Obama's Agenda: The Challenges of a Second Term
Publication Year: 2014
Soon after winning reelection, presidents are seen as lame ducks. Why are second terms so unkind to their winners? In Obama's Agenda: The Challenges of a Second Term, author Kenneth Jost offers readers an issues-focused narrative that assesses Obama's ability to move his second-term agenda in a highly partisan environment in Washington. From the rollout of Obamacare, to the sluggish economy, to efforts to reform immigration policy, to unrest in the Middle East, Obama's track record since his second inauguration does not portend big wins for his second term. And if history is our guide, the 2014 midterm elections are unlikely to change the balance of power on Capitol Hill. Jost offers needed context and analysis, yet draws in readers with a vivid look at ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Obama's Second-Term Blues
- The Reality of Second Terms
- Partisanship on Capitol Hill
- “It's the Economy”
- Joblessness Points to Slow Recovery
- Public Sector Job Losses Drag on the Economy
- Health Care Prognosis Uncertain
- Important Provisions on Time Delay
- Continued Opposition to the Law
- Immigration Reform in Limbo
- The Bipartisan Gang of Eight
- Senate Passage, but Dim Prospects in the House
- Washington Climate Changing?
- The Demise of Cap-and-Trade
- Environmental Policy Through the Executive Branch
- Gay Rights Victory
- The Case Against DOMA
- The Impact of the Supreme Court's Ruling
- War Against al Qaeda
- Controversy Over Drone Strikes
- Snowden and NSA Surveillance
- Strife in the Middle East
- Crisis in Egypt
- Civil War in Syria
- Mideast Peace Talks
- Obama's Trip to Israel Sets the Stage
- But a Chill with Respect to Russia and China
- Time Running Out?
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About the Author
1 Michael D. Shear and Peter Baker, “Obama Focuses on Economy, Vowing to Help Middle Class,” The New York Times, July 25, 2013, p. A1, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/25/us/politics/obama-to-restate-economic-vision-at-knox-college.html.
2 “Obama's Fourth Year Ties as Most Polarized Ever,” Gallup, Jan. 24, 2013, http://www.gallup.com/poll/160097/obama-fourth-year-office-ties-polarized-ever.aspx.
3 See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghsib73XSsc (Boehner).
4 Glenn Thrush, “Does President Obama Have a Second-Term Strategy?,” Politico, July 17, 2013, http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/gridlock-barack-obama-presidency-second-term-94289.html.
5 Jim Kuhnhen, “Immigration Mired, Early Term II Wins Elude Obama,” The Associated Press, July 12, 2013.
6 Jonathan Allen, “5 Takeaways from Barack Obama's Press Conference,” Politico, Aug. 9, 2013, http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/5-takeaways-from-barack-obamas-press-conference-95412.html.
[Page 32]7 http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy (accessed August 2013).
8 David Rogers and Mike Allen, “Bush Announces $17.4 Billion Auto Bailout,” Politico, Dec. 19, 2008, http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1208/16740.html.
9 Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney, “Should the United States Have 2.2 Million More Jobs?,” The Hamilton Project (Brookings Institution), May 3, 2013, http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/jobs/posts/2013/05/03-government-employment-greenstone-looney, cited in Catherine Rampell, “Job Growth Is Sluggish, but Rate Falls to 7.4%,” The New York Times, Aug. 3, 2013, p. B1, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/03/business/economy/us-adds-162000-jobs-less-than-expected.html. The Great Recession is officially dated by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private organization, as beginning in December 2007 and ending in June 2009.
10 Bureau of Labor Statistics, (n.d.), accessed August 2013, http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet.
11 Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Unemployment Rate—U-6,” accessed August 2013, http://portalseven.com/employment/unemployment_rate_u6.jsp?fromYear=1994&toYear=2013.
12 See Bureau of Economic Analysis website: http://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm#gdp.
13 “The House GOP Economic Plan for Growth and Jobs,” accessed August 2013, http://www.gop.gov/jobs/.
14 Greenstone and Looney, “Should the United States.” See also Floyd Norris, “The Lagging Public Sector,” Economix (blog), The New York Times, July 5, 2013, http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/05/the-lagging-public-sector/?_r=0.
15 Quoted in Shear and Baker, “Obama Focuses;” Scott Wilson, “In economy roadshow, Obama focuses on avoiding setbacks,” The Washington Post, July 26, 2013, p. A2.
16 See “Interview with President Obama” (transcript), The New York Times online, July 28, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/us/politics/interview-with-president-obama.html. The interview was conducted on July 24 by reporters Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear.
17 Quoted in Dan Popkey, “In Idaho, Boehner vows to succeed with entitlement reform this fall,” Idaho Statesman, Aug. 27, 2013, http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/08/27/2728135/in-idaho-boehner-vows-to-succeed.html.
18 For background, see Marcia Clemmitt, “Assessing the New Health Care Law,” CQ Researcher, Sept. 21, 2012.
19 The decision is National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. — (2012), http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf. For coverage, see Kenneth Jost, Supreme Court Yearbook 2011–2012.
