June 7, 2014
Isolated Obama stumbles as he tries to set the agenda (Paul Lewis, 6/07/14, The Observer)
In the space of a few days, he launched a new foreign policy doctrine, dispatched an embattled secretary of veterans' affairs, secured the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a soldier in Taliban captivity whom he swapped for five Guantánamo Bay detainees, and unveiled historic cuts to pollution.That probably makes the past fortnight the most eventful of Obama's second term. But it has also been one of his most calamitous. All four steps were intended to show a president taking control of the agenda. Yet each move either backfired or provided ammunition to critics constructing a narrative of a White House under siege.Professor Stephen Wayne, an expert on the American presidency from Georgetown University, says it is "par for the course" for presidents in their second term to stumble then hunker down in the White House. In recent times, he says, only Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton have bucked that trend.But the 44th president appears especially isolated, as though he has given up trying to forge alliances on Capitol Hill. "President Obama has a lot of strong points, but social interaction with people he doesn't know is not one of them," says Wayne.
Although, in fairness, Carter got to this point in just one term.Posted by Orrin Judd at June 7, 2014 11:02 AM