Political pundits love presidential parallels. A single well-deployed
analogy can build authority and bespeak a reservoir of historical
knowledge. For today's pundits, that
technique is as popular as ever. After only one year
of Barack Obama's presidency, his situation has been compared to
Lincoln's, FDR's, Carter's, Regan's, Clinton's and Bush's. Now that his
agenda's been bruised, pundits are trotting out comparisons to Carter
and Clinton--so if there's ever time to call out a cliché, it's now.
- Obama=Lincoln Evan Thomas and Richard Wolffe at Newsweek write, "It is the season to compare Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln. Two thin
men from rude beginnings, relatively new to Washington but wise to the
world, bring the nation together to face a crisis. Both are superb
rhetoricians, both geniuses at stagecraft and timing."
- Obama=FDR David Kennedy at Time writes, "Obama, too, came to office in the midst of an economic crisis, and in
the solutions he has offered, it appears he has often looked to the
example of F.D.R., whose presidency — and the very idea of activist
government that it represents — is very much back in the public mind
- Obama=Carter Bahukutumbi Raman at Forbes writes, "Barack Obama might turn out to be another Jimmy Carter, whose confused
thinking and soft image paved the way for the success of the Islamic
Revolution in Iran."
- Obama=Reagan Politics Daily's Lou Cannon
writes, "Reagan, like Obama, had inherited an economic mess, with
record peacetime levels of inflation and high interest rates...Reagan
was more popular than his policies, a point that is true now about
- Obama=Clinton Politico's John F. Harris writes, "The staff of a winning presidential candidate is a cult. When the
candidate wins, the cult usually follows him to the West Wing. That
happened with Clinton, and it has happened even more with Obama."
- Obama=Bush In a piece title "George W. Obama" The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl writes, "Washington has spent the past couple of weeks debating whether Barack
Obama's ambitious agenda and political strategy are more comparable to
those of Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan. Oddly, hardly anyone is
talking about the ways in which Obama is beginning to resemble the man
who just vacated the White House."
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