By Jeff Greenfield
Poor Barack Obama. After fighting and spending his way to a close but clear re-election, he’s doomed to four years of agony thanks to that “second-term” curse, which afflicts just about every president who has had the misfortune to win another four years.
The litany appears compelling: the martyred Lincoln; Grant mired in scandal; FDR suffering big political setbacks; Nixon’s disgrace; Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal; Clinton’s impeachment; George W. Bush’s collapsing popularity. A second term sounds so unappealing, it’s almost surprising Obama didn’t ask for a recount.
Except, there are two things worth remembering about this “curse.” First, it doesn’t really afflict every second-term president. Second, for many presidents, the woes are rooted in actions and decisions taken during the first term—which raises a dicey question about what might come to afflict this president.
Theodore Roosevelt was enormously popular throughout his “second” term (his “first” term wasRead More »from Second verse, same as the first: Why Obama’s second term isn’t cursed