The "window of opportunity" for a 2nd Obama term

One worry which I frequently see expressed in conservative circles has less to do with what Barack Obama may have actually done so far, and more to do with what he might get up to if given a second term. The general line of thought goes, “If you think things are bad now, just wait till you see what happens for the next four years.” (You are all invited to transmit that information to Vladimir at your convenience.)

As worries go, it’s not a bad one to ponder. Historically, presidents have felt a bit more “off the leash” when they no longer have to worry about the consequences of their actions in terms of winning another race. We typically have to rely on their desire to “protect their legacy” and not do too much damage to their party’s next nominee to keep them in check. Cold comfort, that.

So what would the agenda be Barack Obama in 2013 if he gets another bite at the apple? Well… jobs, obviously. OK! OK! I kid… I kid. But some recent conversations with Democratic leaders could probably give us a clue.

Leading House Democrats say President Obama has a great opportunity to pass immigration reform next year if he keeps the White House, but warn his window to act will be short.

Although Obama vowed on the campaign trail four years ago to make comprehensive immigration reform a top priority of his presidency, he never focused intently enough on the issue to move major changes through Congress…

“There is no luxury to say there’s a bigger issue in front of us,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “It is, and will continue to be, one of the top three [issues] he’s going to have to deal with.”

On the surface this sounds kind of crazy, right? Or is it just me? I mean, Obama came into office in January of 2009 with the economy collapsing around him and promptly proceeded to spend a couple of years getting his health reform initiative through. Even he has admitted it sucked all the air out of the room. And now the “recovery” is showing every sign of stalling and the economy is resting on a knife edge from month to month. He couldn’t possibly consider turning around this winter and going all in on the DREAM act, could he?

Or could he?

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