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Inspired?

Howard Fineman would have us believe that Obama is looking to Ronald Reagan for inspiration. They were both “celebrities” (except one was a governor and wrote and spoke about foreign policy for decades) and loved the written word (except one wrote about the world and the other about himself). Fineman does (sort of ) point out a key difference that was instrumental to Reagan’s success: “It requires an obstinate clarity of message that the current president has not always achieved, and an outsider’s agitating stance that does not fit Obama’s equable insider mentality.” Translation: Reagan had a firm vision of where he wanted to take the country, and it defied conventional, Beltway wisdom. And then there is the foreign-policy part: “Reagan was a hawk”; Obama is anything but. And by the way, Reagan was an amiable figure who seemed to look up to his fellow citizens and regard the White House as more than a new campaign headquarters. Obama? Not so much.

OK, Obama really has nothing much at all in common with Reagan, doesn’t believe in the same things, doesn’t behave like him, has a completely different personality and a personal history not at all like Reagan’s. So why would Obama look to Reagan for inspiration? I frankly doubt he would. Obama = Reagan was campaign spin meant to sooth nervous Republicans; it seems to have been put through the spin cycle again at the new Newsweek, where nothing much is new.

What Obama no doubt would like to be is respected (and feared by our adversaries) on the world stage, the maker of bipartisan domestic deals and a comfortable presence who wears well over time.  That would be nice and Reaganesque. It would, however, require that Obama drastically remake himself and his agenda. But a “sort of God” would never do that.



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