Does an Opposition Congress Doom a Presidency?

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President Obama blames Congressional Republicans for collapse of his “hope and change” agenda, but those claims make no sense in historical context. Since World War II, all the most successful two-term presidents worked with Congresses where the opposition enjoyed far more strength than today’s GOP wields against Obama. Opposition Democrats dominated both Houses of Congress for six of the eight years of Eisenhower’s presidency, as did opposition Republicans for six of eight years under Bill Clinton.

Hostile Democrats held the House for all Reagan’s terms of office, and the Senate for two of those years. By contrast, Obama’s own party has controlled the Senate for his entire presidency, and the House for a third of it. The president’s wrenching failures reflect his own weakness, not the strength of the opposition.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Jim  •  Jun 3, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    “President Obama blames Congressional Republicans for collapse of his ‘hope and change’ agenda,” If this is true, then all Americans should thank the Congressional Republicans.

    If there is anything that is NOT news, it is Obama blaming someone else for his own failures.

  2. Ashley  •  Jun 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Here’s my problem with Obama: he very snidely degraded past presidencies and members of Congress and made many many promises. I do believe that he is in over his head – it seems like “trading favors” in Washington is just business as usual and with so much staunch Republican opposition in Congress right now, I can see how that could make it difficult for Obama to carry out on what he had hoped to achieve. Congress is there for a reason and there is a lot of power in Congress. The PROBLEM is, that he was so snide to begin with. Otherwise I could feel more empathy/sympathy (?) for him. I see him as a typical, status quo President. Taking vacations, compromising on bills, and so on and so forth. I don’t have a problem with that, except for that he PROMISED to be different. Not just a little different, but RADICALLY different. Sigh. So much for HOPE and CHANGE.

    • Ashley  •  Jun 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      ^^ Would like to clear up that I would HOPE for a President that is not a status quo President. But if thats as bad as it gets, I can live with it. I would love to see someone more effective in the Presidency, but I am not sure how that will happen. I am going to try to focus more on senate/house relations and learn about how that power carries over into my life. Politics is definitely tricky for the average person like myself and I feel that putting too much weight into the Presidential election is a mistake that we all fall prey to. Hoping to learn more with MichaelMedved as one of my sources of info. Thanks for all you do, Michael.

  3. JGUY  •  Jun 21, 2013 at 6:19 am

    It seems to me that discussions about any of the political, social or economic systems of
    today in comparison or contrast to the past must consider the dramatic impact of the
    Internet and technology advance. The world of Obama is extremely different from the
    world of Reagan or even Clinton due to the emergence of the Internet, the rise of Islamic
    forces and the emergence of China and India as global economic powers. An opposition
    congress is only a small part of what has effected the Obama Presidency and his view
    of “hope and change.” America is always changing but I believe the changes that are
    coming will be more drastic than any of us have imagined. I hope not.

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