Obama allies, foes speculate on a big — and hypothetical — second-term agenda

March 5, 2012

By  and Peter Wallsten,

If President Obama wins a second term, he will finally endorse same-sex marriage. Gay-rights groups are almost certain. He will also make a new, historic effort to fight climate change — environmentalists are pretty sure.

And Obama will finally do just what the Congressional Black Caucus wants. According to some members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Conservative groups are equally confident that Obama, freed from the fear of losing his reelection bid, would deliver on far-reaching left-wing dreams. GOP candidateMitt Romney forecasts a runaway spending spree. Newt Gingrich envisions a “war” on the Catholic Church. The National Rifle Association predicts a crackdown on gun owners.

The funny thing about all this is: Obama himself hasn’t said he’ll do any of it.

In his actual speeches — over the first few months of his reelection campaign — the president has only sketched out a vague agenda for his next term. He wants to fix the immigration system. Put his health-care law into practice. Rebuild infrastructure. Revive manufacturing.

“And,” he told an audience in San Francisco, in what might be called a flourish of the obvious, “we’re going to have to figure out how to pay for all this stuff.”

This disconnect highlights one of the most unusual factors in an unusual campaign: Even after three years in office, Obama remains a political Rorschach test. His friends still project their brightest hopes on him. His enemies still project their deepest nightmares.

Both are still convinced they haven’t seen the Real Obama yet — or the real Obama Agenda.

And so, paradoxically, they believe the most important ideas of Obama’s reelection campaign are the ones he’s not talking about.

“All that first-term lip service to gun owners is part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters,” Wayne LaPierre said during the Conservative Political Action Conference. “And hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment during his second term!” His evidence was Obama’s past views on gun control, and his appointment of two Supreme Court justices the NRA considers hostile.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obama-allies-foes-speculate-on-a-big–and-hypothetical–second-term-agenda/2012/03/01/gIQAkLMOrR_story.html

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