Monday, September 24, 2012
The Left's Reagan
Sullivan writes that Obama is the Left's Reagan, Booman agrees.
I'll add that Obama, I think, fashioned himself as the Left's Reagan. In 2007-8 he got some flack during the primaries for lauding Reagan's communication and political skills. "How dare you say nice things about Reagan!"
His point was that Reagan was a transformational President in a way that Clinton wasn't. Clinton did some good, but - constrained by Congress in much the same way that Obama is now - Clinton's accomplishments are kind of feeble next to Obama's.
Some of this is simply the product of "the emerging Democratic majority" that Ruy Teixiera and John Judis wrote about eight years ago. Demographically and I believe ideologically, the Republicans are just in an impossible place. I was reading that Romney's advantage among working class whites exists primarily because he runs up massive majorities among white southerners.
One quibble, though, I doubt the Democrats will build a cult of personality around Obama the way the Right has around Reagan. We just don't roll that way. We don't venerate personality and individual leaders. We don't subscribe to the Great Man theory of history. As Obama said in his acceptance speech, "You are the change."
Myth building is strong, but ultimately unsatisfying as a governing philosophy.