Bowdoin Political Scientists on Obama’s First Term and What’s Next

We asked two scholars in Bowdoin’s Government Department to assess President Obama’s first term and to speculate about what might happen during his second. They delved into topics ranging from the implications of Obama’s Cabinet choices to analyzing Obama’s second-term priorities and what his chances are to achieve them. They also paid some attention to 2016.

Professor of Government Janet Martin specializes in American political institutions, especially the Presidency and Congress. In 2004, she was awarded the Richard E. Neustadt Prize for the best book on the presidency, for her book, The Presidency and Women: Promise, Performance, and Illusion.

Andrew Rudalevige, Bowdoin’s Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government, studies American political institutions, with an emphasis on the modern presidency and interbranch relations. His first book, Managing the President’s Program: Presidential Leadership and Legislative Policy Formulation, was awarded the Neustadt Prize in 2002 as the year’s best book on the presidency.

Martin and Rudalevige addressed six prompts. To read their replies to the specific questions, click on the following links:

In 2010, President Obama told Diane Sawyer on ABC he’d “rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.” Was he really good in his first term? What do you think the chances are that we’ll look back and say he was a mediocre two-term president?

What are the two or three biggest items on Obama’s agenda? Do you think he’ll be able to pull them off?

Do you think Obama will seriously address climate change?

What are the implications of Obama’s Cabinet reshuffle? Do his nominations tell us anything about his agenda or his priorities?

Do you think President Obama is likely to find this new Congress any more cooperative than the previous one?

Where do you think the US will be in 2016? Ready to elect another Democrat, or ready to shift to the right and elect a Republican? Who might be running for president in four years?

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