20 “Health Insurance Exchanges and State Decisions,” Health Policy Briefs, Health Affairs, July 18, 2013, http://www.healthaffairs.org/healthpolicybriefs/brief.php?brief_id=96.
21 See “Beyond the Pledges: Where the States Stand on Medicaid,” The Daily Briefing, The Advisory Board, July 26, 2013, http://www.advisory.com/Daily-Briefing/Resources/Primers/MedicaidMap.
22 Quoted in Robert Pear, “Tight Deadlines and Lagging Funds Bedevil Obama Health Care Law,” The New York Times, March 22, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/23/us/politics/deadlines-and-lagging-funds-bedevil-obama-health-care-law.html.
23 “Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: June 2013,” Kaiser Family Foundation, June 19, 2013, http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-june-2013.
24 Quoted in Greg Sargent, “How to Win the War Over Obamacare,” The Plum Line (blog), Washington Post, Aug. 7, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/08/07/how-to-win-the-war-over-obamacare.
[Page 33]25 Jenna Johnson, “House Votes to Alter Health-Care Law,” The Washington Post, July 18, 2013, p. A6. For a complete analysis of the House votes on Obamacare, see Glenn Kessler, “Harry Reid's Claim That House GOP Efforts to Repeal ‘Obamacare’ all ended in failure,” The Fact Checker (blog), Washington Post, July 16, 2013.
26 For examples of polls, see Micah Cohen, “What Does the Public Support in Obama's Second Inaugural Speech?,” 538 (blog), New York Times, Jan., 22, 2013.
27 David Nakamura, “Senators to Unveil Path to Citizenship,” The Washington Post, April 16, 2013, p. A1; Sean Sullivan, “Obama Pledges to Do ‘Whatever It Takes’ to Pass Immigration Reform,” The Fix (blog), Washington Post, April 16, 2013. See also Julia Preston, “Beside a Path to Citizenship, a New Course for Immigration,” The New York Times, April 17, 2013, p. A10, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/us/senators-set-to-unveil-immigration-bill.html.
28 Ed O'Keefe, “Senate Approves Immigration Bill,” The Washington Post, June 28, 2013, p. A1.
29 Quoted in John M. Broder, “Obama Affirms Climate Change Goals,” The New York Times Nov. 19, 2008, p. A4.
30 “Coal Mining,” “Oil and Gas,” and “Electric Utilities,” in Influence & Lobbying, http://OpenSecrets.org, http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/induscode.php?id=E1210&year=, http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?id=E01&year=2010, http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?id=E08&year=.
31 Erica Martinson and Jennifer Epstein, “Where's President Obama's Climate Agenda?” Politico, May 25, 2013, http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/obama-climate-change-agenda-91877.html.
32 Quoted in Juliet Eilperin, “Boehner Thinks New White House Climate Rules Would Be ‘Crazy.’ But Obama May Not Have a Choice,” The Fix (blog), Washington Post, June 20, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/06/20/boehner-thinks-new-white-house-climate-rules-would-be-crazy-but-obama-may-not-have-a-choice.
33 See “Public Support for Climate and Energy Policies in April 2013,” Yale Project on Climate Change Communication/George Mason University Project on Climate Change Communication, April 2013, http://www.climatechangecommunication.org/sites/default/files/reports/Climate-Policy-Support-April-2013.pdf.
34 Kate Sheppard, “Obama: ‘We Don't Have Time for a Meeting of the Flat Earth Society,’” The Atlantic, June 25, 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/06/obama-we-dont-have-time-for-a-meeting-of-the-flat-earth-society/277222.
35 See Mark Landler and John M. Broder, “Obama Unveils New Plans to Address Climate Change,” The New York Times, June 26, 2013, p. A17, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/us/politics/obama-plan-to-cut-greenhouse-gases.html; “Portman Opposes Effort to Raise Electricity Prices in Ohio,” June 25, 2013, http://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=d8b915ea-490d-473d-b132-133d32c602d9.
36 See Juliet Eilperin, “In Second Term, Obama Becomes Bolder on Environment,” The Washington Post, Aug. 11, 2013, p. A3.
37 The cases are United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. — (2013), http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_6j37.pdf; and Hollingsworth v. Perry, 570 U.S. — (2013), http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-144_80k0.pdf. For accounts, see Kenneth Jost, Supreme Court Yearbook 2012–2013 (forthcoming).
38 See Micah Cohen, “Gay Vote Proved a Boon for Obama,” The New York Times, Nov. 16, 2012, p. A21, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/16/us/politics/gay-vote-seen-as-crucial-in-obamas-victory.html?hp.
[Page 34]39 See Chris Geidner, “Social Security Payments Limited to Same-Sex Married Couples Living in States That Recognize Marriage Equality,” BuzzFeed, Aug. 9, 2013, http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/social-security-payments-to-same-sex-married-couples-limited. See also “After DOMA: Social Security and Family Protections,” Lambda Legal, http://www.lambdalegal.org/publications/after-doma-social-security (updated Aug. 9, 2013).
