Skip to comments.Dick Morris: How Second Terms Fail
Posted on 01/19/2005 2:14:35 PM PST by RWR8189
PRESIDENTIAL second terms usually end in fail ure. Since 1900, only Teddy Roosevelt could boast of a second term that was as good or better than his first. Woodrow Wilson lost Congress, then couldn't bring America into the League of Nations. FDR, whose third term was a success, failed to pass anything in his second after he alienated Congress by trying to pack the Supreme Court and purge recalcitrant Democrats. Harry Truman's popularity plunged over Korea, as Lyndon Johnson's did over Vietnam. Ike had two recessions and a hospitalization. Richard Nixon resigned. Ronald Reagan had Iran-Contra, and Bill Clinton was impeached.
The reasons for second-term failure are pretty much the same: Presidents generally do what they are good at in their first four years, then spend their second term responding to the agendas imposed upon them by events. Plus, re-election itself tends to encourage a spirit of hubris even as top staff typically depart in search of lucrative jobs, leaving second stringers in charge.
But President Bush has gotten off to a very good start in the weeks since Election Day. Palestine is lurching toward peace. North Korea seems likely to return to six-power talks. Iraq will hold an election, with turnout likely exceeding our own. Ukraine has opted for democracy. And the tsunami has kindled a global spirit of cooperation and unity unlike anything since 9/11.
But Bush has clearly signaled that he will not devote the next four years as he has the past three exclusively to fighting the War on Terror. While not planning to let up the pressure on our enemies, he plans to tackle the two most difficult tasks in American politics: Social Security and income-tax reform. Only Reagan succeeded in the latter; nobody has ever done both.
President Bush's hope of
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To call Reagan's second term a failure is ridiculous. He had problems with Iran Contra but probably could have been reelected in 88 (as might Clinton have been in 2000)
I'm pretty confident that Bush will have a successful 2nd term as long as he stays to the right.
John Gibson on Fox - just asked Geraldine Ferraro if the Democrats were going to act like Barbara Boxer or Diane Feinstein. She just keeps repeating that the Dems have to elect a Chair of the DNC and get more Dems elected.
So they have no intention of working with President Bush for the next 4 years. They are only dedicated to getting back political power.
No ideas, no new solutions - same ol' same ol' what a shame for the USA.
Ike, Nixon, and the Gipper didn't have conservative talk radio, Fox News, and (most important) Free Republic along with the rest of the Internet. But Clinton did (hehehehehe).
Neither party EVER has any intention of "working with" the other party. The only people who don't know this are the Washington press corps.
I'd say Reagan's term was a failure. He retreated on taxes, Iran-Contra, and basically slept through the term. I love the guy but the truth is his second term was largely a failure.
OH NO! You mean we're going have to get things done without their help???? Gosh its like repeating the LAST 4 years!
Morris needs a fix. Anybody got some toes?
Sounds like a success.
Complaining about clinton again?!?
I forget....did Morris fail in Clinton's first term, or his second?
Ronald Reagan had Iran-ContraTo sum up Reagan's second term with these words is a very stupid thing to do.
With all due respect, in his second term he passed the major tax reform bill that resulted in fewer tax brackets in return for eliminating most tax shelters. That was the closest we came to a flat tax. Also, he gave the "tear down that wall" speech. I just don't see the failure.
I'm with you on this - I just don't think it's reasonable to expect a president to go full flank ahead reforming the country for eight straight years. Political battles take time and energy, and eight years of them has got to be a lot to take.
That's pretty clear. The tear down the wall speech was great, but it wasn't a magic summons. The tax situation isn't as you say, though, and rather than get into a big debate over it I'll just let you believe as you do. Iran Contra, deficits, bloated government and more contradict that view, though.
Yeah, but you have to accomplish something to be a good President in both terms. The second term, as I recall, he put in a tax 'compromise' that was really a tax increase.
I like Reagan, too, but I don't remember his second term being really productive for conservatives. Certainly not like the first two years were.
Dick Morris: How self-obsessed pundits get overblown in the media.