne before he has to make decisions that could "define priorities that will shape the rest of his presidency," writes Peter Baker in the New York Times. For one, the looming financial cliff and automatic tax increases will have to be dealt with, and Iran's nuclear program demands prompt attention.
  • That approaching fiscal cliff (T-minus 54 days) isn't going to be easy to deal with. A still-deadlocked congress means the beginning of a long "stare-down" on financial issues, write Jake Sherman and Manu Raju for Politico. By February, Congress has to raise the borrowing limit and update government reimbursement for docs who care for Medicare patients.
  • Obama's also got some jobs to fill, with both Hillary Clinton and Tim Geithner saying they'll be stepping down this term, reports MercuryNews.com. There may also be spots opening up on the graying Supreme Court.
  • Though it rarely came up during his reelection campaign, climate change is harder for Obama to ignore in the wake of Sandy. He briefly brought it up in his victory speech this morning, but environmentalists are hungry for more, reports the Huffington Post. Not everyone's holding out hope, though. Says one activist: "if we're going to get anything done, we're going to have to make him do it."

President Obama pauses as he speaks at the election night party at McCormick Place in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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