THE BLOG
08/29/2012 10:43 am ET Updated Oct 29, 2012

52 Reasons to Vote for Obama: #49, Second Terms Are Never Kind to Presidents (For My Republicans Friends)

Whether you're PRObama, NObama, or still undecided, 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama gives you all the information you need to share with friends, debate with relatives and decide for yourself as we head toward one of the most important elections of our lifetime. I'll post a new reason in random order every Monday through Friday from now 'til the election.

In honor of Mitt Romney's nomination, this reason is for all my Republican friends out there...

So you're reading this thinking to yourself, "There's no way I'm going to vote for Obama." Maybe you're a hard-core conservative, or perhaps you really disagree with his policies, or maybe you just don't like the guy. Well, my friends on the right, here's a reason to reconsider. History shows that the second time around for most presidents is usually fraught with peril, and sometimes they are just downright disasters.

2012-08-28-2terms.jpgA total of fifteen presidents out of forty-four have been reelected so far, and not one had a second term that was better than his first, according to presidential historian Robert Dallek. In fact, for half, the second term was "catastrophic," according to USA Today's Susan Page.

Let's take a quick look:
  • George Washington faced the Whiskey Rebellion.
  • Thomas Jefferson enacted a disastrous embargo that nearly tanked the economy.
  • James Madison fled Washington as the Brits burned down the White House.
  • Andrew Jackson forced the widespread removal of Native Americans.
  • Ulysses S. Grant suffered scandal after scandal.
  • Grover Cleveland dealt with a severe economic depression.
  • Woodrow Wilson saw his League of Nations rebuffed.
  • Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court.
  • Dwight Eisenhower weathered Sputnik and the U-2 incident.
  • Richard Nixon resigned.
  • Ronald Reagan sold arms for hostages.
  • Bill Clinton was impeached.
  • George W. Bush caused an economic meltdown.

Truman and Johnson, who came into office following the deaths of FDR and Kennedy, had such bad second terms that neither man chose to stand for reelection. USA Today's Susan Page notes that political scientist Colleen Shogan of Virginia's George Mason University studied legislative successes in the first and second terms of Reagan and Clinton. Shogan concluded, "Power dissipates over time, and opportunities for legislative reform diminish." In Shogan's study of major campaign promises, Page reports, Reagan's success rate of 100 percent during his first term fell to 25 percent in his second, while Clinton's 87 percent achievement rating in his first term dropped to 38 percent in round two.

You don't want Obama to succeed? Then just vote to reelect him!

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