Obama has a very narrow window of opportunity to succeed. Although presidential elections only occur every 4 years, congressional elections occur every 2 years, and he needs Congress to help him implement his agenda.
And on that timetable, he has even less than two years to succeed, for voter opinion will begin to gel well before election day.
Obama was only elected because a certain percentage of the electorate ignorantly blamed the Republicans for the economic downturn. If the Democrats were to lose control of one or both houses of Congress 2 years from now, Obama would be a lame duck president for the remainder of his term.
Now, he may get lucky. Life is unfair.
But there are many ways in which his tenure can go badly wrong. For example, if what is euphemistically called the “stimulus package,” which is doubletalk for massive pork barrel spending, fails to salvage the economy, that’s one thing that could sink his administration.
It may also be that Obama is setting some traps for himself. Not only has he vowed to close GITMO, but he’s offered a date certain (a year from now). That’s very foolhardy. It’s imprudent to set a date certain when, by your own admission, you don’t know where else to put the detainees.
Here’s a very plausible scenario: they are brought to the mainland to stand trial in Federal court. They will be acquitted on various technicalities since the gov’t can’t meet the usual burden of proof in a criminal trial.
For reasons of political correctness, they can’t be deported to their own countries for fear of being “tortured.”
Therefore, they will be released onto the streets of America.
Suppose one (or more) of them then commits a terrorist act on American soil, thanks to the bleeding-heart policies of the Obama administration. Imagine the coverage on talk radio, cable news, the blogosphere, &c.
Or suppose the mainland suffers another major terrorist attack. Obama has been very vocal about reversing the countermeasures introduced by the Bush administration. A certain percentage of the electorate would attribute the attack to his bleeding-heart policies.
He has also vowed to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Now, that’s not the sort of thing which will single-handedly sink his administration. But he will blow political capital on an issue where he has little to gain and much to lose.
A politician can doom himself in two different ways: by one very long misstep or by a series of short missteps.