Barack Obama’s respect for Reagan’s political prowess – denounced with flat-out lies by Bill Clinton earlier this week -- echoed the views about the “Great Communicator” delivered in 1991 by another unknown up-and-comer. Seventeen years ago, this underdog Democratic agent of change praised Reagan for winning the Cold War, called on politicians to reject “the stale orthodoxies of left and right” and after listing his priorities asked rhetorically: "Is what I just said to you liberal or conservative? The truth is, it is both, and it is different. It rejects the Republicans' attacks and the Democrats' previous unwillingness to consider new alternatives."
Had you not guessed yet, the speaker was Bill Clinton, who falsely claimed this week that Obama said “Republicans have had all the good ideas.” Clinton’s wife, who put out radio ads this week tying (and lying) Obama to Reagan’s offensive domestic policies, is quoted in a forthcoming book as admiring Reagan: “When he had those big tax cuts and they went too far, he oversaw the largest tax increase. He could call the Soviet Union the Evil Empire and then negotiate arms-control agreements. He played the balance and the music beautifully.”
One troubling aspect of the presidency is its recent leftward swing, and I don’t mean the ideology.
Three of the last four presidents have been left-handed (Ford, Reagan, Clinton). Seven out of a total of 42 presidents have signed, vetoed or pitched bills with their left hands, which is about twice the percentage of lefties in the general population.
For what it is worth, Barack Obama is a lefty and Hillary Clinton, who is everything he is not, writes right.
Yale to the Chief
Much has been made of the depressing prospect of the electorate having had a Bush or a Clinton on the national ticket since 1980 and the possibility of a Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton merry-go-round of leadership changes no more sophisticated than in, say, Bolivia or Pakistan.
What is equally depressing is the possibility of Hillary Clinton winning the presidency and establishing a third consecutive Yalie in the Oval Office, almost as depressing as having Mitt Romney, a second consecutive Harvard M.B.A. finding out that a country doesn’t quite run like a business.