President Obama takes his second oath of office this weekend at his highest point in the polls in two years. He is clearly feeling and showing his political dominance, while his opposition is divided and unpopular. The question—to turn Rahm Emanuel on his head—is whether he will let this lack of a crisis go to waste.
Four years ago, Mr. Obama inherited a sinking economy and he used that crisis and his Democratic supermajority to ram through the most liberal program in 40 years. The price was a polarized electorate, the loss of the House in 2010, and the slowest economic recovery in decades. Yet he was able to win re-election against a weak GOP candidate (who emerged from an even weaker GOP field) by again blaming the economy on his predecessor.
Today he faces no immediate crisis, which gives him a different opportunity. He has a chance to use divided government to put the economy on firmer footing while achieving rare bipartisan victories on longer-term problems such as debt, entitlements, immigration and education choice.