Ross K. Baker: History Lessons for Obama in His Second TermRoundup: Media's Take
Ross K. Baker is a political science professor at Rutgers University and a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors.
Of the 43 men who have served as president, only 16 have been granted a second term. The voters who awarded the fortunate ones with an extended lease on the White House chose them for any number of reasons ranging from greater personal appeal to the incumbent's agenda, or satisfaction with the incumbent's performance.
In President Obama's case, it was a combination of all three. But Obama should look back on history for what might lie ahead. Second-term presidents who planned excessively bold agendas based on perceived mandates, or on freedom from the constraints of having to run for re-election, have stumbled badly.
In fact, the goals of re-elected incumbents rarely comport with what ultimately takes place in the second term. Often, events — rather than anything in the winner's playbook — can take unpredictable directions....
comments powered by Disqus
- Jewish history is under siege in the middle east and these volunteers are risking their lives to protect it
- 'Amazon should stop selling Holocaust denial books'
- National Museum of African American History and Culture Reaches Milestone of 1 Million Visitors
- What Makes a President Great? Clipping? Sipping? Slashing?
- Carla Hayden says Frederick Douglass "might have a lot to do with the fact that I am a librarian”
- Historian and Antiwar Activist Marilyn Young Dies at 79
- Trump Chooses Historian H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser
- Holocaust Historian Deborah Lipstadt Explains Why People Believe Trump's Lies
- Princeton’s Harold James warns World War Three is now a "serious threat”
- Israeli schools' history lessons create good soldiers, says pundit