By Ray Fleming

President Obama and his family begin their summer vacation at Martha's Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast today. Enjoy! A year ago Obama was at a critical stage of his campaign for re-election and there was little chance of relaxation. Even when he won in November there was no break for reflection.

So will the coming days provide the opportunity for the President to review and perhaps re-set his policies for the last chance of his remaining years in office?

Five of America's leading opinion polls have just published evidence that public expectations of a confident and productive Obama second term are not being met.

The average “approve” rating is 44 per cent and the “disapprove” 49 percent -- for a president who less than a year ago won an impressive national victory. There have been major disappointments -- his promise to “do something” about gun control has not been delivered and there have been similar disappointments on immigration, health care and the budget. In foreign policy it is more difficult to make judgements because Obama prefers to wait and work behind the scenes rather than indulge in kneejerk reaction that involves America in unwise wars.

A constructive policy towards the new government in Iran could change the Middle East atmosphere considerably and the opportunity is there. A satisfactory solution to the Israel-Palestine problem would be the biggest prize of all. Good luck!