Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

June 24 (Bloomberg) — There are two widely discussed scenarios that could unfold in Washington this summer.

The first, embraced by the White House and some Democrats, is upbeat: The immigration bill passes the Senate with a big margin, making it almost impossible for House Republicans to resist; more people start signing up for President Barack Obama’s health-care law, and even though no fiscal grand bargain is in the offing, an improving economy gives the president a stronger hand in dealing with Republicans on extending the debt ceiling and on spending bills.

The so-called scandals recede: It becomes clear there was no political interference with the Internal Revenue Service, and the other controversies don’t resonate. The Middle East is still a cauldron, but it hasn’t gotten worse, and the administration’s pivot to Asia seems sensible.

The second sequence of events, foreseen by many Republicans and a few Democrats, is more dire: The once bright hopes for an immigration bill this year slip amid the usual petty partisanship; all other legislation and appointments are stalled, and an ugly fight over the debt ceiling rattles markets and hampers the economy.

Interest in the health-care exchanges remains lackadaisical as insurance premiums increase in anticipation of the law taking effect. An investigation of the IRS controversy by the Justice Department lacks credibility and the scandal persists.

In Syria and Iran, either the U.S. becomes embroiled in dangerous confrontations or Obama is seen as a feckless wimp. Republicans are licking their chops about winning control of the Senate next year and increasing their majority in the House, making the final Obama years a nightmare of recrimination, investigations and veto fights.

Obama, who prides himself on taking the long view and not getting caught up in the passions of the moment, rejects the notion of such make-or-break moments. Only a little more than 10 percent of the second term is complete.

Yet it isn’t unusual to establish a framework for success or failure of U.S. presidencies by the end of the first summer of the second term.

Eight years ago, George W. Bush’s post-re-election high hopes were dashed by Labor Day after an ill-considered effort to overhaul Social Security, a botched response to Hurricane Katrina and an increasingly discredited war in Iraq.

Two decades earlier, Ronald Reagan, despite the subsequent Iran-Contra debacle, set the benchmark for success: He was guided by Treasury Secretary Jim Baker on the domestic front, and a sweeping tax reform measure was on course. In foreign policy, Secretary of State George Shultz, working privately with First Lady Nancy Reagan, was taking control of a more measured, less bellicose approach.

  • Sand_Cat

    It’s a bit late to start worrying about his “legacy.”
    He allowed the Republicans to drag his name through the mud while mopping up the floor with his face in the Senate, laughed and made derisive jokes about those of us who voted for “change we can believe in” and didn’t get it, let stand almost all of George W. Bush’s grotesque abuses of executive power (and now has to bear the burden when they are “discovered” by the Republicans who supported all of them when it was W), sold out the environmentalists who supported him, and generally made far more of a mess of things (or at least allowed others to do so) than I thought possible for a man who I still believe to be intelligent, caring, and more honest than just about anyone else in either party. He has some genuine achievements, most of them well-watered down in my opinion, but still better than the opposition has had for a very long time, and he so far has managed to keep us out of war with Iran and Syria, though it looks like he’s been working behind the scenes to prepare the way. Let’s hope those accomplishments endure more than all the lies and slander from the moral pygmies and all his failures to stand up for the things for which we voted him into office in the first place.

  • Dominick Vila

    President Obama outstanding record of accomplishments during his first term, ranging from the desperately needed Affordable Care Act, to Lillie Ledbetter, putting in place policies to overcome the effects of the failed Republican economic policies that resulted in the worst recession since the Great Depression, turning net job losses into gains, turning around the real estate market, finding and ending Osama bin Laden, withdrawing from Iraq where we should have never gone, ending the war in Afghanistan with dignity, a focus on veteran’s affairs and well being, and restoring our international credibility are among some of his undisputable accomplishments, regardless of how hard the Tea Party tries to demonize them.
    In spite of all the obstructionism and determination to distort his record, his second term agenda is likely to produce an unusual second term record of accomplishments. Needless to say, the GOP will do everything in their power to block progress, even when doing so defies evidence available to every American and is likely to harm our well being and national security.

    • Wanda Davidson

      like Charles replied I’m in shock that a student able to make $6424 in 4 weeks on the computer. did you look at this web page w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • Catskinner

    The presidents legacy has already been determined by the scandals of Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA, Fast and Furious and the manor in which he conducted his election campaign.

    • Dominick Vila

      Benghazi is no different from the attacks carried out against 12 U.S. diplomatic missions when W was in office. Even Issa backed off the IRS charade when he learned that the IRS manager that was investigating false claims in Tea Party tax exempt applications was a conservative Republican. the activities that have been and continue to be conducted by the NSA, the CIA and FBI are consistent with the tenets of the Patriot Act and are designed to strengthen our national security. Short of making it easy for terrorists, no viable alternative has been offered to date. Fast and Furious was a sting operation designed to find out who was behind the sale of weapons to Mexican drug traffickers. While it may be true that the program was badly mismanaged, its biggest problem is that our agents got too close to finding who was responsible for the sale of weapons to Mexican criminals and for the out of control violence that prevailed along our Southern border in recent years.

    • silence dogood

      The only difference between Nixon and Obama is when Obama declares “I am not a crook,” he will be reading from a teleprompter.

      • Catskinner

        Yeah, that’s probably too many words for him to remember.

        • Sand_Cat

          Yeah, you two morons keep dreaming.

        • Sand_Cat

          Man, that’s rich! An ignorant pea-brain like you claiming an intelligent, educated, and thoughtful man like Obama can’t remember a sentence.

      • Sand_Cat

        If it happens, there will be many other differences you and the other morons try to ignore, but one in particluar: Obama will be telling the truth.

        • silence dogood

          Get help rewriting this so it is cogent.

    • Sand_Cat

      These are all manufactured scandals:the NSA stuff has been going on at least since Bush, Fast and Furious was a Bush initiative amplified by a lot of right-wing bullshit – not surprisingly cited by you – Benghazi is pure bullshit, and no one was harmed by the IRS “scandal,” apparently run by a conservative Republican, and occurring during the tenure of the Bush-appointed head of the agency. But of course, since you feed on and are unable to produce anything but lies, these “scandals” determine Obama’s legacy in your “mind,” and if they don’t work, you’ll have to make up more.

      • Catskinner

        No, they’re real scandals. You’ll see as they develop…

        • Sand_Cat

          Keep telling yourself that.

  • Allan Richardson

    One thing that would endear him to the white male over 50 football fan crowd would be to send the Seal Teams to steal back that Super Bowl ring that Putin stole. And that group of voters would not care about the risk to our men, only about our “honor.” Of course, if it failed (Russia having much better defenses than Pakistan), then …