Skip to comments.There Has Never Been A Good Second Term (Dubya is No Exception)
Posted on 11/28/2005 8:25:51 AM PST by SirLinksalot
There Has Never Been a Good Second Term
Caspar Weinberger, 12.12.05, 12:00 AM ET
This is one of those myths that takes root in the minds of various columnists and "thinkers" and is repeated so often that the mere frequency of the repetition seems to make it true. The fact is, there have been several Presidents who have had good second terms.
George Washington, most historians agree, would have been reelected to a third term had he wanted one. The few internal disputes that occurred during his second term were nothing that would have put off the voters. But Washington, sensible and modest as always, vastly preferred to return to Mount Vernon.
Grover Cleveland was initially, as they say, "counted out" for a second term. However, his first term had gone so well that voters, after electing Benjamin Harrison, returned Cleveland to the White House for a second four years. Available data show no disasters in his second term as President.
Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were both killed by assassins' bullets. Lincoln, who was reelected, barely began his second term. Kennedy wasn't even allowed to serve out his first, yet his appeal was so strong it's generally agreed that a majority of the voters would have reelected him.
Not only did Franklin Roosevelt not have a bad second term, he was even elected to a third and fourth. FDR's problem was that he kept getting reelected so often that a constitutional amendment on presidential term limits was passed.
President Ronald Reagan's second term couldn't be called bad--except by those voters who failed to believe that anyone who violated conventional wisdom so often could be good for anything. Reagan had one or two assistants who couldn't remember that they hadn't been elected President--or anything else--but they weren't around long during his second term.
Why President Bush? So what is it about President George W. Bush that has led to the title of this column's becoming a mantra? It's as if second-term success has so infuriated writers and "sub-experts" that they virtually foam at the mouth when the President's name is mentioned. Some of this response stems from the opposition's inability to defeat Bush in 2004. But it also comes from the fact that Bush's violation of conventional wisdom seems to work--the economy is strong and his latest appointments have generally received high praise.
Also we have at long last a comprehensive energy bill that will encourage energy production from solar and nuclear sources. The fact that this bill promotes the use of energy sources other than environmentally harmful fossil fuels is a clear plus for the Administration.
Now that we are nearly a year into the President's second term, just how strong is our economy? The answer is in the numbers. The GDP grew 3.8% in the third quarter. This is the tenth consecutive quarterly increase of above 3%. As noted by Washington Times columnist Gary Andres on Nov. 3, it is the longest streak of consistent growth since World War II. Reuters on the same day also noted that business productivity surged in the third quarter and said that other indexes are equally good. On Nov. 4 the government's new employment figures showed that 56,000 new jobs had been created in October. That means more than 4.2 million new jobs have been created since May 2003. The current unemployment average of 5% is lower than averages in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and inflation has remained tame.
All this is positive economic news, yet most of what we read or hear today are the stories that manage to emphasize whatever bad news the press can find. If, however, the test, as we used to be told, is "it's the economy, stupid," then President Bush's second term is a clear success.
And, despite an eloquent plea by Representative John Murtha (D--Pa.), for whom I have the greatest respect and with whom I worked closely in rebuilding the power and strength of our armed forces, the House correctly set to rest the adoption of Murtha's call for the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, a call that attracted only three votes. We must stay the President's course.
Whither the Rest of the GOP? President Bush has had the political courage to push for the long-needed full-fledged reform of Social Security, but many GOP House and Senate members have not exhibited similar courage on this or some other issues. In an editorial entitled "Republican Self-Defeat" the Wall Street Journal named 25 GOP House members who had demanded that a provision allowing oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be stripped from a GOP-proposed budget bill. The House had already voted five times since 2001 to allow oil exploration in the ANWR. And although prices continue to soar, this same crowd also opposes drilling for natural gas on the Outer Continental Shelf.
This puts some of the GOP in the curious and unwelcome position of insisting on policies that won't allow the drilling that could lower oil prices, while refusing to continue what the Journal correctly calls the President's "wildly successful tax cuts."
President Bush is having a very successful second term, and, as the participation of the Iraqis increases, it warrants President Reagan's remark to critics some time ago, that this term is "not bad, not bad at all."
"it is the longest streak of consistent growth since World War II"
The Panic of 1893 hit soon after Cleveland began his second term, and he became very unpopular because of the severe depression which the country suffered through for several years. The election of 1894 was one of the great turn-arounds in US political history: the House of Representatives went from having a 218-127 Democratic majority to having a 244-105 Republican majority. The Republicans also recaptured the Senate. (There were a few seats held by third-party members.)
I belive this article is true. So whats the problem then? Its Bush's PR, which is atrocious. In this town, perception is reality and Bush needs to continue what he started this month and come out fighting and campaigning.
We need to kill this myth.
He was in office a little more than 2 and half years.
Bay of Pigs Scandal.
Assassination of President Diem of South Vietnam (we killed our own ally).
Cuban Missile Crisis.
He had enormous trouble passing legisalation.
He went to Dallas because he was losing popularity rapidly in LBJ's state.
He was on the way to being Jimmy Carter. Fortunately, for him, he was martyred.
Isn't it a little early to be rating Pres. Bush's second term?
>>>> So whats the problem then? Its Bush's PR
It's cultural hatred, Big time.
This is a stupid addition to the list of presidents who DID HAVE a positive 2nd term.
Kennedy never finished even 1 term.
Anything said about his 2nd term that he never had is pure partisan imagining.
He was on the way to being Jimmy Carter. Fortunately, for him, he was martyred.
You posted it before I got to it. Exactly right. He was a Democrat who was losing the South before it went Republican. As a side note, had the media been honest about his whoring, he would have had to resign mid-term. The media, then as now, protected a favored Democrat president.
"Kennedy wasn't even allowed to serve out his first, yet his appeal was so strong it's generally agreed that a majority of the voters would have reelected him."
Which is why election fraud was necessary to get him a first term?
I found an old issue of The Economist written just before the Kennedy assassination, and they painted a pessimistic picture of his re-election prospects as of that date.
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