The Obama White House is on the defensive and floundering: Benghazi, the IRS’ investigations of right-wing groups, the Justice Department’s snooping into journalists’ phone records, Obamacare behind schedule, the administration’s push for gun control ending in failure. Whom should the blame fall on?
President Obama seems to grasp that he has a lot more power to move public opinion than he used in his first term. He also understands that most of the GOP’s positions on the issues are unpopular with the public, divisive within the Republican Party and just plain bad policy. So will he maximize his advantage?
The president can begin his second term liberated by the confidence that he is already a landmark figure in American history. Obama’s task is not to manufacture a legacy but to leave his successors a nation that is more tranquil because it finally resolved arguments that roiled it for decades.
In his first essay for New York Magazine since quitting The New York Times last spring, Frank Rich thoughtfully details Barack Obama’s failure to push back against the financial wheeler-dealers who drove the country to the brink of ruin ... (more)