Is Obama the liberal reincarnation of Ronald Reagan? A new chart
published by Pollster.com is inspiring some insightful comparisons of
the two presidents. It shows that during Reagan and Obama's first
terms, they experienced remarkably similar approval ratings. The hope
among liberals is that Obama will recover from his low approval ratings
and pull a landslide second term victory as Reagan did. Here are the
parallels pundits have drawn:
- Strikingly Similar Presidencies, writes Charles Franklin at Pollster: "Both enjoyed significant
gains for their party in both houses of Congress. Both faced 'worst
since the depression' economic circumstances. And each in his own very
different ways attempted to reshape government in the early months in
- Lousy Predecessors, adds Alex Massie at The Spectator: "The Carter and Bush
presidencies were, in the end, so disastrous (or considered disastrous)
that they permitted the election of candidates who might, in more
placid, less desperate times have been too extreme, too strange and too
risky for the electorate to take a chance upon. Even then, Reagan was
rather more conservative than many voters appreciated; similarly Obama
is a more orthodox liberal than many supposed."
- Equally Polarizing, writes Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic: "They were both lionized and
loathed, and both had problems with their base early on."
- Comfort on the Stage, writes Howard Fineman
in Newsweek. His sources tell him the president and his advisers are looking to Reagan's presidency for inspiration: "He thinks
he is Reagan in reverse--a patient, genial game changer for the ages." The similarities abound: "Like
Reagan, Obama shares a celebrity's sense of comfort on the (public)
stage, a belief in sticking to the script, and a faith in the power of
the written word spoken from an imposing rostrum. He also shares
Reagan's reverence for the power of a narrative in politics--Reagan,
because he was an actor; Obama, because he is a writer."
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