Thursday, September 24, 2009

Obama's surprising idol

By Douglas Kohn

Trying to sort through all the screaming about Obama’s healthcare plans and charges of racism from the left, it seems his overall mannerisms and style are very close to a certain President that few people know Obama has a soft spot and great respect for.

Obama’s presentation and style are more like Ronald Reagan than any Conservative would like to admit. In watching old Presidential speeches from FDR to Bush, there is no other closer parallel that I can find. I am not alone in this analysis.

Obama has a deep respect for Ronald Reagan, thus far his political opposite (if you need proof and find this preposterous, take a look at this). There have been several occasions where Obama has recognized Reagan as a transformative president. Obama has now arranged a celebration of Reagan’s 100th birthday, something he was under no formal obligation to do (incidentally, Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday passed with the President giving no more than a speech in Illinois).

The aforementioned brings the issue of Presidential styles. The Gipper’s two favorite Presidents past were none other than FDR and Lincoln. This may come as a surprise to us right-wingers, but even after he switched from being a Democrat to Republican, Reagan maintained a great respect for FDR, despite presenting himself as undoing, or at least adjusting, much of Roosevelt’s legacy.

People have compared Obama many times to JFK but I find this a difficult comparison to sustain. Kennedy’s style was of a class by itself. No American president in the 20th Century has matched his eloquence and charisma. Reagan may have been the Great Communicator, but did not possess Kennedy’s ability with the English language.

Obama wants to see himself as a transformative president akin to the three he routinely cites in his speeches. Roosevelt, Kennedy and most of all Reagan. This is not to say he is going to follow Reagan or Kennedy’s policies. By today’s standards, Kennedy would probably be considered a far Right Republican.

So who does Obama compare to, when bringing together his style and his policies? Obama has spent untold sums of money on ‘stimulating’ the economy, escalated a war with grossly unrealistic aims in Afghanistan, and been an excellent communicator of albeit lacking policies.

Thus far, in my opinion, Obama is Roosevelt on economy, Reagan in style, and Kennedy/Johnson on foreign policy.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Excellent comparison. I could not agree more.

President Obama's frequent references and quotations of President Reagan certainly indicate he views him in high regard. In fact, I would argue that Obama views himself as the leftist Reagan.

Similarly to how Reagan transformed Americans to once again believe in small government and free-market capitalism, Obama would like to transform Americans to believe in big government and socialistic markets.