Obama poised for four more years of limited room for manoeuvre
Obama would begin a second term not having to worry about re-election, which in theory should allow him to be bolder than during his first term. A narrow victory over Romney and an enduring Republican majority in the House could, however, limit the president’s room for manoeuvre so that any deal he strikes with Congress is more likely to be on Republican than on Democratic terms.
A re-elected Obama will enjoy a window of about 18 months of undiminished authority before his presidency enters its lame duck phase and political allies and opponents alike start looking to his possible successors.
The president, who once famously compared himself to basketball star LeBron James, is not only one of the most confident but also one of the most intellectually gifted and eloquent men ever to occupy the White House. Unfortunately, as former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan noted in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, his confidence has shown itself to be more of a hindrance than a help to his ambitions in government.
“Because he had so much confidence, he thought whatever he did would work. He thought he had ‘a gift’, as he is said to have told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He thought he had a special ability to sway the American people, or so he suggested to House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor,” she wrote.
“But whenever he went over the the heads of the media and Congress and went to the people, in prime-time addresses, it didn’t really work. He did not have a magical ability to sway. And – oddly – he didn’t seem to notice. It is one thing to think you’re LeBron. Its another thing to keep missing the basket and losing games and still think you’re LeBron.”
Denis Staunton is Deputy Editor