Can Israel Defy a Second Term President?
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
“Israel Hayom”, February 28, 2014, http://bit.ly/OJtyku
The assumption that second term US presidents are omnipotent, and therefore can bulldozer their way through anything – including the exertion of insurmountable pressure on Israel – ignores the most fundamental elements of the US political system: limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances and the centrality of the constituent, deliberately designed to avoid an all-powerful Executive.
Second term Presidents may wish – but are unable – to extricate themselves from the strict constitutional constraints, demonstrated by the power of the US constituency and the co-equal, co-determining Congress, which have been systematically pro-Israel.
The mystique of the Second Term Imperial Presidency tends to smother Israeli policy-makers and public opinion molders, who misunderstand the US political system, which is dramatically different from the Israeli and European systems.
Contrary to conventional misperception, second term presidents reach their peak on inauguration day, as has been documented since George Washington’s second term, when the US was on the verge of a civil war. From then forward, most second-term presidents have been burdened by the second term lame-duck slump.