Does President Obama want to be Abraham Lincoln or James Buchanan?
As we've heard over and over again: Be Careful What You Wish For - You Just Might Get It.
Well, President Obama got his second term, in large part due to 3-4 million "low information voters" who liked him on MTV, "The View" and bought into the narrative that their man was hip. (Read TIME's person of the year)
He's also got the US economy and a few realities:
1) We have too much debt. We can not go on borrowing 45 cents out of every dollar that we spend. There aren't enough people in the planet to lend us that kind of money. Let's remember that the US economy is 3-4 times larger than China. We are going to run out of borrowers.
2) Our problem is spending not taxes, no matter how many speeches we hear about the rich paying their fair share.
3) No one is ready for Obama-Care. It is a disaster that will wreck companies, state budgets and will become the most "hated" piece of legislation in history. We don't have rules for ObamaCare yet and it is supposed to be the law next year.
4) We need GDP growth. You can not keep the US electorate happy with 1 to 2% GDP growth. You can't pay for Obama-Care and the rest of the plan with our current growth. At the same time, companies are not going to hire or expand if they think that government is out to get them.
My point is that Obama has two options:
1) He can stay to the left and oversee another 3 years of an economic quagmire that will be unbearable politically and economically.
2) He can reverse course, get his supporters very angry but tackle the big issues, from entitlement reform to a tax code that no one understands.
He can be consequential and go down as the man who dismantled the US welfare state. Or he can be inconsequential and hand all of these problems to another guy in 2016.
He can be Abraham Lincoln or James Buchanan. It is up to President Obama.
He must reverse course or he will wake up many nights wishing that Romney had won the election.