Some political observers suggest that Barack Obama's presidency has hit the doldrums.
Politico recently declared that the Obama presidency was in a "dead zone." While it's common for a president to lose a little of his base, Politico reports: "But in a damning appraisal, a wide variety of congressional Democrats and presidential scholars said in interviews that there is another decisive factor behind Obama's current paralysis: his own failure to use the traditional tools of the presidency to exert his will."
If the president is suffering a loss of effectiveness, some amount of it may be inevitable, given the recent scandals erupting around him and the implacable Republican opposition to his proposals in Washington. But the Wall Street Journal counters that it's not just recent IRS and spying scandals that put his presidency in decline: "To be clear, the two problems — the decline and the scandals — are different matters. The scandals have not been linked directly to the president. They are vexing to the administration, but they are not the source of its current impotence. Instead, Mr. Obama's power and influence have been sapped as a direct result of his own choices and decisions."
It won't be long before the president's lame-duck status sets in, further diminishing his political strength. The Daily Circuit will examine the president's options for making the most of his second term and ask whether what he's going through is much different from the problems that have faced other second-term presidents.
The Decline of the Obama Presidency
Now, six months later, the Obama administration is in an unexpected and sharp state of decline. Mr. Obama has little influence on Congress. His presidency has no theme. He pivots nervously from issue to issue. What there is of an Obama agenda consists, at the moment, of leftovers from his first term or proposals that he failed to emphasize in his re-election campaign and thus have practically no chance of passage. (Fred Barnes, The Wall Street Journal)
Obama presidency, born in hope, is boxed in by unrelenting GOP
"In all else, Obama has been stymied. Despite his solid victories in two elections, Republicans have never ceased treating him as if he were an illegitimate usurper. On issue after issue, a majority of Americans supports his policies, but GOP leaders, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John A. Boehner, have refused to acknowledge that Obama has most people on his side. And, of course, the shrieking partisans of the right - from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin - have tirelessly promulgated the delusion that Obama's ideology is an odious pastiche of Cuban socialism, African radicalism and Muslim-coddling anti-Americanism." (David Horsey, Los Angeles Times)
The stunning decline of Barack Obama
"This is undoubtedly a period of steep decline for the Obama presidency, whose imperial-style big government approach is being increasingly questioned not only by American voters, but also by formerly subservient sections of the liberal-dominated mainstream media. In contrast to his first term, Barack Obama is finding himself less and less shielded by the press, and far more vulnerable to public criticism." (Nile Gardiner, The Telegraph)