A new Huffington Post/YouGov poll shows voters modestly hopeful about Barack Obama's chances of being more successful in his second term. And, given the haplessness of his Republican foes, Obama is in an unusually strong position to deliver on the potential of his second term -- but only if he has the will and wherewithal to turn ballot-box victory into real-life results. That's the bottom line of an in-depth survey by The Huffington Post of the problems and prospects facing the president as he prepares for a second inauguration. Today we launch a series of stories giving you in-depth results of that survey: 20 reported pieces during the next week, 14 from the U.S. and six from overseas; pairs of expert blog posts published with each domestic story; HuffPost Live video interviews with reporters; and poll data from HuffPost/YouGov.
In his second term Obama needs to build new and real things that tangibly improve the lives of the middle class and, yes, the poor; and advance the ball on the things he says he also cares about: the environment, immigration, education, tech, etc, plus figuring out what his consistent view is of foreign and defense policy.
In taking on health care reform Obama made a very clear statement that community is an American value. It is how he chooses to defend and expand Obamacare that will dictate whether he is remembered for his commitment to community or to the special interests of Washington.
Obama's legacy might be proving just how necessary and effective partisanship is, especially in this polarized era. After all, many of his signature achievements derive not from successful bipartisanship but from having large and loyal Democratic majorities in both chambers in 2009-10.
As President Barack Obama sets off on his second-term journey, we wish him well. In the weeklong "Road Forward" series that ends today on Inauguration Day, we've laid out the many challenges he faces to fulfill the promise of his presidency. We reminded him -- and ourselves -- that too much poverty and economic inequality remains; that too little progress on education, the environment and immigration has been made; that too many middle-class Americans are falling farther behind; that new laws are needed to translate into better health care and sound business regulation; that common sense is missing from our national budget; and that too much confusion plagues our ever-evolving foreign and defense policies. But today we stand back, sit quietly (in the cold, if you are on the National Mall) and appreciate this president and the country he and his office represent.
In many ways, the new Congress should look like the old one. Prospects for a grand bargain over taxes and spending remain dim. I also expect that congressional power will remain concentrated in the hands of party leaders, and that rank-and-file legislators will continue to grumble about it.
Without reform, we're doomed repeat and amplify the exasperating gridlock of the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling talks. That's why Senate Resolutions 4 and 6 need the support of Democratic senators and the White House. The American people strongly support overhauling the filibuster.
The U.S. government has never defaulted on its legal obligations. We should make sure that this never happens. That means being careful about the national debt, but it also means not being stupid about a debt ceiling that can simply be raised or removed in order to avoid certain default.
We must address the future of Social Security as a separate debate, with the goal of strengthening it to help people achieve a secure retirement, not to reduce the budget deficit it did not cause.
Out in the real world of health insurance, beneath the politicized debate about Obamacare, the vision of health insurance that conservatives have always championed -- high deductible plans that give consumers lots of "skin in the game" -- is steadily prevailing in the marketplace.
Either we continue on the track we're on, resigning millions of Americans to major health problems that could have been avoided, or we increase our investment in giving them the opportunity to be healthier and preventing them from developing chronic conditions in the first place.
A number of polls published before the U.S. presidential election in November indicated that, on a global level, if the world could vote, they would have re-elected President Barack Obama by a wide margin. But recognizing that most of the world wanted Obama isn't the same as knowing what the world wants from Obama. To help us better understand what some of those things might be, we turned to HuffPost's international editions -- in the UK, Canada, France, Spain and Italy -- for a collection of articles as part of our series "THE ROAD FORWARD: Obama's Second Term Challenges." The hope is that these pieces, written by our reporters in these countries, will illuminate how the world outside America views the challenges and possibilities facing a leader whose personal appeal still looms larger than his presidential accomplishments.
As a candidate Obama promised to focus on jobs. In direct contrast to his opponent, he pledged to lift all boats -- especially those boats that had gotten stuck in the mud. Now that he is about to begin his second term, the black community is watching to see how he will follow through.
Obama owes quite a bit to the black community, but not because of the vote, his color or even the presumably more liberal politics of his Democratic Party but because the federal government, among others, has an obligation to address the continuing significance of race in America.
The national goal must be to make the U.S. the number-one country in producing college graduates. And we must also ensure that low-income students of color are graduating at the same rates as wealthier students. Achieving that would be a proud legacy for Obama's second term.
While the Race to the Top program has been widely praised (despite no formal evaluation data to consider yet), the Education Department's granting of No Child Left Behind waivers has raised concerns, especially as it pertains to holding schools and states accountable for student achievement.