Its fitting that President Obama was on an overseas trip on the 3rd Anniversary of his signature achievement, ObamaCare. Presidents often recede into foreign policy in their second terms. At some point in a second term, the political fortunes of allies start to diverge from those of the lame-duck President. As their domestic policy opportunities fade, Presidents throw themselves into foreign policy, where the stature of the Office continues to hold influence around the world. President Obama looks to be forced into this position sooner than any other modern President.
President Obama has already experienced a faster drop in the polls than any modern second-term President. In the immediate wake of his reelection, Gallup found Obama with a nearly 60% approval rating. Last week, his approval rating was just 46%. At this point after his reelection, even George W Bush had a 52% approval rating, and his reelection was much more closely contested.
Poll numbers, however, can change quickly, based on outside events. His current approval rating is within the range of where it was through most of his first term. Voters seem to embrace Obama more warmly when he's campaigning, rather than when he's governing. It isn't just his poll numbers, then, that jeopardize his domestic agenda. It is the simple fact that, increasingly, his allies on Capitol Hill are willfully ignoring him.
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