After getting elected to his first term President Obama overreached and created a reaction that led to a massive conservative surge in 2010. I thought that this surge would continue in 2012, but the GOP did not appear able to take advantage of very clear Obama weaknesses. Despite this the GOP kept its Congressional majority and expanded its presence at the state level around the country. From a conservative point of view I liken Obama’s 2012 victroy to the second installment of the Star Wars trillogy entilted “The Empire Strikes Back.” Srtar Wars’ fans are aware that the empire’s response to the initial rebellion was not the last word and the rebels finally won the day. If Victor Davis Hanson is right in this PJ Media’s article, Obama’s 2012 victroy is not the decisvive victroy over the direction of the country that some might think:
A rule of the modern age: all confident, reelected presidents trip up in the second term. LBJ was sunk by Vietnam. Reagan faced Iran-Contra. Bill Clinton had his comeuppance with Monica. George W. Bush was overwhelmed with the Iraqi insurgency and Katrina. And Obama will have his as well, obsequious media or not.
Supposedly fundamental partisan swings of an era usually prove transitory: LBJ’s landside led to Nixon four years later, whose landslide then led to Carter in 1980, whose supposed new politics of humility and apology led to Reagan, whose small government-paradigm shift nonetheless by 1992 gave us Clinton, whose “middle way” after only eight years gave us Bush, whose “compassionate conservative realignment” ended with Obama. And so on until the end of the republic.
Why these second-term reckonings? Partly, presidential hubris leads to a natural correction, as Nemesis kicks in; partly, one can dodge mishaps for four years, but the odds catch up after eight; and partly, the media and voters grow tired of a monotonous presidential voice, appearance, and manner, and want change for the sake of change. To the degree a president walks softly, understands his second-term dilemma, and reaches out, he is less vulnerable.
But Obama either has misread his reelection as a mandate (e.g., Republicans maintained control of the House and the majority of state governorships and legislatures; Obama, unlike most second-term presidents, received fewer votes than in 2008, fewer in fact then John McCain received), or he believes that his progressive legacy lies in ramming through change by any means necessary to obtain results that are neither possible through legislative compromise nor supported by majorities of the American people.
Obama is in the process of overreaching in his second term just like he did in his first term:
In short, this is the time when a careful Obama should be calling for bipartisan implementation of the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission, redoing a Gingrich-Clinton compromise, seeking non-polarizing appointments of the Panetta/Gates sort, and cooling his presidential partisan rhetoric.
Unfortunately, he had done the opposite, and so a reckoning is on the near horizon. Let us pray it does not take us all down with his administration.
Yes, the empire has struck back, but we the forces of conservatism may yet win the day if we keep our wits and avoid hysteria. We need to keep focused on 2014 nd make it a replay of 2010.