I F the founding fathers of the United States were able to return to see how sound their constitutional foundations have proved to be there is probably one thing in particular they would like to change -- the impossibly short period that a president has to carry out the policies that the electorate has endorsed. The four year term is in reality barely three years and even that is interrupted by the mid-term Congressional elections which can reverse the balance of power established at the previous Presidential election. For these and other reasons a second term of presidential office is invaluable since the incumbent enjoys continuity from his first term and can also act more decisively in the knowledge that he has no further personal election to fight.
In his State of the Union speech this week President Obama showed that he means to use all the advantages of a second term to carry through policies and reforms that he could not process in his first term and also to deal quickly with issues such as gun control that have suddenly pushed themselves to the top of his agenda. Immigration reform, clean energy, a fairer minimum wage and investment in education and infrastructure are familiar Democratic domestic objectives that now take their place alongside the overriding drive for deficit reduction and general economic recovery leading to more jobs.