4 More Years: Obama’s Unfinished Business
"We've come too far to turn back now," he said. "We've got too much work to do to implement health care. We've got too much work to do to create good jobs. We've got too many teachers that we've got to hire. We've got too many schools we've got to rebuild. We've got too many students who still need affordable higher education. There's more homegrown energy to generate. There're more troops that we've got to bring home...That's why I'm running for president of
Last night, he won that second term. Today, the work begins.
Not surprisingly, Obama's domestic agenda for the next four years doesn't look much different from his first-term agenda. The economy may now be slowly improving rather than worsening, and the unemployment rate has been dropping instead of rising, but economic issues will remain his most urgent concern.
He recently told the cable news network MSNBC that if reelected, his first priority will be to push for passage of a debt reduction plan to cut spending and raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He said he will have a "mandate" to take that balanced approach, and he sounded confident that Republicans in
Immigration Reform Expected
Obama has also outlined economy-boosting initiatives aimed at increasing manufacturing and energy production, investing in infrastructure, and encouraging businesses to hire more workers.
But there is also unfinished business from his first term that will need attention. His administration still has work to do to implement his banking reform plan, and much remains to be done on his 2010 landmark health-care reform legislation -- so-called "Obamacare" -- which is scheduled to take effect in 2014.
Many observers expect Obama to take up immigration reform. Days before the election, Obama told a reporter, "Should I win a second term, a big reason [will be] because the Republican nominee and the
"I do think the extreme weather we've been having in
The president's second-term foreign policy agenda also looks set to largely build on what he's already begun. There's the war in
Republicans warned before the election that a second-term Obama, freed from the pressure of being reelected because of term limits, would be "unleashed" and emboldened to pursue his own agenda.
Second-term presidents care about their legacy, he says, and want to leave office as popular figures. And beyond that, there are always political repercussions for the president's political party.
"If a president were to do something in foreign policy that was dramatically at odds with what the public wanted, they risk doing serious harm to [their] party, and I think they care about that," Preble says. "We actually saw that, to a certain extent, in the second Bush term, when
On the big issues, Preble says he expects Obama to continue the same policies he has for the last four years.
He points out that sanctions on
"All of those things will take some time, but they appear to be having some effect, at least on the state of the Iranian economy," he says. "So I think he is likely to continue along that path for a while longer."
Mideast Not A Priority
Preble doesn't agree with the speculation in some quarters that a second-term Obama will feel freer to take a tough line with
On the issue of
Obama's much-heralded "reset" with
And finally, on
Preble says in the wider
Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,
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