Obama Now Faces the '2nd-Term Curse'

Ever since George Washington, it's been a tough 4 years

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 8, 2012 9:23 AM CST

(Newser) – The election is in the bag, but the fight isn't over for President Obama. Now he must fend off the so-called "second-term curse" that has dogged presidents from George Washington to George W, writes Adam Clymer in the New York Times. Washington faced protests over a post-Revolutionary War treaty with Britain; FDR proposed the much-derided "court-packing bill" and brought on a recession; Ronald Reagan had Iran-Contra. Among the reasons for the "curse": Presidents offer their key ideas when first in office, and they often don't have a "new set" for the second term, an expert says.

Presidents also tend to have their best staffs on hand when they enter office; some of these aides leave, as looks to be the case with Obama. What's more, a president's notion that he has a "mandate" can lead him to take on projects he can't complete (see: Bush's futile attempt to privatize Social Security). But it's not all doom and gloom in the second term: Dwight Eisenhower, for instance, maintained peace with the Soviet Union and sent troops to Little Rock to ensure school desegregation came to pass. For Obama, the big question is what he can achieve with a divided Washington and a media that's quick to jump on perceived failures. Click through for the full piece.

Mexican newspapers carry front page photos and stories about the US presidential election and President Barack Obama's re-election, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.
Mexican newspapers carry front page photos and stories about the US presidential election and President Barack Obama's re-election, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.   (AP Photo)
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