President Barack Obama’s ambitious agenda for a second term will leave little room for dillydallying — probably just 18 months or so before potential successors in both parties put their ambitions above most other considerations.
As Obama aims for the history books, his dealings with Congress will need as much backing from his organized supporters as he can muster — and a heavy dose of intercession from his vice president. Joe Biden managed to accomplish what the president couldn’t at year’s end: cutting the deal to avoid sequestration, the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
Biden’s 36 years of heavy experience in the Senate clearly trumped the two years Obama spent there before winning the White House. Since then, the shortness of his congressional tenure has manifested itself in a lack of success with Republicans and even some liberals in his own party. Now, Biden — who directed the task force that drafted a set of recommendations aimed at reducing gun violence — must take on the extraordinarily difficult chore of leading the legislative effort.