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Posted at 10:49 p.m. on May 11, 2013
Maybe it’s because two-term presidents suffer from hubris, or merely that after an administration has been in office for years, it inevitably makes mistakes (and too often tries to cover them up). But recent news reports ought to make Democrats at least a little nervous about the next few months and even 2014.
First, the administration started digging a hole for itself on Benghazi, with a high-level Foreign Service officer raising questions about the Obama administration’s handling of the September incident and subsequent behavior.
And then, the IRS “apologized” for targeting tea party groups for extra scrutiny, indicating a pattern of behavior that, whether true or not, suggests politically-motivated behavior.
Now, the Washington Post is up with an article asking whether the president will suffer a “second-term curse.”
Democrats surely will respond that the Obama administration had nothing to do with the IRS’s behavior and that it is Republicans who are trying to politicize both controversies to score points against President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Regardless of whom you believe, the controversies take attention away from the GOP’s problems and could put the president, and his party, on the defensive for the next few weeks or months. (Recent coverage about the implementation of the administration’s health care plan also suggests a rocky road over the next year.)
The last five presidents elected to a second consecutive term – Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – all suffered through problems, ranging from economic and foreign policy to personal.
Obama may or may not join that group (not all of whom suffered a stinging defeat in his second-term election), but Democratic strategists have to hope that media’s focus returns to Republicans and their opposition to the president’s agenda.