Obama's nightmare second term

So what are chances for leadership in Washington come 2013? For an embrace of the Simpson-Bowles commission plan for debt reduction and a streamlining of the U.S. tax codes? For responsible immigration reform and smart investments in making Americans more innovative and more competitive?

One of Obama’s best hopes for implementing such changes should he win reelection, paradoxically, is that voters, even as they continue to embark on yet another anti-Washington “wave election,” may decide that they will reluctantly retain Obama because next summer’s political forecasts predict a Congress wholly controlled by Republicans to go along with the already red-leaning Supreme Court. Americans like mixed government, and enough people could split their tickets to make this happen.

Conventional wisdom suggests we’ll have a lot more gridlock in this scenario—that senators will continue to hold up presidential appointments, House leaders to hold the president over a barrel of artificial deadline crises and short-term budget deals, and the president to try and bypass Congress by governing when possible through executive orders.