Monday, August 23, 2010

The American Prospect-President Obama is More Reagan Than Carter

President Barack Obama: Pete Souza/White House Photo
(Story reported by Mark Scmitt for The American Prospect)

"The Unnecessary Fall," John Judis' premature diagnosis of the demise of the Obama administration published in The New Republic, has generated a lot of approving buzz, even though it is mostly familiar. The thesis that Obama should have asked for a bigger stimulus, should have been more confrontational with Wall Street, shouldn't have appointed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and should be more "populist" (always using a vague definition of the term that explicitly excludes any actual populism except Franklin Roosevelt's patrician version) has become entirely conventional wisdom on the left -- you've read it here, at The Huffington Post, The Nation, and elsewhere -- in fact, much the same article was written dozens of times during the 2008 primaries, as the case for a different candidate. 

Judis adds a few new features to the argument. He dares to cross a new line by comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter. (And to Herbert Hoover, too, just to lay it on thick.) And he compares Obama unfavorably to Ronald Reagan. This is significant because, as many (political scientists in particular) have pointed out, Obama's sagging popularity generally tracks Reagan's decline during the steep recession of 1982, and is exactly what one should expect of even a strong presidency in poor economic times.  

(Click here to read the full story on the American Prospect website)

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