40 See Jeffrey M. Jones, “Support for Same-Sex Marriage Solidifies Above 50% in U.S.,” Gallup, May 13, 2013, http://www.gallup.com/poll/162398/sex-marriage-support-solidifies-above.aspx; Susan Page, “Same-Sex Marriage at Record Approval,” USA Today, July 2, 2013, p. 1A.
41 See “Al Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula,” National Counterterrorism Center, accessed August 2013, http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/aqap.html. See also Gregory Johnsen, The Last Refuge: Yemen, al Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia (W.W. Norton, 2012).
42 Quoted in Eric Schmitt, “Qaeda Messages Prompt U.S. Terror Warning,” The New York Times, Aug. 3, 2013, p. A1, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/03/world/middleeast/qaeda-messages-prompt-us-terror-warning.html.
43 See New America Foundation, http://yemendrones.newamerica.net/(Yemen), http://natsec.newamerica.net/drones/pakistan/analysis (Pakistan).
44 PBS NewsHour, Aug. 6, 2013, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/terrorism/july-dec13/yemen2_08-06.html.
45 Quoted in Mark Mazetti and Mark Landler, “Despite Administration Promises, Few Signs of Change in Drone Wars,” The New York Times, Aug. 3, 2013, p. A4, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/03/us/politics/drone-war-rages-on-even-as-administration-talks-about-ending-it.html.
46 Quoted in Juliet Eilperin, “Obama Defends Broad Surveillance,” The Washington Post, June 18, 2013, p. A6.
47 Jon Cohen and Dan Balz, “Most Think Agency Infringes on Rights,” The Washington Post, July 25, 2013, p. A3.
48 See Charlie Savage and Michael D. Shear, “President Moves to Ease Worries on Surveillance,” The New York Times, Aug. 10, 2013, p. A1.
49 Karen DeYoung and Scott Clement, “U.S. Support for Afghan War Plunges to New Low,” The Washington Post, July 27, 2013, p. A3.
50 Carney quoted in Peter Baker, “Assistance to Continue for Now, U.S. Says,” The New York Times, July 9, 2013, p. A9, http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/obama-administration-rules-out-suspension-of-aid-to-egypt-in-near-term/; Leahy, McCain quoted in Juliet Eilperin, “U.S. Choices on Egypt: A Rock or a Hard Place,” The Fix (blog), The Washington Post, July 10, 2013.
51 Quoted in Mark Landler, “Aid to Egypt Can Keep Flowing Legally, Despite Overthrow, U.S. Decides,” The New York Times, July 26, 2013, p. A10, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/world/middleeast/aid-to-egypt-can-keep-flowing-despite-overthrow-white-house-decides.html.
52 See Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan, “U.S. to Scale Up Military Support for Syria Rebels,” The Washington Post, June 14, 2013, p. A1.
53 Micah Zenko, “Obama's ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Syria Strategy,” Foreign Policy, June 25, 2013, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/25/obamas_alice_in_wonderland_syria_strategy.
54 Karen DeYoung, “Intelligence Panels Approve Arms Aid to Syrian Opposition,” The Washington Post, July 23, 2013, p. A4.
[Page 35]55 Brianna Kielar, Jessica Yellin, and Tom Cohen, “Obama to Move Forward with Plan to Arm Syrian Rebels,” http://CNN.com, July 23, 2013, http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/23/politics/us-syrian-rebels.
56 President Obama summarized the events in a nationwide address on Sept. 10. See “Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on Syria,” http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/09/10/remarks-president-address-nation-syria. U.S. and foreign news media covered the events intensively throughout the period.
57 Quoted in Michael R. Gordon and Isabel Kershner, “Talks Begin on Mideast, To Doubts on All Sides,” The New York Times, July 30, 2013, p. A4, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/30/world/middleeast/kerry-appoints-veteran-diplomat-to-manage-mideast-talks.html.
58 Background drawn in part from Matti Friedman, “Reversing Policy of First Term, Obama Says No Preconditions to Talks,” The Times of Israel, March 21, 2013, http://www.timesofisrael.com/reversing-policy-of-first-term-obama-says-no-preconditions-to-talks/.
59 See Jackie Calmes and Steven Lee Myers, “Divisions Aside, U.S. and China Moving Closer,” The New York Times, June 9, 2013, p. A1, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/world/asia/obama-and-xi-try-building-a-new-model-for-china-us-ties.html.
60 Quoted in Susan Page, “Beware of Second-Term Disasters,” USA Today, Jan. 15, 2013, p. 1A.
61 Jeff Zeleny, “Four More Years, Yes, but It's the First One That Really Counts,” The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2013, p. A12, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/us/politics/the-first-year-of-the-second-term-is-key-for-obama.html.
62 John Harwood, “History Says Obama, in Second Term, Has Time Yet to Make Impact,” The New York Times, July 13, 2013, p. A13, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/13/us/obama-second-term-scorecard-in-a-historical-light.html.