The Democrats’ Reagan


My new cover story on Obama's potential to be a truly transformational president, should he win a second term, is now online. As I say in the piece, this is not a prediction. It's a thought-experiment about what would happen if his current lead were to remain, or even grow. I try to go back and remember the actual Reagan first term, when he sank to 35 percent approval, not the rose-colored rear view mirror in which he has become a minor god. He had a much easier time than Obama, since he was able to raid the US Treasury before it was truly vandalized by George W. Bush – and his recession was Fed-induced, not a function of a global financial collapse afer a massive GOP-fueled debt binge. But change is always hard, and it was only in the second term that the pay-off really sank in. An excerpt:

 I wore a Reagan ’80 button in high school for the same reason I wore an Obama T-shirt in ’08—not because their politics were the same, but because they were both right about the different challenges each faced, and both dreamed bigger than their rivals in times of real crisis…

The hope many Obama supporters felt four years ago was not a phony hope. We didn’t expect miracles, but a long, brutal grind against the forces and interests that brought the U.S. to its 2009 economic and moral nadir. I’ve watched this president face those forces and interests with cunning and pragmatism, but also platinum-strength persistence. Obama never promised a mistake-free presidency, or a left-liberal presidency, or an easy path ahead. He always insisted that he could not do for Americans what Americans needed to do for themselves. In his dark and sober Inaugural Address he warned that “the challenges we face are real, they are serious, and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.

I think Americans understand and understood that. And they are finally reacting to being treated like amnesiac children by Romney-Ryan.