Obama and Reelection: Continuity Is Never as Exciting as Change

by John J. Pitney, Jr.

For many of President Obama’s supporters, the 2008 campaign was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The problem with once-in-a-lifetime experiences is that they happen only once.

Presidents come in offering hope and change. Even George H. W. Bush, who ran as Reagan’s understudy, spoke of a “kinder and gentler nation.” Continuity is never as exciting as the initial promise. That’s especially true with President Obama, who raised expectations so high that the reality of governance had to bring some disappointment. And the older and wiser Democrats understand that second terms tend to be more troubled and less successful than first terms.

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